SCHUMACHER TAKES PROVISIONAL NUMBER ONE SPOT
GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 11, 2011 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher grabbed the provisional number one starting position here Friday during the first day of qualifying for the tradition-rich Tire Kingdom Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
In the second session, Schumacher turned in a 3.814-second pass at a track record 325.45 mph and in the process put himself in line for his first pole of the season and the 62nd of his career.
"It was a great job by one and all on the U.S. Army team," said Schumacher. "It's a real privilege to drive this car. I know at every race I have a solid chance to win and that's all I can ask for."
Schumacher's second round blast followed a tire-smoking first round, which placed him outside the field in 17th.
"I'd say that was a nice come back," he said. "We looked at the data and knew what to adjust. It was very obvious we were way too aggressive in that opening round. "
Schumacher's Don Schumacher Racing/U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, moved into second after a 3.822-second jaunt at 318.39 mph. Rounding out the top five heading into Saturday's final two qualifying sessions were Spencer Massey, also out of the DSR camp, Larry Dixon and Steve Torrence.
"Like in Pomona (Calif.) a couple of weeks ago, the Top Fuel field is stacked with a lot of talented drivers and teams," offered Schumacher, a seven-time world champion. "If we're able to win on Sunday, we will have earned the trophy in a big way."
Schumacher is attempting to capture his fifth career Gatornationals victory. Currently, he's tied with Dixon, Joe Amato and Don Garlits for the most Top Fuel "Gator" wins.
"I said it before and I will say it again - that's an unbelievable list," he said. "I would love to break the deadlock this year. I feel really good about our chances."