Schumacher Looks To Present U.S. Army Perfect Birthday Gift
U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher figures this weekend will be the absolute perfect time to collect his first victory of the season.
With his long-time sponsor - the U.S. Army - celebrating its 236th birthday this week, a nicely wrapped gift in the form of a win and trophy would clearly be appropriate.
"There's no question about that," said the seven-time world champion. "If there ever was a time to break the ice, it would definitely be down at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway (in the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals). We always want to win for our Army Strong Soldiers, but winning during the Army's birthday week would be something very special for all of us."
Given what the Soldiers do every day to keep the country safe, Schumacher wants to give back in any way he can.
"Those brave men and women have much to be proud of," he said. "I have been blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with many of them. I have seen their mental, emotional and physical strength. They have taught me and my team the meaning of personal courage and selfless service.
"I'm honored to represent the Soldiers, civilians and families of the United States Army. I'm proud to be part of this amazing family and I'm grateful to our Soldiers and veterans for all they do and have done to allow us to live in freedom and do the things we do."
Following a quarterfinal round loss in Englishtown, N.J. two weeks ago, Schumacher heads for Bristol holding fourth-place in the standings. He is the defending Thunder Valley Nationals event champion.
"We've won four times down there over the years (which leads the Top Fuel class)," offered the Chicago-area resident. "You would like to believe that success breeds success and it will result in us getting to victory lane come Sunday afternoon."
Schumacher's race weekends to date have seemingly been divided into two parts - being consistent in qualifying, but not as consistent on race day.
"It appears that has been the case," he said. "We've come close a couple of times (he advanced to the finals in Gainesville and Atlanta earlier this year), but we just haven't been able to seal the deal. Believe me, it is going to happen."
With eight races remaining before the Countdown to 1, Schumacher and his team will be seeking weekly improvement starting in Bristol.
"That has to be the strategy," he said. "We need to be prepared for takeoff by the time we return to Charlotte in the fall for the first of six playoff races."
Schumacher knows the upcoming stretch of six races in eight weeks (Bristol; Norwalk, Ohio; Joliet, Ill.; Denver; Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle) will be a challenge for his team.
"It will be tough for everyone," he said. "I know my guys will perform just fine. They are as good as they come and always rise to the occasion."