Topeka: Don Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO SETTLE SCORE WITH HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, Kan., May 27 - After 44 victories and five world championships over a 13-year professional career, one would think that U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, has ...

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO SETTLE SCORE WITH HEARTLAND PARK

TOPEKA, Kan., May 27 - After 44 victories and five world championships over a 13-year professional career, one would think that U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, has conquered every race track he's come across.

"That would definitely be a wrong assumption," said the Chicago-area resident.

"Excluding the new Charlotte venue, I haven't won at four tracks that are currently on the schedule. And, one of those tracks is coming up this weekend."

This weekend's tour stop is Heartland Park, where the 19th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals will be contested. Schumacher has yet to qualify number one or advance to a final round in the Sunflower State.

"For some reason, it's been a really tough track for us over the years," he said. "It appeared like we made some progress last year by qualifying second and getting to the semifinals. Perhaps, we'll break down the door this year and win the race."

Hot temperatures and a slick track usually greet the NHRA contingent during the late May/early June time period. As a result, crew chiefs have to walk a fine line when it comes to setting up a 7,000-horsepower race car.

"They clearly earn their money when it comes to dealing with those conditions," added the defending POWERade world champion. "Of course, I have the best in the business in Alan Johnson. I know he'll find a way to get the job done." The Schumacher-Johnson combination has gotten the job done the last three events in particular. After getting to the final round at both Atlanta Dragway and Gateway International Raceway, they took home the trophy at Bristol Dragway two weeks ago with a win over Larry Dixon.

"After coming up short in Atlanta and St. Louis, that was a nice win for us," said Schumacher. "We've been running pretty well of late. Hopefully, we can keep it going out in Topeka."

Schumacher heads into the ninth round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series holding first-place in the standings, 131 points up on second-place Antron Brown.

"We have a decent cushion right now," he said. "With that said, we still can't afford to just sit around waiting for things to happen. We have to make things happen on our own. This Sunday, I want to get my first career win at Heartland Park."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Don Schumacher