Topeka: Tony Schumacher Friday notes

"THE SARGE"NINTH AFTER DAY ONE TOPEKA, Kan., May 30 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, had to settle for the ninth starting spot after the first day of qualifying here Friday for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland...

"THE SARGE"NINTH AFTER DAY ONE

TOPEKA, Kan., May 30 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, had to settle for the ninth starting spot after the first day of qualifying here Friday for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park.

After taking the number one position with a 4.624-second pass at 317.64 mph in the afternoon qualifying session, Schumacher smoked the tires in round two and in the process slid to the bottom half of the field.

"We haven't been down in that half of the field in quite some time," said the Top Fuel point leader. "Obviously, we don't want to start there on Sunday. We'll be taking some hard swings at it come tomorrow for the final two runs."

Schumacher, who is coming off his third win of the year at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway two weeks ago, has posted only one non-top five starting spot thus far in 2008 - at Houston Raceway Park in March.

"We've been pretty consistent with our qualifying efforts so far this season," added the defending NHRA POWERade world champion. "I'm sure in that second session tonight that we were just throwing everything at the car in an effort to get the pole. The tires just didn't stick this time around."

On Sunday, Schumacher will be looking to collect his first career victory at Heartland Park.

"We're bound and determined to get that monkey off of our backs," he said. "We got close here last year by getting to the semifinals. Perhaps, this will be the year we finally leave Kansas with a trophy."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher