Bristol: Tony Schumacher final report

BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, banked his third victory of the season here Sunday in the rain plagued O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Schumacher, who came into round eight of...

BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, banked his third victory of the season here Sunday in the rain plagued O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Schumacher, who came into round eight of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series holding the Top Fuel point lead, leveled Larry Dixon in the finals with a 4.555- second pass at 306.81 mph.

"With all of the rain delays that we had, it felt great to end a very long day with a win," said the Chicago-area resident. "You have to give all the credit in the world to my U.S. Army team. They were in championship form yet again."

After qualifying number one for the second time this season, Schumacher wiped out Alan Bradshaw, J.R. Todd and Hillary Will before his meeting with Dixon. In getting past Will, Schumacher notched his 400th career round victory.

"Of course, my focus after beating Hillary was immediately on the match up with Dixon, but it did cross my mind that I got to 400," he said. "That's really pretty neat. Like I said earlier this weekend, it's not like John Force getting 1,000 round wins, but it's a milestone just the same. I certainly couldn't have gotten to this point without my great U.S. Army team."

Schumacher's desire to nail his 44th career national event victory was especially intense in Bristol since his dragster carried a special Salute the Troops paint scheme in advance of Memorial Day.

"We always want to win so badly for our Soldiers, but this weekend meant that much more with the paint scheme that we were running," he offered. "Given the sacrifices that our Soldiers make for us every day, they deserve every bit of attention that we can give them."

Schumacher and his U.S. Army team will now take a weekend off before traveling to Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., May 30-June 1, for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals.

"Hey, we're still on top of the points, so we'll go out to Topeka looking to strengthen our position," he said. "We're performing real well right now, but there's always room for improvement. You have to continually be striving for more and more in this sport."

Schumacher now has a 131-point advantage over second-place Antron Brown in the Top Fuel standings.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Alan Bradshaw , Hillary Will , J.R. Todd