Charlotte: Tony Schumacher preview

NEW SEASON AHEAD FOR SCHUMACHER CONCORD, N.C., September 15 - In the eyes of U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, the dress rehearsal is now over and it's time to get on with the show. Specifically, the show referenced is...

NEW SEASON AHEAD FOR SCHUMACHER

CONCORD, N.C., September 15 - In the eyes of U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, the dress rehearsal is now over and it's time to get on with the show.

Specifically, the show referenced is the Countdown to 1, which is the NHRA's six-race run to the Full Throttle world championship.

The first playoff race, the Carolinas Nationals, will take place this weekend at zMax Dragway outside of Charlotte. Schumacher enters the event holding third-place in the standings, 40 points behind leader Antron Brown.

"The new season is upon us," said the six-time world champion. "Whatever happened to this point really doesn't mean very much to be honest. It's all about how you perform the next six races."

Schumacher and his U.S. Army team will be looking to parlay the momentum gained from winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend into a victory this Sunday.

"We're definitely going into this weekend's race on a positive note," added the Chicago-area resident. "It's really great we won in Indy a couple of weeks ago. I think our confidence was bolstered quite a bit as a result."

With the playoffs looming, Schumacher is focused on capturing a sixth consecutive title. He knows a strong result at zMax Dragway will help move the needle in the right direction.

"We need to get off on the right foot," he said. "Our mission is to intently march towards another title for our Army Strong Soldiers. We'd like nothing better than to win another Carolinas Nationals."

In pocketing the inaugural Carolinas Nationals, Schumacher passed Joe Amato on the all-time Top Fuel victory list.

"That was an incredible moment," he recalled. "No matter what happens during the rest of my career, I'll always remember that special day."

The Carolinas Nationals marks the beginning of four straight race weekends that will also include stops in Dallas, Memphis and Richmond, respectively.

"It's going to be quite hectic the next few weeks," said Schumacher. "There's no doubt we'll have a better idea who the serious contenders will be after these next four races."

In 2008, Schumacher won four of the final six races en route to the aforementioned fifth straight crown, which was a Top Fuel record.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato