RACEWAY PARK REMAINS A CHALLENGE FOR SCHUMACHER ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 17 - One will have to forgive U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, if he begins to show signs of frustration when the discussion turns to Old Bridge ...
RACEWAY PARK REMAINS A CHALLENGE FOR SCHUMACHER
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 17 - One will have to forgive U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, if he begins to show signs of frustration when the discussion turns to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. "Man, that track flat out gives me a headache every year," said the Chicago-area resident as he prepared for the Lucas Oil SuperNationals here this weekend. Despite capturing five world championships and 45 career victories, Schumacher can't seem to get out of his own way at the facility located in the central part of the Garden State.
Since 2003, Schumacher has recorded a DNQ, a second round loss and three first round losses, the most recent of which came last year after a track record 4.455-second pass in qualifying.
"After that DNQ in '03, we've always managed to qualify well there, but then race day becomes a whole different story," he added. "I guess it's one of those things in life you just can't explain."
The defending NHRA POWERade world champ is hoping this will be the year he notches his first win at the historic drag strip. He figures the percentages are bound to move in his favor.
"It has to happen sooner or later for us," he added. "We've run so well for so long that you would think our time has come to win in New Jersey. We almost crossed Atlanta Dragway off the non-win list this year."
Excluding the new Charlotte, N.C. track, Raceway Park, Virginia Motorsports Park (outside of Richmond), Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) and Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. are the four tracks where Schumacher has failed to pocket a victory.
"There are places where you operate in a comfort zone and then there are those that just give you nightmares," said Schumacher. "Every driver and crew chief has those two lists, trust me."
If Schumacher's success thus far in 2008 is any indication, he may be in for a pleasant experience this weekend. Having sat atop the Top Fuel standings since the season opener, he's coming off his fourth win of the season at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. two weeks ago.
"We definitely have momentum going into Englishtown," he said. "We know it will take a huge effort to win up there, but just like our Army Strong Soldiers, failure is never an option."