Gainesville: Schumacher struggles

Gainesville, Florida (March 16): After winning the Top Fuel championship in 1999 and finishing second in 2000, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher has always said that NHRA drag racing has some of the most competitive racing in the world. "The Sarge"...

Gainesville, Florida (March 16): After winning the Top Fuel championship in 1999 and finishing second in 2000, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher has always said that NHRA drag racing has some of the most competitive racing in the world. "The Sarge" found out just how competitive it was after the first day of qualifying for the 32nd Annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

Schumacher started the day side-by-side with Gary Scelzi. From looking at the incremental numbers, Schumacher's black and gold Army dragster looked to be on a mid 4.60's run when it started to haze the tires, forcing "The Sarge" to lift from the throttle. Schumacher continued down the Gainesville Raceway track with a 5.683 e.t. at 160.71 mph. Scelzi's 4.576 e.t. proved to be the low for the first day of qualifying.

In the second session of the day, Schumacher again struggled as he smoked his Goodyear tires just after the hit of the throttle. Recording a time of 11.018 seconds, Schumacher finished the day unqualified for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations in the No. 19 position.

"I'll admit, it's not a great feeling to not be in the show," said "The Sarge," "we get four passes and we still have two more to get a handle on our tune-up and get qualified."

"I have all the confidence in the world in our team. Tomorrow, we just have to do what we know best."

Nitro qualifying will continue on Saturday at 12:15 PM and 3:30 PM. Sunday's Final Eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 AM.

-DeLille

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi