Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 5): Carry the U.S. Army colors for the first time, Tony Schumacher took "The Sarge" dragster to victory at the most prestigious race on the NHRA tour; the 46th Annual U.S. Nationals. Schumacher followed up his win in...
Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 5): Carry the U.S. Army colors for the first time, Tony Schumacher took "The Sarge" dragster to victory at the most prestigious race on the NHRA tour; the 46th Annual U.S. Nationals.
Schumacher followed up his win in Brainerd two weeks ago with another championship caliber performance. Starting from the No. 4 qualifying spot, Schumacher marched through the field to claim his fourth title of the year and fifth of his career.
In the first round of eliminations, Schumacher faced Doug Herbert. Schumacher easily disposed of Herbert with a 4.673 e.t. at 309.27 mph while Herbert had mechanical troubles. Schumacher first round run was low of the first round.
In the second round, Schumacher ran against points rival Larry Dixon. Schumacher's Dan Olson-tuned dragster again ran low e.t. of the event and defeated Dixon with a 4.607 e.t. at 316.45 mph. In addition to the low e.t. of the event, Olson also tuned Melanie Troxel's Exide dragster that ran high mph of the race with a 320.13 mph blast.
In the semifinals, Schumacher defeated Kenny Bernstein. Bernstein smoked his tires while Schumacher cruised the 1320 feet in 4.618 seconds.
"This is unbelievable to be going to the finals for our new partners, the U.S. Army," said Schumacher, "they have so much heritage in the sport, its an honor to race for them."
Crew Chief Dan Olson knew the final round opponent, Gary Clapshaw, would have to take some chances to try to beat the consistent Army dragster. What he didn't want was to make any mistakes of his own by backing the car down. Clapshaw had a red light start and lost, but he would have had a tough time catching Schumacher's 4.644 second run.
This was the first U.S. Nationals victory for Schumacher and the first as a crew chief for Olson.
"I am so proud of our team," said Schumacher, "to get this team up and running in the time we did is unbelievable. It was an incredible team effort and we want to thank the U.S. Army for coming on board with us."
Schumacher also leaves Indy with the NHRA Top Fuel points lead as he did one year ago in route to the 1999 Winston Championship. Schumacher now leads Gary Scelzi by 69 points as teams will go to Englishtown, NJ for the rain date for the Matco Tools Nationals.