Don Schumacher Racing press release
SCHUMACHER SPRINTS INTO SECOND STARTING POSITION
BRAINERD, Minn., August 19, 2011 - Fresh off three straight final round appearances, U.S. Army Top Fuel pilot Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher claimed the second starting spot here Friday during the first day of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR).
Schumacher's 3.836-second pass at 319.60 miles per hour was just short of Spencer Massey's provisional pole run of 3.835-seconds at 322.58 mph. Massey is Schumacher's Don Schumacher Racing teammate.
"It certainly appears we haven't missed a beat from the Western Swing," said Schumacher in reference to his three consecutive final rounds in Denver, Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle, respectively. "Mike Green (his crew chief) and the guys have this U.S. Army car buzzing along. I'm excited about this weekend and beyond."
Schumacher is still seeking his first victory of the year. The NHRA's winningest Top Fuel driver has now gone 15 straight races without a win.
"I have to tell you, it's getting pretty old hearing that," said the seven-time world champion. "We will win races this year - let there be no doubt. We are going to go out on Sunday and take our best shot just like we always do. Maybe, it will finally be our day."
The Chicago-area resident arrived in the Gopher State holding fourth-place in the standings, 25 points removed from his U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, in third. He was also 69 points behind Massey in second.
"We have this race and the one in Indianapolis in two weeks before the Countdown to 1 starts," said Schumacher. "We can do a lot of damage and rise up in the points during that time. I can see the fire burning in everyone's eyes. They want to go for another world championship."
In 2009, the first year Schumacher teamed with Green and his current crew, he secured a record sixth straight world title. Last year, he finished second to Larry Dixon.
"It's quite clear we want to re-claim the Full Throttle trophy," said Schumacher. "When you get that good of a taste in your mouth and it suddenly goes away, you want it back as soon as possible."
Brown, a New Jersey native, was not as fortunate as Schumacher during the opening day of action at BIR. He finished 10th in the order.
"We were trying to put up a comparable number to both Spencer and Tony, but it just wouldn't stick," said the former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider. "We'll just come back tomorrow and look to move up for race day."