By Don Schumacher Racing
Schumacher Loses Tight Race To Teammate
U.S. Army Top Fuel pilot Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher dropped a close quarterfinal round race to his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Spencer Massey here Sunday in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsport Park.
Massey's slight advantage at the starting line (.048-seconds to Schumacher's .062- seconds) proved to be the difference in the outcome as each driver posted identical 1,000-foot passes of 3.926-seconds.
"We knew it was going to be a tough race," said Schumacher. "Both DSR cars ran well, but he was just a bit better on the (Christmas) tree. That's the way it goes sometimes. The U.S. Army team gave its usual 110 percent, which is all you can ask for."
After qualifying second for his 325th professional race, Schumacher proceeded to level Pat Dakin in the opening round of eliminations with a 3.894-second pass at 312.28 mph. It was the 28th straight race he advanced beyond the first round.
"Frankly, that doesn't mean much to me," said the seven-time world champion. "We wanted four win lights here today. Unfortunately, we didn't accomplish our objective." Schumacher, who remains fifth in the standings, will now take the July 4th holiday weekend off before heading to Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals. The event will mark the halfway point of the 22-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
"It's going to be a home game for me," said Schumacher, who is a Chicago-area resident.
"That would be a great time to get our first victory of the year.
"My U.S. Army team will rebound just fine. Like Brigadier General William Rapp said, it's about teamwork, it's about perseverance and it's about dedication. That is what we are all about."
Like Schumacher, U.S. Army Racing Top Fuel driver Antron Brown lost in the quarterfinals - to pole sitter and points leader Del Worsham.
Brown, who qualified ninth, recorded a respectable 3.922-second trip at 296.37 mph, but trailed Worsham's 3.894-second run at 294.75 mph.
"We were right there with Del, but he just got me at the finish line," offered Brown, who held on to fourth in the standings. "We will take the lessons learned here in Norwalk and get ready for the race in Joliet. That is really all you can do. You need to stay positive and move forward."