SCHUMACHER SETTLES FOR 12TH STARTING SPOT NORWALK, Ohio, June 26, 2010 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher took the 12th starting position here Saturday during final qualifying for tomorrow's Summit Racing Equipment Nationals...
SCHUMACHER SETTLES FOR 12TH STARTING SPOT
NORWALK, Ohio, June 26, 2010 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher took the 12th starting position here Saturday during final qualifying for tomorrow's Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park.
Despite having two additional qualifying sessions, Schumacher was unable to improve upon his time from Friday (3.920-seconds). This will mark the first time he's started from the bottom half of the field since last year's Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.
"We'll just get them tomorrow," said Schumacher. "I don't see an issue coming out of the 12th spot. You can win races from anywhere in the field. Everyone knows I have plenty of faith in my U.S. Army team. We'll rise to the occasion."
Schumacher's opening round opponent will be fifth-place qualifier, Bob Vandergriff, Jr. Since Vandergriff, Jr. has only competed on the NHRA tour in a part-time capacity so far this season, this will be the first meeting between the two in 2010.
"It may be the first time this year, but I've raced him plenty of times in recent years," said the defending Top Fuel world champion. "He's a good driver with a good team. They know how to get down the race track. We'll have to be sharp to beat him."
The Chicago-area resident is fully aware he needs to step up on Sunday if he's going to post back-to-back wins.
"We did it last weekend in Bristol (Tenn.), so we can certainly do it again here," he said. "For sure, we had some issues during qualifying the last couple of days. But, it can all change real quick on race day."
Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, retained his second starting position following two more qualifying runs.
The pilot of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster will take on 15th-place qualifier, Luigi Novelli, in the first round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. ET. He beat Novelli in the first round at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) in May.
A 24-time national event winner, Brown is still seeking his first victory of the year. He's been to three final rounds to date.