Phoenix: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO RECLAIM TOP SPOT CHANDLER, Ariz., February 17 - After round one of the 2009 NHRA drag racing season, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher suddenly finds himself navigating through unfamiliar ...

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO RECLAIM TOP SPOT

CHANDLER, Ariz., February 17 - After round one of the 2009 NHRA drag racing season, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher suddenly finds himself navigating through unfamiliar territory.

Having led the points from start to finish last year en route to a fifth consecutive world title, the Chicago-area resident is now trying to deal with being among a group of drivers who are chasing the leader.

"It's true - we haven't been in this position in quite some time," he admitted. "But, this weekend we'll be focusing on returning to the number one spot. Our Soldiers operate at the highest of levels, so we should be following suit."

When the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series moves to Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix, February 20-22, for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals, Schumacher will attempt to rebound from a second round loss suffered in the rain-delayed season opener out in Pomona, Calif.

"The Pomona weekend was a little out of the ordinary and quite challenging for everyone," offered Schumacher. "Even though we went out as early as we did, I felt like we put forth a solid effort. We definitely have something to build on heading to Firebird."

Now that the much publicized debut of crew chief, Mike Green, and the revamped U.S. Army team is out of the way, Schumacher is more than prepared to wrestle back the top spot in the standings.

"We all can't wait to get to Firebird," said Schumacher. "Mike and the guys are just outstanding to work with. Obviously, it's our collective goal to win every race we compete in."

Schumacher believes a successful test session conducted at Firebird last month will pay off come Sunday afternoon.

"We put up some good numbers out there at the National Time Trials," he said. "If we can improve even a little bit, that should definitely put us right in the ball game. Listen, it's not going to be easy for any one driver or team this year. We're going to have to dig deep with every run to win rounds and races. We're going to have to be Army Strong."

Schumacher is a three-time winner at Firebird. Last year, he lost a close race to Larry Dixon in the semifinals.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher