Seattle: Tony Schumacher final report

SCHUMACHER CLINCHES SPOT IN TOP FUEL PLAYOFF KENT, Wash., July 19, 2009 - Defending champion Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher clinched a spot in the Countdown to One championship playoff and moved into second place in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag...

SCHUMACHER CLINCHES SPOT IN TOP FUEL PLAYOFF

KENT, Wash., July 19, 2009 - Defending champion Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher clinched a spot in the Countdown to One championship playoff and moved into second place in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series regular-season Top Fuel points race today with his runner up finish in the 22nd Annual Northwest Nationals here at Pacific Raceways.

Schumacher, in his sixth-consecutive final round at this race, drove his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to a 3.990-second run at 300 miles per hour during his final's loss to points leader Antron Brown, who did the 1,000 -foot course in 3.985 seconds at 301.07 mph.

"That was a great race, just a great race," said Schumacher, who had won the previous three NHRA Northwest Nationals. "Like our soldiers stationed around the globe, we had several missions this weekend, including improving our standing in the points race and having a solid weekend. And, like the brave men and women serving this country, our guys worked as well- coordinated team to achieve these goals; we made progress and gained ground."

Getting to the finals was a test for the Chicago-area native who had to get by the racers ahead and behind him in the points race. In round one, a rematch from the last two years' NHRA Northwest Nationals finals, he bested Brandon Bernstein, who came into the race in fourth place, with a 3.935-second pass at 297.88 mph to Bernstein's 6.533-second at 95.06 mph run.

Schumacher, with a 3.937-second, 297.09-mph pass, defeated Larry Dixon, who ran 5.367 seconds at 126.29 mph, in the second round, moving past him up to second place.

The semi-finals featured a pedal job by Schumacher whose 5.115-second run at 203.86 mph topped Troy Buff's 11.75-second run at 30.81 mph; Buff's car broke early in the race.

"Mike (Green, crew chief) and the team did a great job getting our car ready for the finals, especially after the disaster we had in the third round," he said. "We knew the right lane would be a challenge, but we stepped it up and within eight-thousands-of-a-second. A great race!"

Schumacher, six-time Top Fuel Champion, including world titles the past five years, heads to next weekend's 22nd Annual FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., second in the championship race with 1,031 points after 14 events. He is 137 points behind Brown.

The top 10 drivers after the 18th race of the season, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, qualify for the Countdown to One. The points totals are reset for the playoffs with the first-place driver gaining a 30-point advantage over the second-place driver. From then, it is a 10-point gap between each subsequent driver.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Brandon Bernstein , Troy Buff