SCHUMACHER WINS FOR SEVENTH TIME IN 2008 CHANCE TO SWEEP "WESTERN SWING" KENT, Wash., July 20, 2008 - Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher today piloted the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to his seventh win of the season here in the 21st Annual Schuck's ...
SCHUMACHER WINS FOR SEVENTH TIME IN 2008 CHANCE TO SWEEP "WESTERN SWING"
KENT, Wash., July 20, 2008 - Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher today piloted the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to his seventh win of the season here in the 21st Annual Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceway, thus lengthening his lead in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Championship competition and giving him a chance to sweep the "Western Swing."
Schumacher, who competed in the eliminations from his fourth number-one qualifying position of 2008, used a 3.90-second lap at 309.98 miles per hour to defeat Brandon Bernstein (4.056 seconds at 291.19 mph) in the finals, which he also did at last year's race here. In fact, the Chicago-area resident has been to the finals here the last five years, winning four of the races.
"Yes, I like this race track, a lot," said the reigning and five-time NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Champion. "But winning here or anywhere is about having a car which can win - and (crew chief) Alan (Johnson) and the entire U.S. Army Team gives me that car.
"Thanks to this great team, this car is flawless which means I don't have to think about anything but driving the car," he added. "Teamwork is crucial here, just like it is for our brave men and women soldiers. Like us, they have to work together to get their job done."
Schumacher, in the first round on the way to the finals, ran a 3.877-second, 310.50 mph lap to defeat Steve Chrisman, whose car broke; used a 3.938-second run at 305.77 mph to knock out David Grubnic (4.186 seconds at 245.99 mph) in the second round, and bested Rod Fuller in the semi finals (3.978-seconds at 287.90 mph versus 4.316-seconds at 224.58 mph).
The U.S. Army Top Fuel Team has been getting the job done the entire season with seven wins and nine final rounds in 14 races. Schumacher (1,297 points) holds a 357-point lead in the championship race over Antron Brown (940 points) and is the lone Top Fuel driver who has clinched a place in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, which begins with the 19th race, the September 11-14 inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals in Charlotte, N.C.
In addition, Schumacher, should he win next week's 21st Annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., would be the fourth Top Fuel driver to win the three-race-in-three-week (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma) "Western Swing." He would join the select company of Joe Amato (1991), Gary Scelzi (1997) and Larry Dixon (2003).
He is also getting closer to Amato in terms of total Top Fuel victories with today's win giving Schumacher 48, just four behind the former champion.
"I don't think about records or streaks when I am in the race car," Schumacher, 38, said. "You can't be thinking of anything but the job at hand, which is winning the round. If you worry about anything else, if you don't stay focused, you won't win."
He maintained focus throughout the weekend, beginning with a number-one qualifying run of 3.802-seconds at 316.90 mph, both the quickest and fastest lap of the event (and at the new 1,000-foot race distance). It marked the 51st time in his career Schumacher has started from the top of the eliminations ladder.
"This 1,000-foot racing is just great," commented Schumacher. "The races are tighter, more competitive, which the fans like and there are much fewer oil downs and delays, again, which the fans and the racers and the teams really like."