SCHUMACHER ENJOYS WESTERN SWING SEATTLE, Wash., July 7, 2010 - It has been described as grueling and quite challenging, but you can count Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher among those who actually look forward to the NHRA's infamous Western...
SCHUMACHER ENJOYS WESTERN SWING
SEATTLE, Wash., July 7, 2010 - It has been described as grueling and quite challenging, but you can count Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher among those who actually look forward to the NHRA's infamous Western Swing.
"I can't wait for this part of the schedule to pop up," said the driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster as he prepared to travel to Seattle, Sonoma, Calif. and Denver over the next three weekends. "Maybe, I feel that way because of the success we've had at all three venues in recent years."
Since 2004, Schumacher clearly has been one of the more dominant Top Fuel drivers at Pacific Raceways (Seattle), Infineon Raceway (Sonoma) and Bandimere Speedway (Denver). He's claimed eight wins at the three tracks in six seasons.
"I'm not sure why we've been so good on the Western Swing," he said. "I guess I've been real fortunate to have had crew chiefs who can adapt to the ever-changing weather conditions."
At Pacific Raceways alone, Schumacher has compiled four victories in six straight final- round appearances. Last year, he lost to his now Matco Tools/U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, in the finals.
"The NHRA changed up the schedule a bit this year and put Seattle first on The Swing," he offered. "That's okay with me given how well we've done there. If we can have similar results this weekend (in the NHRA Northwest Nationals), it can set the tone for the stops in Sonoma and Denver."
Schumacher swept the Western Swing in 2008 while en route to his fifth consecutive world championship. To that end, he knows how tough a chore that can be.
"Again, you have three tracks with different air conditions and wild temperature swings," he said. "You have to be able to adjust your tune up to account for all of that. It's definitely not an easy thing to do."
Coming off a semifinal round loss to Larry Dixon in Norwalk, Ohio two weeks ago, Schumacher would love to have positive results the next three races to help get ready for the upcoming Countdown to 1, which begins at the U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
"We have the Western Swing and then Brainerd (Minn.) the middle of next month before it all begins for real in Indy," said Schumacher. "We need to get back to victory lane for a lot of reasons, the most important of which is to make our Army Strong Soldiers happy."
Schumacher will head for Seattle holding second-place in the Top Fuel standings, 176 points removed from Dixon.
"Yes, that's a big deficit, but if we can remain in second going into the U.S. Nationals his lead will then be cut to 30 points," he said. "At that point, it will be a sprint to see which team can take home the big trophy in November."