Sonoma: Tony Schumacher final report

"THE SARGE" SWEEPS WESTERN SWING SONOMA, Calif., July 27 - Piloting his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher swept the NHRA's "Western Swing" here Sunday with a victory in the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon ...

"THE SARGE" SWEEPS WESTERN SWING

SONOMA, Calif., July 27 - Piloting his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher swept the NHRA's "Western Swing" here Sunday with a victory in the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

Schumacher leveled Hillary Will in the finals with a 3.886-second run at 307.93 mph and in the process clinched the number one seed for the Countdown to One phase of the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship.

"This is just incredible," said Schumacher after capturing his third straight win. "Winning in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma on consecutive weekends is really a tough thing to do. You have to tip your hat to the entire U.S. Army team. They're the best in the world."

Schumacher joined John Force, Greg Anderson, Larry Dixon, Joe Amato and Cory McClenathan as the only drivers in NHRA history to have swept the Denver/Seattle/Sonoma portion of the schedule.

"As always, we win for our Soldiers," added the five-time world champion. "Without their dedication and hard work we wouldn't be doing what we're doing. We're certainly looking to give them another world title at season's end."

Schumacher, who beat Doug Kalitta, Rod Fuller and Steve Torrence en route to his meeting with Will, banked his eighth win of the year and the 49th of his career at Infineon Raceway. He's now just three wins short of tying Amato's career Top Fuel victory mark.

"I guess we're getting there," he offered. "It's really hard to believe that we're in the position we're in right now. I just hope I don't wake up from what has been a pretty nice dream to this point."

While he has secured the top spot in the playoffs, Schumacher emphasized that his approach will not change prior to the start of the Countdown to One at Charlotte, N.C. in mid-September.

"By no means will we change our strategy," he said. "We've got three races to go before we get to Charlotte and one of them is our biggest event of the year - the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. We'll want to win them all, I can guarantee you that."

Schumacher and his U.S. Army team will have a much needed weekend off before heading to Brainerd, Minn. for the Lucas Oil Nationals.

"We'll enjoy the time with our families and friends and then get back after it up in Minnesota," he said. "Hopefully, we can keep the wins flowing."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Cory McClenathan , Rod Fuller , Hillary Will , Steve Torrence