Sonoma: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER EYES BIG FINISH TO WESTERN SWING SONOMA, Calif., July 21 - Having banked a final round appearance in Seattle last Sunday, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will be looking to take an extra step here this weekend in...

SCHUMACHER EYES BIG FINISH TO WESTERN SWING

SONOMA, Calif., July 21 - Having banked a final round appearance in Seattle last Sunday, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will be looking to take an extra step here this weekend in the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

The Sonoma race marks the final stop on the NHRA's infamous three-race Western Swing which began in Denver two weeks ago.

"We'd love to leave Wine Country with a victory, that's for sure," said the six- time world champion. "We took some big strides performance wise the last couple of weeks, so it would be fitting to end the Western Swing on a high note."

With his runner up finish in the Northwest Nationals, Schumacher jumped from third to second in the Top Fuel standings. He also clinched a berth in the NHRA's Countdown to One playoffs.

"While we didn't get the win in Seattle, we ran well the whole weekend up there," he added. "Our consistency is really starting to come around. That's what we'll need as we draw closer to the first race in the Countdown come mid-September in Charlotte."

Schumacher, the defending FRAM-Autolite Nationals event champion, is well aware only four races remain before the Charlotte stop pops up on the schedule.

"Listen, that's when it will count for real," he said. "We're going to try and win all of the races before Charlotte, but it's imperative we are as prepared as we can be going into that weekend. If we can get on a roll like last year, we'll be just fine."

En route to his fifth consecutive world title, Schumacher posted six straight wins prior to the arrival of the 2008 playoffs.

"No question, that was huge for us," he offered. "Again, you want to have momentum built up before things really start to heat up."

Heading down the home stretch of the season, Schumacher and his team will continue to draw inspiration from the many Army Strong Soldiers who fill his pit area each race weekend.

"We race and win for them," said the Chicago-area resident. "They motivate us in a huge way. We won't rest until we give those brave men and women another world championship trophy."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher