Sonoma: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO SWEEP "WESTERN SWING" SONOMA, Calif., July 22 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will attempt to complete a sweep of the NHRA's "Western Swing" here this weekend in the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at ...

SCHUMACHER LOOKING TO SWEEP "WESTERN SWING"

SONOMA, Calif., July 22 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will attempt to complete a sweep of the NHRA's "Western Swing" here this weekend in the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

After posting wins in Denver and Seattle on successive weekends, Schumacher now needs a victory on Sunday to become only the sixth driver in NHRA history to nail down the always challenging Denver/Seattle/Sonoma segment of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule.

"We're definitely going to be bringing our brooms to Infineon Raceway with the idea that we're going for the clean sweep," said Schumacher as he made his way to Wine Country from the Pacific Northwest.

"As you will note from the few drivers who have accomplished the feat (Joe Amato, John Force, Cory McClenathan, Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson), it's not an easy task. But, if any team can get it done it's the U.S. Army guys. They're the best around. Like with our Soldiers, failure is never an option for them."

In addition to the drama surrounding Schumacher's pursuit of the "Western Swing" sweep, he's also trying to draw closer to Amato's Top Fuel career victory mark. After his Seattle win, Schumacher now has 48 career event titles, which is just four short of Amato's 52 victories.

"We're taking it one race at a time," added the five-time world champion. "To be honest, our real priority is to win championships. If the records happen to come along with that, so be it."

Having already clinched a spot in the Countdown to One phase of the Countdown to the Championship, Schumacher has shifted his focus to securing the top seed for the playoffs, which start in Charlotte, N.C., September 11-14.

"We want to stay on top so we have that 30 point lead once we get to Charlotte," he offered. "We definitely have to keep running strong to stay number one. We can't afford to let up for a minute."

With seven wins and two other final round appearances under his belt, Schumacher has bolted out to a 357-point lead over Antron Brown in the standings. But, he knows that huge lead will quickly evaporate come mid-September.

"Listen, it's not like we don't know the points are going to be reset," he said. "We just need to be as prepared as we can be for the stretch run, which covers the last six races. That's when we'll separate the contenders from the pretenders." Having gotten off to his best career start to a season, Schumacher would also like to win for the second straight year in Sonoma.

"We all love going to Northern California," he said. "Infineon Raceway is one of the better facilities that we go to. Hopefully, we can make a return trip to victory lane."

- credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Cory McClenathan