SCHUMACHER WANTS TO CROSS ATLANTA DRAGWAY OFF LIST
COMMERCE, Ga., May 10, 2011 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher says he's not consumed with it, but he readily admits it crosses his mind on occasion.
The "it' Schumacher refers to is Atlanta Dragway, site of this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. It seems the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history just can't seem to catch a break when he travels to the Peachtree State.
"Here I am with 67 career wins and I've never won at Atlanta Dragway," offered the Chicago-area resident while shaking his head in amazement. "It's one of those things in life you can't explain. I've won at every other track on the schedule, but I guess that place has some sort of spell on me or something."
Schumacher has come close to gaining entry to Atlanta Dragway's winner's circle. In 2000, he lost in the finals to Gary Scelzi and in 2008 he dropped a final round encounter to then Top Fuel rookie (and current Don Schumacher Racing/U.S. Army Racing teammate), Antron Brown.
Additionally, despite totaling 63 career poles (the most recent was two weeks ago at Royal Purple Raceway outside of Houston), Schumacher has never been the number one qualifier at the facility that was originally graded to house an airport.
"It's all very puzzling to me," added the seven-time world champion. "But, we do have another shot at that place this weekend. As is always the case with our Army Strong Soldiers, failure won't be an option for us. We're going to go down there and attack from the first qualifying session right through race day."
We're going to go down there and attack from the first qualifying session right through race day.
After notching a semifinal round appearance in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals, Schumacher remains optimistic his first victory of the season is right around the bend.
"It will happen - it's only a matter of time," he said. "This U.S. Army team doesn't know what the word quit means. We'll keep at it until everything falls into place. Mike Green is a tremendously talented crew chief who understands what it takes to win races and world championships. He will lead us down the right path, I will guarantee you that."
Schumacher heads for Atlanta Dragway holding fourth in the Top Fuel standings - he trails Del Worsham, Larry Dixon and Brown, respectively. With only five of 22 races in the books, he knows there's plenty of time left to set the wheels in motion.
"We want to be peaking around the time the Countdown to 1 arrives in September," he said. "To be honest, we're all positioning ourselves right now for that stretch run. Of course, it would be nice if we're sitting in the number one spot by the time we get to the playoffs. With so much racing left, that's definitely a reachable goal. We certainly have the car and team to get the job done."