Schumacher Nails Seventh Position
U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher grabbed the seventh starting spot here Friday during the first day of qualifying for the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Schumacher banked a 3.901-second pass at 316.38 mph in the night session and in the process moved into the top half of the field going into the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday (noon and 2:30 p.m. ET).
"We needed to get down the track without issue in that second run since we lost the first run due to a broken top-blower pulley," said Schumacher. "It's tough when you don't get data to use from the first session. But, as usual, the guys did a terrific job."
Schumacher is seeking his ninth straight top-half starting position, while pursuing his first victory of the season.
"Obviously, we want to get that first win in the worst way," offered the Chicago-area resident. "We're way overdue for a trip to the winner's circle. Maybe, this will finally be our weekend."
The seven-time world champion would also love to present a trophy to his long-time sponsor, the U.S. Army, which is celebrating its 236th birthday this week.
"That would be a nice present for sure," said Schumacher. "We like making our Army Strong Soldiers happy. We take great pride in representing all of those brave men and women."
On Sunday, Schumacher will be trying to become a five-time winner at Bristol Dragway. His four wins lead the Top Fuel class, which includes last year's race.
"This has definitely been a good track for us the last few years," he said. "Hopefully, we can maintain that momentum this weekend."
Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, collected the second spot in the order after a 3.864-second trip at 317.12 mph. He is looking to take home his third win of the year.
"We've had two consecutive quarterfinal round losses, so it's time we go deeper on race day," said the New Jersey native. "There is no doubt I have a real good race car."