SCHUMACHER BEATEN IN SEMIFINALS
BAYTOWN, TEXAS, May 1, 2011 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher lost a semifinal round race to Larry Dixon here Sunday in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
Schumacher, who was the number one qualifier, got off the starting line first against the defending world champion, but his rear tires began to lose grip just before half track and Dixon raced on by to claim the round victory.
"This was a challenging day for the U.S. Army team," said Schumacher, a seven-time world champion. "Despite the fact we advanced to the semis, we just couldn't seem to get a handle on the track."
Warm, humid conditions on race day made the track formerly known as Houston Raceway Park a tough obstacle for a lot of teams.
"It certainly seemed that way," said Schumacher. "But, we're not going to let this result get us down. We're going to keep fighting just like our Army Strong Soldiers do. We don't know how to work any other way."
Schumacher had high hopes coming into the fifth round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He was seeking his first win of the season.
"That was the clear goal, but it didn't quite happen," he offered. "We'll just have to wait a couple of weeks to get after it again."
In two weeks, the NHRA tour will travel to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. for the tradition-rich Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals. Atlanta Dragway is the only track on the schedule where Schumacher has failed to collect a win.
"I guess it's about time we change that," said Schumacher, who remains fourth in the standings. "Believe me, we're confident we'll start winning races real soon and the struggles that we are enduring now will be a thing of the past. We are definitely a championship caliber team - that's already been proven."
Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, also departed Royal Purple Raceway a lot earlier than planned. The driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster lost a quarterfinal round match up to Dixon.
"We had a clutch disc blow out and it caused the car to drop a cylinder," said the New Jersey native, who retained third-place in the points. "It's disappointing, but we'll just move forward and get prepared for the trip to Atlanta Dragway."