"SARGE" JUMPS INTO FOURTH STARTING POSITION
LAS VEGAS, Nev., April 2, 2011 - U.S. Army Top Fuel pilot Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher collected the fourth starting spot here Saturday during final qualifying for the SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Schumacher saved his best effort for the last qualifying session as he recorded a 3.939- second pass at 314.75 mph. In the process, he improved two positions in the final line up.
"I will certainly take that," said Schumacher, a six-time winner at The Strip. "Heading into that last run, it was not looking very pretty."
After qualifying sixth on Friday, Schumacher was actually bumped down to eighth after round three and faced a "first pair out in the first round" scenario on race day. But, that all quickly changed.
"The Army team stepped up like they always do," said the Chicago-area resident. "Mike Green and the guys certainly made the right calls on what was another very hot day." For the second straight day, track temperatures soared to near 130 degrees which made it tough to get down The Strip. However, given the weather forecast, the picture should be far different on Sunday.
"Apparently, the air temperature is supposed to drop about 20 degrees, so tune ups will have to be changed," said Schumacher. "We'll be prepared, that's for sure."
Schumacher's first round opponent will be 13th-place qualifier, Troy Buff, who he beat in the first round at the season opener in Pomona, Calif.
"We're looking forward to tomorrow," offered Schumacher. "We want that first win of the season real bad."
Antron Brown, Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, was knocked from fourth to fifth in the race day order. Interestingly enough, Brown and Schumacher posted identical elapsed times in qualifying, but Schumacher's speed was better which broke the tie.
Brown will square off with 12th-place qualifier, Morgan Lucas, in the opening round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. PT.