TOPEKA, Kan., June 1 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, dropped a second round race to Cory McClenathan here Sunday in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park. Schumacher, who qualified seventh, got out on his Don...
TOPEKA, Kan., June 1 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, dropped a second round race to Cory McClenathan here Sunday in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park.
Schumacher, who qualified seventh, got out on his Don Schumacher Racing teammate at the start with an impressive .030-second reaction time, but then his tires began to lose traction just past the 60-foot mark and McClenathan zoomed past him.
"I guess we just couldn't get a handle on the race track," said the defending NHRA POWERade world champion. "The track surface was exceptionally hot today and when that happens you're really walking a fine line to get the car to the finish line in a clean way. You have to give Cory and his team all the credit. They did what they had to do."
Schumacher's day actually started in similar fashion when he smoked the tires against Alan Bradshaw in the opening round. But, unlike McClenathan, Bradshaw also had traction issues and Schumacher was able to recover to get the round win. "We were pretty fortunate against Bradshaw," he said. "When I launched, the rear end of the car hit the wheelie bar fairly hard and that broke the tires loose. But, I was able to settle the car down enough to get past him."
With his quarterfinal loss to McClenathan, Schumacher remained winless at Heartland Park.
"I just don't know what it is about this place," he said. "We love coming here, but we just can't get to the money round. We'll just chalk this weekend up to experience and move on to Joliet (Ill.)."
Schumacher, who is a Chicago-area resident, will be heading home next weekend for the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
"The good news is that we're still holding the point lead," he offered. "We'll be celebrating the U.S. Army's birthday next weekend, so we'll be working hard to give our Soldiers a nice present in the form of a victory."