Topeka: Tony Schumacher Saturday notes

SCHUMACHER TO START THIRD TOPEKA, Kan., May 30 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will come out of the third starting position here Sunday in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Fighting a hot track ...

SCHUMACHER TO START THIRD

TOPEKA, Kan., May 30 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will come out of the third starting position here Sunday in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Fighting a hot track surface, Schumacher could not improve upon his Friday time of 3.866-seconds during final qualifying and in the process set up a meeting with 14th- place qualifier, Chris Karamesines, in the first round of eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. CDT.

"It was a real challenge today for all of the crew chiefs," said the six-time world champion. "The track temperature was almost 130 degrees so grip was a big issue. Frankly, there weren't many cars that got down the track clean. With the weather forecasted to be the same tomorrow, all of us drivers better be ready for anything." After recording his third straight top three starting effort, Schumacher will now focus on grabbing his first career victory at Heartland Park Topeka.

"We're going to get after it with all we've got," he added. "Again, with the hot weather, it's going to be important that I react to whatever the car does tomorrow. I feel we've got as good a shot as anyone else to win this thing."

Before Schumacher can begin thinking about his 60th career victory, he will have to first get by the 79-year-old Karamesines who like Schumacher hails from the Chicago area.

"My family has known Chris for a long time," he said. "We'll certainly deal with him just like we do any of our first-round opponents - with plenty of respect. We're only going to concern ourselves with him and not get caught looking ahead."

Schumacher entered round nine of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series holding a 45-point lead on Antron Brown in the standings.

"We really like that top spot," he said. "In this sport, it's always better when everyone is chasing you."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Chris Karamesines