SCHUMACHER REMAINS FIFTH TOPEKA, Kan., May 22, 2010 - Handling the controls of his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher secured the fifth starting spot here Saturday during final qualifying for tomorrow's O'Reilly Auto Parts...
SCHUMACHER REMAINS FIFTH
TOPEKA, Kan., May 22, 2010 - Handling the controls of his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher secured the fifth starting spot here Saturday during final qualifying for tomorrow's O'Reilly Auto Parts Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. With temperatures soaring into the high 80's, Schumacher was unable to improve upon his Friday time and thus remained in the fifth position. It's the ninth straight race the Chicago- area resident has qualified in the top five.
"We put together a couple of good runs despite the heat today, but we just couldn't move up the ladder," he offered. "The track was too hot and slick. We did get some real good data for Sunday. And, that's critical since the weather should be about the same."
Schumacher will confront 12th-place qualifier, Dominick Lagana, in the opening round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. CT. It will be their first meeting of 2010.
"We're going to give him our very best shot," added the seven-time world champion.
"We really need to put some round wins in the bank tomorrow. Personally, I'm ready to claim a win here at Heartland Park."
Heartland Park is one of two tracks where Schumacher has not recorded a victory - the other is Atlanta Dragway. He also has never advanced to a final round in Topeka.
"With all of the success this program has had over the years it's actually pretty amazing," he said. "We're definitely not going to dwell on the past. We have an opportunity to slay the dragon on Sunday."
If Schumacher visits victory lane, it will be his 60th win with the U.S. Army as his sponsor. Additionally, it would be the U.S. Army's 100th NHRA win.
Like Schumacher, Antron Brown, who drives the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, could not better his Friday qualifying time. But, he still managed to take the coveted number one spot.
After collecting his third pole of the season and the 24th of his career, Brown set up a meeting with 16th-place qualifier, Luigi Novelli.
Schumacher entered the weekend holding fourth-place in the standings, while Brown followed in fifth.