SCHUMACHER SOLIDIFIES POINTS POSITION, DESPITE LOSS IN SEMIFINALS
Topics: Tony Schumacher, Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
U.S. Army Racing
May 16, 2010
COMMERCE, Ga., May 16, 2010 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher drove the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to within two round-wins of second place in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points race following his semifinal loss today in the 30th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
Schumacher, with a 4.332-second pass at 222.99 miles per hour, lost in the third round to series-leader and top-qualifier Larry Dixon, who posted a 3.890-second run at 312.06 mph. (Today's round loss squares the season series between these two drivers at two wins apiece; two weeks ago Schumacher defeated Dixon on his way to an event victory in St. Louis.)
"When you are running against a car which has gone well all weekend, you've got to bring your best," said Schumacher, reigning and seven-time Full Throttle Top Fuel champion. "We got off the line great and led for a bit, but too much power for the hot track resulted in us spinning the tires. "I'm not concerned because we've got a great car prepared by a great team, so my confidence remains high."
Schumacher, who qualified fifth, defeated Bobby Lagana (red-light start) in the first round with a 3.928-seccond run at 310.91 and then used a 4.258-second, 209.79-mph pass to oust Cory McClenathan (9.068 seconds at 72.47 mph) in the quarter finals.
"Of course we were disappointed with today's results," said the Chicago-area native. "You try to win every race, but the most important factor is to keep everything in perspective and focus on the overall goal - to win another championship.
"The countdown format (the top-10 drivers in points through the season's first 17 races qualify for a six-race playoff) means we have to be ready for the championship run.
"It is this kind of focus which has brought us the last six championships and differentiates our U.S. Army team from others. We take our inspiration from the Army strong soldiers whose outstanding accomplishments come from maintaining their focus on their missions, regardless of the conditions under which they might have to perform."
Antron Brown, Schumacher's U.S. Army teammate, lost a very close race in the first round on a hole shot by Pat Dakin. The driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster could not overcome a .003 disadvantage off the start line, despite outrunning Dakin 4.000 seconds (at 297.88 mph) to 4.002 seconds (at 303.09 mph). He remains in fifth place with 528 points.
Schumacher (whose 620 points puts him 35 behind number two driver McClenathan) and Brown head for Topeka, Kan., next week for the 22nd Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Summer Nationals.
In U.S. Army NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Ryan Newman drove the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet to 13th place in today's Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes at Dover International Speedway in Delaware. The next Sprint Cup points race for Newman is the May 30th Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.
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