Topics: Tony Schumacher, Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals
U.S. Army Racing
February 27, 2011
POMONA, Calif., February 27, 2011 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher lost a quarterfinal round race to Shawn Langdon here Sunday in the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway.
Schumacher was first off the starting line and was leading the race until just before the 330-foot mark, but his tires began to lose traction and Langdon moved on by for the win.
"I didn't expect that to happen," said the seven-time world champion. "The car launched well and we seemed to have a good run going, but then for some reason the tires kicked loose down track. I tried to catch it, but he was already too far ahead for me to catch him."
The Chicago-area resident had high hopes for a third career Winternationals victory following an impressive conquest of Troy Buff in the first round of eliminations. Schumacher banked a 3.789-second run at a national record-setting 327.03 mph.
"We were looking for a similar type run against Langdon," he said. "Unfortunately, it just didn't work out the way we wanted. We'll just move on from here. Like our Army Strong Soldiers, we refuse to accept defeat. We'll be ready for the next race in a couple of weeks."
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will take a weekend off before traveling to Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, March 10-14, for the famed Tire Kingdom Gatornationals. Schumacher is the defending event champion.
"We did pretty well down there last year, so I'm fully expecting a strong performance again this time around," said Schumacher. "I know the Gainesville race marks the official kick off of the NHRA's 60th anniversary celebration. We'd love to be able to put that particular trophy in the shop."
While Schumacher was packing his bags for the trip home from Pomona a lot earlier than he desired, his U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, advanced to the semifinals.
Brown disposed of Mike Strasburg and Doug Kalitta to set up a meeting with Langdon in the semis. The driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, who was looking to go back-to-back at Auto Club Raceway (he won the 2010 season finale at the historic venue), lost after his engine exploded just past half track.
Over in the U.S. Army NASCAR Racing camp, driver Ryan Newman directed his #39 Chevrolet to a fifth-place finish on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
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