News: Schumacher, Brown move up in order; US Army NHRA drivers set for race-day battle
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Utilizing a never-give-up approach like the Army Strong soldiers they represent, U.S. Army NHRA Top Fuel drivers Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown both took positive steps forward during final qualifying for Sunday's Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.
Schumacher, in his U.S. Army dragster, advanced two spots in the race-day order from Friday after posting a 3.790-second pass at 322.81 mph. He claimed the second starting position behind polesitter, Morgan Lucas, who recorded a 3.766-second run at 321.88 mph.
The Chicago-area resident, who is seeking his first victory since the fall Las Vegas race in 2010, set up a first-round matchup with 15th-place qualifier Terry McMillen.
"We certainly had a great two days of qualifying, but now it's time to get down to the serious business of racing," Schumacher said. "As always, I feel confident we're going to get the job done tomorrow. We have been real close of late, so this could be our time to shine."
With four career victories in Gainesville, Schumacher would love to parlay that success into his first win of the season. He was runner-up in last year's Gatornationals.
"I like racing here for sure," Schumacher said. "It's a great facility and the fans are so supportive. It would be nice to grab another 'Gators' trophy to bring home on the plane tomorrow night."
While only moving up a spot in the order from Friday - to seventh - Brown was able to get his Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster to click on all cylinders in preparation for round three of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
The New Jersey native, after a 3.832-second jaunt at 320.43 mph in the last session, will face 10th-place qualifier David Grubnic in the opening round of final eliminations.
"We definitely ended qualifying on a solid note," Brown said. "You always want to go into race day feeling upbeat and that's our deal, for sure. I can't wait to get going tomorrow."
Brown came into the Gatornationals holding the Top Fuel points lead and fresh off a final-round conquest of Schumacher out in Phoenix a little over two weeks ago.
"We've had an outstanding start to the 2012 season, so we don't want to miss a beat here in Gainesville," Brown said. "I know seventh doesn't sound like the best of starting spots, but we know we can win from anywhere. You just have to dig deep and let it all hang out each and every round."
Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. EDT. ESPN2 will provide three hours of tape-delayed coverage starting at 6 p.m.
Date: March 10, 2012
Event: Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals (Round 3 of 23)
Series: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
Location: Auto-Plus Raceway, Gainesville, Fla.
Pole Winner: Morgan Lucas (3.766 seconds at 321.88 mph) U.S. Army Racing Lineup: Tony Schumacher 2nd (3.790 seconds at 322.81 mph)Antron Brown 7th (3.832 seconds at 320.43 mph)
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