News: Schumacher 4th, Brown 8th, heading into final day of qualifying for 'Gators'
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — U.S. Army NHRA Top Fuel pilots Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown landed top-half-of-the-field starting spots following the first day of qualifying for the famed Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.
Schumacher, in his familiar black-and-gold U.S. Army dragster, covered the historic dragstrip in 3.838 seconds at 320.36 mph, which was good for the fourth position, while Brown, aboard his Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, jumped into the eighth spot with a 3.861-second run at 314.97 mph.
"We're working awfully hard to prepare for race day in an effort to get an overdue win for our Army Strong soldiers," Schumacher said. "We're proud to represent the more than 1 million soldiers who protect our freedom and our way of life."
Schumacher, who arrived in the Sunshine State holding second place in the standings behind Brown, is looking to break a losing streak that has now totaled 25 consecutive races.
"Given the success I've had here in Gainesville (four wins), I couldn't think of a better place to take care of that streak," Schumacher said. "The Army car is definitely running well. We were the quickest in round one and not far off the pace in the second round. We'll come back tomorrow and try to turn the wick up a bit."
After not getting down the track in the first round of qualifying, Brown returned in round two with a solid pass. The New Jersey native, who has advanced to two consecutive final rounds and posted a win thus far this season, would like to solidify his grip on the points lead by weekend's end.
"Absolutely," Brown said. "We want to keep things rolling here in Gainesville. We didn't get off to a particularly great start today, but we came back with a good effort in the second session. Hopefully, we can build off that for tomorrow.
"We'll take a long look at all of the data tonight and then try to make a move up the ladder to get the best possible starting position for the race. We're definitely not going to settle for being in the first pair of cars out on Sunday."
Two more Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for, March 17, at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST with final eliminations set to kick off at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Date: March 9, 2012
Event: Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals (Round 3 of 23)
Series: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
Location: Auto-Plus Raceway, Gainesville, Fla.
Provisional Pole Winner: Shawn Langdon (3.800 seconds at 322.65 mph) U.S. Army Racing Lineup: Tony Schumacher 4th (3.838 seconds at 320.36 mph) Antron Brown 8th (3.861 seconds at 314.97 mph)