CONCORD, NC, UNITED STATES
CONCORD, N.C. - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher dropped a close semifinal round encounter to his U.S. Army Racing/Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Antron Brown, here Sunday in the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Schumacher recorded a very respectable 3.802-second run at 320.05 miles per hour, but Brown stopped the clock with a 3.795-second pass at 322.73 mph. It was Brown's sixth win in eight race day meetings with Schumacher this year.
"It definitely was a tight one," said Schumacher. "The car moved around a little and it possibly put a hole [cylinder] out. We really felt like we had the car to beat here today. I guess it just wasn't in the cards."
After qualifying number one for the fifth time this season, Schumacher was primed to take home his first win of the year. He proceeded to cruise by Morgan Lucas and Rod Fuller in the opening two rounds before confronting Brown.
In his win over Lucas, Schumacher laid down a quick 3.775-second trip, while setting the national record for speed - 327.90 mph.
"Again, we had a great car all weekend," said Schumacher, a seven-time world champion. "We're still very much alive in the Countdown to the Championship. We can't wait to get to the next race at the Texas Motorplex next weekend. We'll be looking to grab a trophy for our hard-working Army strong soldiers."
Schumacher will head for the AAA Texas Fall Nationals outside of Dallas holding fifth-place in the standings and within three rounds of racing of the lead.
"The competition is very tough out here," said the Chicago-area resident. "We're all so close performance wise. We'll just go down to Texas and do our deal. There's no reason to panic about anything. Trust me -- we're still a serious contender for the title. Do not count us out."
After disposing of Schumacher in the semis, Brown went on to face his other Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Spencer Massey, in the finals.
A New Jersey native, Brown banked a 3.784-second jaunt at 325.14 mph against Massey en route to his third consecutive victory and sixth of the season. He also moved into first-place in the standings.
"This is just awesome," said Brown. "I've had such an unbelievable car the last few races. Of course, we can't enjoy this win too long because we have to prepare for the trip to Texas. We have to keep our heads down and stay focused. There's still a lot of racing left."
At press time over in the U.S. Army NASCAR Racing camp, driver Ryan Newman was sitting through a rain delay at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Newman, who qualified fourth for the GEICO 400 in his No. 39 U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet, was looking to start the Chase for the Sprint Cup in a positive way. He entered the playoffs as the eighth seed.
||CONCORD, NC, US
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