News: Schumacher blazes to number one spot
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
CONCORD, N.C. - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, behind a sizzling 3.771-second pass at 325.92 miles per hour, secured the pole position here Saturday during final qualifying for tomorrow's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
After tying for the third quickest 1,000-foot run in NHRA history and posting the third fastest speed, Schumacher banked his fifth pole of the year and the 66th of his career.
"That was an unbelievable ride," said the seven-time world champion. "With the cool conditions we had here again today, we knew the potential was there for a great lap. The U.S. Army team certainly got the job done and then some."
Schumacher and his Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Spencer Massey, actually recorded identical elapsed times in the fourth-and-final qualifying session, but it was speed which pushed the Chicago-area resident to the top of the charts.
"Obviously, that was a great effort by Spencer and his team as well," said Schumacher. "But, I'm happy for my guys. We wanted to come down to Charlotte and perform well after a tough race in Indianapolis two weeks ago. We 'aced' our qualifying test, but now we have to go out and do it on race day."
Schumacher arrived in the Tar Heel State loaded with inspiration after traveling to Washington, D.C. last week to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Additionally, just before heading to zMAX Dragway, he was at Fort Bragg, which is the home of the 82nd Airborne and Special Operations.
"It has been a memorable couple of weeks," he said. "We want so badly to win a race for our Army strong soldiers. Of course, we also want to get them another world championship. Hopefully, we can take a huge step in that direction on Sunday."
In pursuit of his first victory of the season, Schumacher will face off with 16th-place qualifier, Morgan Lucas, in the opening round of final eliminations beginning at 12 noon ET.
Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, ended up in the fifth starting position following Saturday's action.
Brown, who has five wins to his credit this year, will confront 12th-place qualifier, T.J. Zizzo, in the first round of eliminations.
"We slipped a little bit today in the order, but we still had a couple of nice runs," said the New Jersey native. "I'm confident going into tomorrow. We want to start the Countdown to the Championship in the right way."
While Schumacher and Brown were enjoying success in Charlotte, U.S. Army NASCAR Racing driver, Ryan Newman, was doing likewise at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Newman directed his No. 39 U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet into the fourth starting spot for Sunday's GEICO 400 Sprint Cup race after nailing a 29.507-second lap at 183.007 mph around the 1.5-mile oval.
"I am really proud of the guys on the U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet," said Newman. "It was a strong team effort and a good way to start the Chase on a qualifying note. I think we have a good car for the race tomorrow as well."