News: Schumacher, Brown set to resume battle
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
LAS VEGAS - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel drivers Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown will continue their pursuit of the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championship here this weekend in the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After collecting a final-round appearance in Phoenix two weeks ago, Brown vaulted into the points lead with two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship. He leads Larry Dixon by 20 points and his Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Spencer Massey, by 25 points.
"We have the advantage, but we won't go the rest of the way in a defensive mode," said Brown. "We're going to play to win rather than play not to lose."
A six-time winner thus far this season, Brown feels an aggressive approach will suit his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team quite well in Las Vegas and at the season finale in Pomona, Calif., the middle of next month.
"We've been that way throughout the season, so we really shouldn't change a thing," offered the New Jersey native. "We go after it in every round at every race. All I know is we are poised and ready to keep going. We can't let up for a second because the competition will take advantage in a hurry."
That competition includes Schumacher, his other Don Schumacher Racing teammate, who holds fifth-place in the standings and is 91 points out of the lead.
Yet to win this season, Schumacher feels he is still very much in the mix when it comes to world title contention.
"Definitely," said the Chicago-area resident. "If we can fire off a victory bullet in Vegas while the guys above us have some issues, we'll be right there going into Pomona. Look at what Antron accomplished in Phoenix. He went from being 45 points behind to being 20 points ahead, which was a swing of 65 points.
"Like our Army Strong soldiers, we're not accepting defeat. We are going to keep fighting until the very end. It's safe to say, there won't be anything left on the table for us once the curtain comes down on the season. That's just how we operate."
Schumacher, who is coming off a semifinal-round loss at Firebird Raceway, refuses to accept playing the spoiler role for either of his DSR teammates.
"That's for sure," said the seven-time world champion. "We have an obligation to win races and world championships for the U.S. Army and our soldiers. So, that's what we will be striving for in the coming few weeks."
Interestingly enough, Schumacher is returning to the track where he last captured an event trophy.
"It was at the 2010 fall Las Vegas race when we last visited victory lane," he said. "Given how great a team we have, it's hard to believe it has been 21 straight races since our last win. Maybe, hitting The Strip will be the perfect 'get well' medicine for us."