News: Brown takes out Schumacher, loses in semifinals
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown beat his teammate, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, in the opening round of final eliminations here Sunday in the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After leveling the seven-time world champion, Brown then advanced to the semifinals before losing to Del Worsham.
"I felt bad I had to face Tony in the first round," said Brown. "But, we had to go out and take care of business since we're both in the hunt for the Full Throttle world championship. It was important for us to get the round win as it was just as important for Tony and his team. We were fortunate to advance."
Brown and Schumacher left the starting line around the same time and were glued together to about half track before the tires kicked loose on Schumacher's car. In his Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, Brown streaked by with a 3.836-second pass at 322.04 mph.
"I know Tony hasn't had the kind of season he's used to having, but you can count on the fact he will be back," said Brown. "I have the utmost respect for what he has accomplished. I hope I can come remotely close to what he's done during his career."
After disposing of Schumacher, the New Jersey native followed with a win over Bob Vandergriff, but then fouled out at the starting line against Worsham in the semis.
"I feel horrible," said Brown about his red light foul. "Given that we ended up smoking the tires, it didn't appear we were going to be able to run with Del, but you definitely don't want to give it away at the starting line."
Pending the result of the final round race between Spencer Massey and Worsham, Brown will leave Las Vegas either in second or third in the Top Fuel standings with the season finale forthcoming at Pomona, Calif. in two weeks.
"It's going to come down to the last race which is really not that all surprising since the Top Fuel class has been a dogfight all year long," said Brown. "We'll definitely rebound from this and be ready for Pomona."
Schumacher, who trailed Brown by 91 points at the outset of the weekend, was hoping to slide by his U.S. Army Racing/Don Schumacher Racing teammate and then go on to bank his first victory of the year. Additionally, he was looking to climb into serious contention for his eighth world title.
"Obviously, we took a major hit here today losing in the first round," said the Chicago-area resident. "We seemed to struggle this weekend for some reason. But, we can't dwell on this result. There's one race remaining in the season and we're going to try and take home that trophy."
Schumacher's U.S. Army team will stay over an extra day in Las Vegas to test in preparation for the 47th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway, Nov. 10-13.
"We're Army Strong and we're going to keep working hard until success comes our way," said Schumacher. "We're going to try and win the season finale to gain momentum for next year. Like Antron said, we'll be back."
On the U.S. Army NASCAR Racing side, driver Ryan Newman finished 10th in Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Newman will hold on to 12th in the Sprint Cup driver standings as the series moves to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend.