News: Schumacher, Brown seek perfect birthday gift for US Army
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
BRISTOL, Tenn. - With birthday and Father’s Day celebrations grabbing the spotlight, U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel drivers Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown will hit Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway Friday through Sunday for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Schumacher and Brown will each attempt to deliver their sponsor, the U.S. Army, a victory to help celebrate its 237th birthday. Both drivers will participate in a special cake-cutting ceremony Saturday at the starting line just prior to Top Fuel qualifying.
It was 237 years ago when our Nation’s leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending the country and her citizens. Today, we celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our soldiers in this noble calling.
A seven-time world champion, Schumacher would also like to present his dad and team owner, Don Schumacher, the ultimate Father’s Day gift in the form of an event trophy. It would be Tony Schumacher’s first win since the fall 2010 Las Vegas race.
Schumacher and Brown, second and third in the points, respectively, are coming off early-round losses at Old Bridge (N.J.) Township Raceway Park two weekends ago.
A Chicago-area resident, Schumacher has four wins and three poles to his credit at Bristol Dragway. Three of those wins came in succession from 2008 to 2010.
Since 2008, when he moved into Top Fuel from Pro Stock Motorcycles, Brown has banked one final-round appearance in Thunder Valley - last season, when he was upended by Larry Dixon. He was also the number-one qualifier in 2010.
TONY “THE SARGE” SCHUMACHER, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster:
What would it mean to end your 32-race winless streak this weekend, given it’s the U.S. Army’s birthday celebration and Father’s Day?
“Of course, it would be huge. It would be great if we can present the Army and my dad nicely wrapped gifts on Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, we are way overdue to get to the winner’s circle. People have been asking me if I have forgotten how to get there. In my mind, you never forget that path after you make the initial trip. And, don’t forget, we’ve been there 67 times. I’m confident it will all come back to us pretty quickly.”
Despite going out in the quarterfinals two weekends ago, you had to be encouraged by how the car performed, right?
“Even though we haven’t won, as yet, there’s no question we have one of the baddest hot rods out there right now. This new DSR [Don Schumacher Racing] chassis seems to be doing exactly what we want it to do. I look forward to taking it to Bristol to see what we can do there.”
Speaking of Bristol, you have had your share of success there over the years. As a result, it has to be one of your favorite tracks.
“It’s just one of those tracks I enjoy racing at. It’s a beautiful facility with a great racing surface. If the weather gods cooperate, you can usually put up some good numbers. We have been fortunate to win as many races as we have there. I certainly hope our history helps us get to victory lane this year. We need to get that first win of the season out of the way and get rid of that losing streak.”
ANTRON BROWN, driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster:
How would you feel if you could secure a trophy this weekend for the U.S. Army?
“It would be awesome. I want to win every race for our Army Strong Soldiers, but this one would clearly be special given the birthday celebration. Those brave men and women do so much for us every day. They allow us to enjoy our freedom and to do whatever we want to do.”
We’re now more than halfway to the six-race countdown to the Championship. How would you grade your team at this point?
“We’re doing just fine. I have all the confidence in the world we will continue to improve with each passing race. We had a little bit of a hiccup in New Jersey, but there’s a new race weekend in front of us. Obviously, you always want to be leading the points, but we’re in third at the moment and that’s not bad at all. We’re right there in the thick of the battle, which is where you want to be.”
Like Tony, you also seem to enjoy the annual trip to Bristol Dragway, correct?
“I love going down there. What separates it from a lot of the places we go to is that there are so many passionate racing fans who attend the race. And, the place is just incredible. It’s an adrenaline rush to hear the sound of an 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel engine bouncing off the mountains that surround the track.”