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Keeping Pace

Schumacher seeks momentum before playoffs begin

Of late, Tony Schumacher and his U.S. Army team have been unable to pocket a lot of rounds. In four out of the last five races, they’ve exited in the quarterfinals.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Reading, PA–With the NHRA’s Countdown to 1 looming on the horizon, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher knows it’s about time to really push the pedal to the floor.

Including this weekend’s Toyo Tires Nationals here at Maple Grove Raceway, only two races remain before the playoffs begin in Charlotte the middle of next month. At that point, the top 10 drivers in each of the four professional classes will be eligible to compete for the world championship.

“We have to start building up a head of steam over these next couple of races,” said Schumacher, a six-time world champion. “You really can’t go into the Countdown on a down note.”

Schumacher heads for round 17 of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series holding second-place in the standings. Presently, he’s in a heated battle with Larry Dixon to retain that position.

“We’re only eight points up on him, so it’s critical we go rounds in Reading and Indianapolis so we can stay right where we’re at,” offered the Chicago-area resident. “When the points are reset for the Countdown, we’d much rather be 30 points behind Antron (Brown) than 40 points behind.

“Like our Army Strong Soldiers, we’re going to stay focused on the job at hand. We want to put ourselves in the best possible position to challenge for our fifth consecutive title.”

Of late, Schumacher and his U.S. Army team have been unable to pocket a lot of rounds. In four out of the last five races, they’ve exited in the quarterfinals.

“The good news is we’re running well despite that statistic,” he added. “We’ve just been getting beat in some tight races. I truly believe we’re on the verge of making a lot of noise.”

If history is any indication, Schumacher may make plenty of noise this Sunday in the Keystone State. He’s a four-time winner at Maple Grove Raceway, which leads the Top Fuel class.

“For sure, that track has been pretty good to us,” he said. “Man, I’d really like to add win number five this weekend. You can’t imagine how much that would help our cause going forward.”


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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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