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Keeping Pace

NHRA Top Fuel points leader looks to stay on course

After winning his fifth race of the season in Dallas last Sunday, Tony Schumacher heads for the O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals here this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park holding the coveted Top Fuel points lead.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Memphis, Tenn.-Army Top Fuel driver Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher suddenly feels like a surfer who has found the perfect wave to ride.

After winning his fifth race of the season in Dallas last Sunday, Schumacher heads for the O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals here this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park holding the coveted Top Fuel points lead.

“I guess after Dallas you can say we’re up on that perfect wave right now,” said the Chicago-area resident. “But, we can’t rest on our laurels. We don’t want it all to come crashing down on us.”

If Schumacher’s performance at the Texas Motorplex was an indication of what’s to come that success ride may last a while. While en route to his 61st career victory, he managed to knock off two of his main title competitors, Antron Brown and Larry Dixon, during final eliminations.

“Given who was in the other lane each time, those were huge round wins,” added the six-time world champion. “We were able to separate ourselves from those guys a little bit, which was nice. We’ll have to keep that kind of attack up if we’re going to go on and win another championship.”

Schumacher’s lead over Dixon is 27 points, which represents more than a round of racing. With four races remaining in the season and the NHRA’s Countdown to 1, he knows he has to keep moving forward.

“That’s the way our Army Strong Soldiers do it,” said Schumacher. “We can’t afford to take any steps back at this juncture, no matter how small they may be. Frankly, we’d like to go out and win the rest of the races. That way, there won’t be any doubt as to who the top team is.”

Over the next two weekends, the NHRA tour will visit Memphis Motorsports Park and Virginia Motorsports Park outside of Richmond. Schumacher is the defending event champion at both venues.

“Obviously, we know we can win at both places so that’s important,” he offered. “With that said, we’re only concentrating on the Memphis race. That’s the task at hand.


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

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