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Keeping Pace

Schumacher eyes improvement in Valley of the Sun

Tony Schumacher, who is the defending world champion, was on the losing end of a unique race with Larry Dixon last weekend in Pomona, Calif. after both drivers posted identical elapsed times and speeds.  It was Dixon’s slightly better reaction time at the starting line that proved to be the difference.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Phoenix, AZ-Coming off a tough semifinal round loss at Auto Club Raceway last Sunday, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher will be looking to take a couple more steps here this weekend in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Schumacher, who is the defending world champion, was on the losing end of a unique race with Larry Dixon in Pomona, Calif. after both drivers posted identical elapsed times and speeds.  It was Dixon’s slightly better reaction time at the starting line that proved to be the difference.

“It was definitely one unusual race,” said Schumacher. “There aren’t many times you’ll see that happen. I just think it’s an example of how good both teams are. For sure, we’re going to be battling all year long.”

Last year, Schumacher edged out Dixon by a scant two points to capture his sixth straight title and seventh crown overall.

“Larry’s team is just one of many that we’ll have to deal with this season,” added the Chicago-area resident. “There are plenty of talented drivers and teams in Top Fuel right now. We know there will be some bumps in the road that we’ll have to deal with throughout the year.”

This weekend in the desert, Schumacher is hoping the road will offer smooth sailing. He has three career wins to his credit at Firebird which leads the Top Fuel class.

“It’s been a good track for us,” he said. “But, that doesn’t mean much given the competition these days. We really have to come out of the box swinging at Firebird.

“As it is with our Army Strong Soldiers, it’s all about preparation and leadership. And, rest assured, we have a great leader in Mike Green (his crew chief). I’m positive he’ll have us ready to roll starting with the first qualifying session.”

A fixture on the NHRA tour since 1985, Firebird produced the first 330-mph quarter-mile run – by Schumacher in 1999, his first championship season.


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

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