K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals
Schumacher fails to qualify for K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals
Englishtown, Saturday: Tony Schumacher failed to qualify here Saturday for tomorrow's K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals at Raceway Park.
The driver of the United States Army Top Fuel dragster posted two tire-smoking qualifying passes to end up out of the 16-car final eliminations field for the first time in 102 starts.
"Extremely disappointing is all I can say," said a visibly dejected Schumacher. "I would never have imagined that we could not get down the track and get in the show. For some reason, we just could not get a handle on the track. I feel horrible for the entire Army team. They deserve much better than this."
The last race Schumacher posted a DNQ was at Reading in 1998. Until Englishtown, he had the longest qualifying streak among active Top Fuel drivers.
"As hard as it may be, you have to take this experience and learn from it," added the former 1999 Top Fuel champion. "It happens to the best of teams. Look at what happened to Larry Dixon last year in St. Louis. He didn't qualify and went on to win the championship. Once the initial shock wears off, we'll pick up our bootstraps and move on. That's all you can do in reality."
Like the rest of the Top Fuel field, Schumacher had to make one of his two qualifying passes count on Saturday due to the loss of Friday's two sessions.
"That makes it especially difficult and pressure-packed," the Chicago native said. "But, everyone was in the same boat. We all started on a level playing field. We were one of the teams that didn't get the job done today."
The Army team will next head for Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. next weekend for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals.
"We'll be there and ready to go, no question," emphasized Schumacher.
Schumacher heads for Garden State with U.S. Army racing teammate on his mind
Englishtown, pre-race: There hasn't been a day that has gone by in the last week that Tony Schumacher hasn't thought of his injured United States Army Racing teammate, Jerry Nadeau.
Ever since Nadeau, who drives the No. 1 United States Army Pontiac in NASCAR, sustained injuries in a serious practice crash at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on May 2, Schumacher has kept an ear to the ground waiting on condition updates.
"I want to keep tabs on Jerry as much as I can," said the driver of the United States Army Top Fuel dragster as he prepared for this weekend's 34th annual K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys at Raceway Park. "We're all hopeful he will continue to make positive progress."
With Nadeau's condition recently upgraded to fair and stable, Schumacher has been able to concentrate more on the annual trip to the Northeast's premier drag racing facility.
"That's not to say we're out of sight, out of mind," said the former 1999 Top Fuel world champion. "To the contrary, Jerry remains in our thoughts and prayers. But, we do have business to attend to in Englishtown. I'm confident Jerry would expect us to stay focused."
Schumacher heads for the famed Englishtown strip coming off an improved performance at Atlanta Dragway two weeks ago. He was able to get beyond the first round of eliminations for the first time in five races.
"It was important that we snapped the streak of first round losses down there," he said. "It was getting a little frustrating for all of us. But, now, we need to go further. We need to start getting to finals and collecting wins. Englishtown would be a good place to begin that process."
In the last three visits to the former 308-acre farm, Schumacher has qualified no worse than fourth and registered two semifinal appearances.
"It has definitely been a good track for us over the years," he said
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