NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Schumacher exits in semifinals
Chicago, Sunday: Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher dropped a semifinal round encounter to Brandon Bernstein here Sunday in the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
Schumacher, who entered his hometown race as the Top Fuel point leader, beat T.J. Zizzo, then Scott Kalitta, before getting beat by Bernstein.
"It was a big race for us against Bernstein, but we came up empty-handed," said the Chicago native. "Unfortunately, the championship race just got real interesting."
Heading to the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan. next weekend, Schumacher will retain the number one spot in the standings, but by less than 50 points over Bernstein.
"The Sarge" to start seventh
Chicago, Saturday: Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will come out of the seventh starting position in Sunday's NHRA Route 66 Nationals here at Route 66 Raceway.
Like Friday, Schumacher lost one of his two qualifying sessions due to rain and, unfortunately, his only run was aborted because of tire shake.
"While we didn't get down the track, others did, so we dropped down," said the 1999 Top Fuel world champion. "It's really too bad we could not come back for a second try today. But, that's the way it goes. We'll just have to accept where we ended up and go from there."
Schumacher second in Top Fuel
Chicago, Friday: Piloting his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher swiped the second qualifying position after the first day of action here for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
With rain hitting Route 66 Raceway just prior to the evening qualifying session, Schumacher got but one run in for the day and he made it count.
The Chicago native laid down a 4.563-second pass at 326.71 mph to slide into the number two spot behind the provisional pole sitter, David Grubnic.
"It was a nice, problem-free run for us," said Schumacher. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the second run in. It got a lot cooler and I think many of the Top Fuel cars, including us, would have put on a good show. We'll just point towards tomorrow to get prepared for Sunday's eliminations." Schumacher came into the eighth race of the season leading the Top Fuel point standings.
Army racers ready to impress at team's home track
Chicago, pre-race: Having captured four of the first seven races on the NHRA drag racing tour, Chicago native Tony Schumacher returns home to Route 66 Raceway here this weekend focused on strengthening his lead in the Top Fuel point standings. Schumacher, who hails from Park Ridge, Ill, will be joined at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals by his U.S. Army Pro Stock Bike teammates, Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown. Savoie is coming off her first win of the 2004 season at Atlanta Dragway last weekend.
Schumacher, who is the defending NHRA Route 66 Nationals champion, will be trying to forget the first-round loss absorbed in Atlanta last weekend that cost him 20 points in the Top Fuel title chase.
"That's a race we'd like to erase from our memory banks," said the 1999 Top Fuel world champion. "As far as I'm concerned, we're starting fresh again in Joliet. We know we can run well there, that's for sure."
In last year's spring race at Joliet, Schumacher and new crew chief Alan Johnson qualified No. 1 and set his career best elapsed time on the way to the race win.
"You can't imagine how much that win meant to me," said Schumacher. "I had not done well at all to that point at my home track and to finally go out and win in front of so many friends and family was just tremendous. I can only hope that we can duplicate that performance this weekend."
After capturing the NHRA Route 66 Nationals last year, Savoie went winless until the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals last weekend in Atlanta.
"I'm still pumped about that win," said the three-time Pro Stock Bike world champion. "We'd like nothing better than to go to Joliet and back that performance up with another win. I'm confident we have turned the corner with our program."
Brown, who was beaten in the second round last weekend at Atlanta Dragway by Savoie, sees brighter days ahead.
"No doubt about that," he said. "We had a couple of problems down there in Georgia, but we'll have them rectified by the time we get to Joliet. I'd like to see Angelle and I get to the finals for a winner-take-all race."
In the 2002 spring Joliet race, Savoie beat Brown in the finals. "Don't think I don't remember that either," said Brown with a chuckle.
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