Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Tony Schumacher
U.S. Army dragster

Schumacher again exits in first round

Las Vegas, Sunday: For the third consecutive race, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher absorbed a first round loss here Sunday in the Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After qualifying number one, Schumacher smoked the tires in an opening round confrontation with 16th-place qualifier, Alan Bradshaw, and his work day abruptly ended.

"I hit the throttle and put a cylinder out right away," explained Schumacher. "To add insult to injury, I then had severe tire shake and ultimately tire smoke. To Bradshaw's credit, he went right down the track. They got the job done today and we didn't. That's about all you can say."

While disappointment was written all over Schumacher's face, he knows there's still a long season ahead.

"Teams go through slumps - it's a fact," the defending NHRA POWERade Top Fuel world champion added. "This sport can be a roller coaster at times. You can be at the top for a long time and then suddenly do a free fall for no apparent reason.

"Listen, we have 18 races to go on the schedule, so to be honest I'm not worried at all. This U.S. Army team is still very much championship caliber. Just like our soldiers, we'll never give up. We'll get this thing sorted out and be a player real soon."

The U.S. Army team will have two weeks off before heading to Bristol, Tenn., April 28-30, for the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals.

"Frankly, it would have been nice to get back into it right away next weekend, but we'll use this little break in the action to do a lot of evaluation and find solutions," said Schumacher. "Again, life will improve considerably for this team sooner than later."

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