ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
Team Army has goals left to reach
Las Vegas, prerace: After capturing the 2004 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel world championship two weeks ago, Tony Schumacher will have a couple of new goals in mind when he takes to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway here this weekend for the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals.
With a victory in Las Vegas, the driver of the United States Army Top Fuel dragster can set a new standard for most wins in a single season in Top Fuel. Additionally, he will be attempting to win his first Budweiser Shootout, which is a special all-star race that showcases eight of the best-performing Top Fuel teams in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
While Schumacher attends to his business, U.S. Army Pro Stock Bike drivers, Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown, have their own agenda established as the 2004 season winds down.
In winning the Lucas Oil Nationals two weeks ago, Schumacher pocketed his second Top Fuel world title in five years. He also recorded his ninth win of the year, which tied him with Gary Scelzi (2000) and Larry Dixon (2002) for most wins in a single season in Top Fuel.
"This has been an incredible year, no doubt about it," said the Chicago native. "Now that we have clinched the championship, we can set our sights on setting the new record. We've got two races to get it, so it's quite feasible. I'm confident this U.S. Army team is going to take its best shot."
On Saturday, Schumacher will also be trying to win the lucrative Budweiser Shootout which offers a first-place prize of $100,000. Last year, he lost in the finals to Doug Kalitta in one of the quickest side-by-side races in Top Fuel history.
"That was a whale of a race," he said. "If we both get to the finals again this year, I guess I owe him one."
Of late, Savoie and Brown have been racking up victories and number one qualifying positions like they're going out of style.
Since the race at Sonoma, Calif. the beginning of August, the duo has posted a total of four wins and three number one qualifying efforts.
On two occasions, Savoie and Brown faced each other in the finals, the most recent meeting coming at Reading two weeks ago when Savoie edged Brown with a 7.018-second pass to his 7.047-second run.
"I couldn't believe that race," said Savoie, who sits in third-place in the Pro Stock Bike standings. "That just goes to show you how good this U.S. Army team is performing. Antron and I went out and ran the quickest side-by-side race in Pro Stock Bike history."
"We're really rolling along right now," said Brown, who has a grip on the second-place spot in the standings. "This U.S. Army team is flat out getting it done every weekend. We're going to try and win these next two races so we can serve notice that we're going to be in the hunt for the championship next year."
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