U.S. Army Top Fuel drivers Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown banked top-five starting positions following the final day of qualifying for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Sporting a special U.S. Army Reserve paint scheme on his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, Schumacher locked up the fifth spot for the first round of final eliminations, while Brown, behind the wheel of his Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, will come out of the third spot for round one.
“It’s time to concentrate on getting our Army Strong Reservists to victory lane,” Schumacher said. “Since the Army Reserve is the premier force provider of America’s Citizen-Soldiers, they truly deserve to join us in hoisting a trophy tomorrow.”
If Schumacher claims his first win since the fall 2010 Las Vegas race, he will also hit the 600 career round win mark. Only four other drivers have risen to that level.
“Getting the win is the most important mission that we have on Sunday,” Schumacher said. “I’ve always stated that records and statistics have a way of taking care of themselves. To be honest, we just want to put an end to all of that winless talk.”
A New Jersey native, Brown not only wants to join Schumacher in the race victory discussion, but he also wants to strengthen the points lead he held coming into the fifth round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
“We’re on top right now and that’s exactly where we want to remain,” Brown said. “It’s all about keeping your eye on the ball and not getting ahead of yourself. With this four-wide racing, a driver can lose his or her focus very easily.”
Having now experienced four-wide racing for the third time at zMAX Dragway, Schumacher and Brown both feel they are nearing a comfort zone of sorts.
“I think I’m getting close for sure,” Schumacher said. “What makes it a little tough is that we only do this once a year. You just have to keep to the routine that you normally have when we are racing two-wide and not do anything different. The drivers who don’t do that are typically the ones who have issues at the starting line.”
“I totally agree with Tony – you have to stick to the plan and not change a thing. To use a horse racing term, you have to put blinders on and not pay attention to the other three drivers next to you. I think you almost have to act like you are making a solo run.”
The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will kick off at 12 noon EDT with ESPN2 providing three hours of tape-delayed coverage beginning at 7 p.m. EDT.
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