The U.S. Army Top Fuel tandem of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown were the class of the field all weekend in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was only appropriate the duo that reflects the strengths of the more than 1 million U.S. Army Soldiers they represent by possessing mental, emotional and physical strength like no other met in the final.
Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), raced to his 71st career Top Fuel event title by defeating Brown in the final with a run of 3.851 seconds at 323.27 mph.
“Winning always makes me happy,” said Schumacher following his second win of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series campaign and seventh career victory at The Strip. “I don’t know that we had the best car here this weekend, but we had a good car. I didn’t drive amazing today. Every now and then the driver does something great to win the race, but the majority of the time it is the hard work and dedication of the crew. Today is my crew chief Mike Green’s birthday, and it was really gratifying to get this win for him. He leads our nine-man U.S. Army team and those guys work incredibly hard to put us in position to win. We were able to run a 3.85 three times today. You know there are faster cars than that, but sometimes you have to be consistent and just get down the racetrack. After the first round, I felt like the 3.85 we ran would help us win this race. We might have missed it just a little bit in that run, but knowing that gave us an idea of exactly what we could do later in the day.”
Schumacher, the seven-time Top Fuel champion, began his day by defeating Terry Buff and Brittany Force before taking out his DSR teammates Spencer Massey and Brown.
“We know when we race DSR cars that they are the hardest ones to beat,” said Schumacher, following his 122nd career final-round appearance. “They are great cars. Those teams make us do a better job. It’s a little more gratifying when we beat them, because we are constantly compared to one another. The other cool thing about today was that I got to race against three canopy cars (Force, Massey and Brown). That’s phenomenal. I have to thank my dad (Don Schumacher), Mike Green and all of the other people that worked so hard to build us a safer car. As the driver, I really appreciate knowing that we can go as fast as we do and be as safe as possible.”
Brown charged to his fourth career Top Fuel final at The Strip behind the wheel of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Dragster with wins over Brandon Bernstein, Morgan Lucas and Terry McMillen. In the final, he left with a .046 reaction time, but dropped a cylinder as soon as the car launched. He made it down the track in 3.956 seconds at 299.60 mph.
“Hats off to Tony and the whole U.S. Army team,” said Brown. “They did a great job. Running three 3.85s today got them the win and they deserve it. Our Matco Tools/U.S. Army car was tuned to go somewhere between 3.83 and 3.85. We knew that’s what it was going to take to win that round. Unfortunately, it dropped a hole at the hit of the throttle. That’s how it goes. The season is off to a good start. It’s all about going rounds. When you get in that final round and you get to go up against Tony, that’s all you can ask for. The DSR cars got the cake today, because we both made it to the final. He got the icing though. We love the icing, and he got it from us this time. Next time, we are going to make sure that we’re the ones with the icing and the cherry.”
The victory also moved Schumacher back to the top spot in the Top Fuel point standings. He leads Brown by 14 points (386-372).
With four events complete on the 24-event NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar for 2013, the top-10 drivers in the Top Fuel standings are:
1. Tony Schumacher (386 points)
2. Antron Brown (372 points, -14)
3. Spencer Massey (250 points, -136)
4. Shawn Langdon (244 points, - 142)
5. Clay Millican (225 points, -161)
6. Doug Kalitta (221 points, -165)
7. Khalid alBalooshi (217 points, -169)
8. Morgan Lucas (214 points, -172)
9. David Grubnic (185 points, -201)
10. Brandon Bernstein (177 points, -209)
The next event is the 4th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals April 19-21 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.
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