?THE SARGE? RIDING WAVE OF SUCCESS INTO CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NATIONALS

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To say the very least, Tony ?The Sarge? Schumacher has had an interesting last three weeks. The driver of the United States Army Top Fuel dragster has won two races,recorded the quickest pass in NHRA history and, by the way, survived a horrific crash. ?I guess I?m somewhat emotionally drained,? said Schumacher as he prepared for this weekend?s CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals here at Route 66 Raceway. ?Along the way, we managed to win two races and I crashed, big time. Hey ? we wanted excitement and we found it.? The Chicago native will be hoping for another successful, but incident-free weekend at his home track. The goal is to try to ride the wave of success a bit longer. ?That?s what we want to do,? added the 1999 Top Fuel world champion. ?The Army team is in a zone right now. We?d like to stay right there.? Dating back to the Brainerd, Minn. race in mid-August, Schumacher and his Army teammates have been to three straight finals. Of those, wins were pocketed at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the rain-delayed O?Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Memphis this past Monday. Sandwiched between was the blistering 4.465-second qualifying pass at Reading, Pa. ?Alan Johnson (his crew chief) has got the Army car humming,? offered Schumacher. ?It?s a great feeling to get up on race day and know you are going to get down the race track in fast form. It gives everyone on the team so much confidence. We want to maintain that level of performance this weekend.? Schumacher would like nothing better than a repeat of the performance turned in on June 1 at Route 66 Raceway when he won the Lucas Oil Nationals. ?That was the debut of Alan Johnson as my crew chief,? said Schumacher. ?I?d say that was a great way to start things off. Since then, we?ve been getting better and better. I?d like to think we?re not done improving.? Since claiming his first career victory at his home track, Schumacher has steadily risen in the Top Fuel point standings ? from 10th-place to fourth-place. He?s now within a point of third-place, Darrell Russell. ?There are five races left in the season,? said Schumacher. ?We want to win as many of them as we can. We?re looking to gather a real head of steam for next year.? ###
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