JOLIET, Ill., - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher dropped a semifinal round encounter to Brandon Bernstein here Sunday in the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. In Pro Stock Bikes, U.S. Army riders, Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown, both lost in the second round of eliminations. Top Fuel Schumacher, who entered his hometown race as the Top Fuel point leader, beat T.J. Zizzo, then Scott Kalitta, before getting beat by Bernstein. "It was a big race for us against Bernstein, but we came up empty-handed," said the Chicago native. "Unfortunately, the championship race just got real interesting." Heading to the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan. next weekend,Schumacher will retain the number one spot in the standings, but by less than 50 points over Bernstein. "I'm quite confident we'll come back strong," added Schumacher. "This Army team is way too talented to do otherwise." Pro Stock Bikes Savoie, the three-time Pro Stock Bike world champion, got by Chip Hunter in the first round of eliminations, before fouling out with a red light in a second-round match up with Craig Treble. "I'm disappointed," said Savoie. "I cut it way too close on the (Christmas)tree. We had a good bike today and to go out the way I did is not acceptable." Ironically, Brown also suffered a red light foul in a second round confrontation with Andrew Hines, after beating Steve Johnson in the opening round. "Given how Hines was running, I knew I had to cut a good light," offered Brown. "Quite obviously, I don't like to give away races like that. We'll take the next couple of weeks to regroup and get after it in Columbus." Brown and Savoie, who leave Chicago fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Pro Stock Bike standings, next head for the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 10-13, at National Trail Raceway outside of Columbus, Ohio.
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