SCHUMACHER SEEKS PERFECT BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR U.S. ARMY

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With the U.S. Army's 232nd birthday arriving next week, U.S. Army NHRA pilot Tony Schumacher would like nothing better than to provide a nicely wrapped victory present here this weekend in the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

For Schumacher, who advanced to the Top Fuel semifinals last weekend at the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, this weekend's race amounts to a "home game" since he lives in the suburbs of Chicago.

In Topeka, Kan., last Sunday, Schumacher broke a four-race, first round loss streak with his semifinal round advancement. In the process, he moved up two spots in the standings to fourth-place.

"That was a solid weekend for us given the record we had beforehand," said the defending NHRA POWERade Top Fuel world champion. "Now, we have to get back to victory lane. It's been a while, that's for sure."

With the U.S. Army's birthday falling on June 14 - Flag Day - Schumacher knows a win at Route 66 Raceway on Sunday would mean plenty to the Soldiers stationed around the world.

"It would be huge," he added. "The U.S. Army's birthday is definitely a good time for all of us to reflect on the sacrifices our Soldiers have made, both past and present, in defending America's freedom."

Schumacher has two wins to his credit at Route 66 Raceway - in the spring race of 2003 and in the fall race of 2005.

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