Army Dragster Beaten in Quarterfinals
October 29, 2007
By Chris Dirato
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Army News Service, Oct. 29 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, who handles the controls of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, lost in the quarterfinals of the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals Sunday.
Mr. Schumacher, who was the number -ne qualifier, dropped a second- round encounter to Morgan Lucas after the former smoked the tires just before half track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In Pro Stock Motorcycles, U.S. Army competitors Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown were leveled in the second round and first round, respectively.
After pocketing his 46th career pole Saturday, Mr. Schumacher returned to The Strip on Sunday with high hopes of duplicating his Vegas win from last October.
The Chicago native started the day by posting an impressive 4.510-second pass in an opening round victory over Doug Foley, but he couldn't back that effort up against Lucas.
"The track definitely got more challenging in that second round as the surface temperature got hotter," said Mr. Schumacher. "But, the conditions were the same for both teams. They took care of business and we didn't; it's that simple."
Given his early exit, Mr. Schumacher will head for the last race of 2007 next weekend holding fourth-place in the standings.
"We've got one more race and we're still alive to win another world
championship for our Soldiers," he said. "We're going to throw everything we have at them. Hopefully, we'll end up on top at the end of the day."
Angelle Sampey, who is trying to track down the late Dave Schultz for the Pro Stock Motorcycle career victory record, flattened ninth-place qualifier, Karen Stoffer, in the opening round of eliminations before committing a red-light foul in a second round loss to Chip Ellis.
"It's just another tough loss," said Ms. Sampey. "I knew I had to cut a real good light against Chip if I was to have a shot to move on. Of course, I was a little anxious and left too early."
The three-time world champion would now like to end the season on a good note as she continues to look for a ride for 2008.
"A win next weekend would definitely be nice for a lot of reasons," she said.
In pursuit of his first win of the year, Antron Brown was quicker than his first-round opponent, Peggy Llewellyn, off the starting line, but the latter ran him down by the finish line to advance.
"I'm pretty bummed right now," said the Indianapolis resident. "My team has been working real hard to make my Suzuki go faster, but I guess we just didn't have enough today."
Beginning tomorrow in Vegas, Mr. Brown will participate in a two-day Top Fuel dragster test which will mark his initial steps towards a Top Fuel license.
"Right now, I'm not thinking about that test," he added. "For the moment, I feel bad that we couldn't get to victory lane this weekend."
Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown will join Mr. Schumacher in Pomona, Calif. next weekend for the '07 season finale -- the Auto Club NHRA Finals.