CONCORD, N.C. (Army News Service, Sept. 16, 2008) - U.S. Army Top Fuel pilot, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, became the winningest Top Fuel driver in National Hot Rod Association history on Sunday after capturing the inaugural Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway.
Following a final-round victory over his former Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, who moved from Pro Stock Motorcycles to Top Fuel a year ago, Schumacher moved around Joe Amato on the Top Fuel victory list with his 53rd career win.
"I have no words to describe how I'm feeling right now," said an elated Schumacher after posting a 3.882-second pass at 317.64 mph. "This has been just an incredible ride so far and I'm thankful every day for what the man upstairs has provided me."
Schumacher's win in the heart of NASCAR country was his seventh straight and the 12th of the season.
"This is the greatest team that has ever been assembled as far as I'm concerned," said Schumacher. "How can you argue with the results that we've put up the last five seasons' I'm happy that we've been able to give our hard-working Soldiers something to be proud of."
Almost lost during the record-setting day for Schumacher was the widening of his Top Fuel points lead. He entered the 19th round of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series 30 points up on Brown, but departed with a 46-point advantage.
"That is a forgotten item," he said. "Of course, we're in this thing to win another world championship. We clearly helped our cause a little bit here today."
Schumacher, who is attempting to win his fifth consecutive title and his sixth career crown, will now turn his attention to the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas next weekend.
"We need to go down there and concentrate on qualifying well," he said. "You can't get too far ahead of yourself in this sport."
The Texas event is the second of six races that make up the "Countdown to One" phase of the Countdown to the Championship.