By U.S. Army Racing TeamMay 2, 2007
MADISON, Ill. (Army News Service, May 2, 2007) - After recording early departures at Atlanta Dragway last Sunday, U.S. Army NHRA drivers Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown will be looking to change their fortunes here this weekend in the O'Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Mr. Schumacher, who has compiled four first round losses in the opening six events, heads for the St. Louis-area facility fourth in the Top Fuel standings, while Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown are third and ninth, respectively, in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points.
After winning his third straight NHRA POWERade world championship in 2006,
it's been a less than great start to the 2007 season for Mr. Schumacher and his Army team.
"We've had our moments for sure," said Mr. Schumacher. "But, we're not quitting by any means. This team is full of determination and focus - just like our
Mr. Schumacher can take solace in the fact that he "broke the ice" last year at
Gateway International Raceway with his first career victory.
"That was big," he added. "We had not done very well at Gateway until last
season. It's nice to know we're going to a track where we've won before, unlike
Atlanta Dragway which continues to haunt me for some reason."
Weather conditions at Gateway will likely be far different than previous years
when the NHRA tour would make its annual visit to St. Louis in late June.
"Considering I won last year when it was hot and the track was tricky, maybe, we
shouldn't have changed the date of the race," he said. "Seriously, I'm sure
we'll have some real good racing this weekend."
Pro Stock Motorcycles
While Ms. Sampey has had somewhat of a peaks and valleys season to date, Mr. Brown's season has been full of valleys.
After challenging for the world title last year until the final race, Mr. Brown is
presently fighting to bust into the top eight in the standings. He has failed to advance past the second round of eliminations in three Pro Stock Motorcycle events.
"And, we need to be in the top eight by the time we get to Reading (Pa.) in
August since that's the cut off for the new countdown to the championship," said
Mr. Brown. "I'm confident we'll get going. This Army team is way too talented."
Following a red light foul in the first round last weekend, Ms. Sampey would like
nothing better than to run the table at Gateway and reclaim the top spot in the standings.
"That's the plan," said the three-time world champion. "I know I have a stout Army Suzuki. I just have to make absolutely sure I do my job."
Ms. Sampey is a three-time event champ at Gateway - 1999, 2002 and 2005 - which lends further optimism.
"I enjoy racing at Gateway," she added. "As Tony said earlier, the weather should
be a bit different than what we've typically faced in June. I can't wait to get out there."