By U.S. Army RacingJune 6, 2007
JOLIET, Ill. (Army News Service, June 6, 2007) - With the Army's 232nd birthday arriving next week, U.S. Army NHRA pilots, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown, 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 Mr. 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" because he lives in the suburbs of Chicago.
In Pro Stock Motorcycles, Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown are returning to action after having a month off from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
In Topeka, Kan., last Sunday, Mr. Schumacher broke a four-race, first-round losing 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 Army's birthday falling on June 14, which is also Flag Day, Mr. 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 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."
Mr. Schumacher has two wins to his credit at Route 66 Raceway - in the spring race of 2003 and in the fall race of 2005.
Pro Stock Motorcycles
Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown last competed four weeks ago at St. Louis. Both are anxious to return to the Pro Stock Motorcycles point battle.
"This long break has been tough to deal with," said Ms. Sampey, a three-time
NHRA POWERade world champion. "But, it's finally over and we can get back to business. I'm looking forward to resuming the season."
"I can't wait to get to Route 66 Raceway," said Mr. Brown. "We worked extremely hard in the shop over the last month, so we're pumped up."
Ms. Sampey, who is third in the standings, will be looking to parlay a final-round appearance in St. Louis into a victory at Joliet.
"That's the plan," she said. "The Army team, overall, would like to get on a roll, so the race this weekend would be a good starting point."
Brown is tied for ninth place in points, but is just eight markers out of the all-important eighth spot, which is the cut off for the NHRA's new Countdown to the Championship.
"We've got seven Pro Stock Motorcycle races to make up that deficit before the championship field is sliced to eight riders, so we have plenty of time," he said.
"However, we want to go out and win as many races as possible and not leave anything for chance. Personally, I want to rise up to around where Angelle is in the top five and then we can both put the hammer down to try and win the world championship for the Army."
Both Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown are two-time event winners at Route 66 Raceway. Mr. Brown captured the 2000 and 2001 races, while Ms. Sampey did likewise in 2002 and 2003.