BRISTOL, Tenn. (Army News Service, July 9, 2007) - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher held onto fifth place in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel drivers' standings, all important for qualification in the Chase for the Championship, despite losing in the first round of yesterday's NHRA O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals here at Bristol Dragway.

The Chase for the Championship - which for Mr. Schumacher is a quest for his fourth consecutive and fifth over all NHRA POWERade Top Fuel crown - will encompass the top eight drivers at the conclusion of the season's 17th race in a six-race playoff.

"Yes, we are happy to be in the top eight," said the driver of the U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel dragster. "But, like the U.S. Soldier, we don't want to simply settle for anything, we want to better and will be better. We want to be running consistently, in a better position when the 'playoffs' begin."

The 37-year-old Chicago native started the day from his sixth pole position of 2007 and continued the string of Top Fuel top qualifiers not winning an event this season.

"There is no pole-position jinx," commented the reigning POWERade Top Fuel Champion. "I hope I qualify number one the rest of the year, which will mean (crew chief) Alan Johnson and this U.S. Army Team is continuing to prepare a great car. Someone will win from the pole and, with Alan's leadership, it could well be us."

Mr. Schumacher lost traction at the start of his first round today, completing the quarter mile in 6.63 seconds at 152.2 miles per hour.

The quest for consistency - Schumacher had notched his second win of the season last week in Norwalk, Ohio - and championship points continues July 13-15 at the MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver.