By U.S. Army RacingJuly 23, 2007
KENT, Wash. (Army News Service, July 23, 2007) - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher won his third race of the 2007 NHRA POWERade season yesterday by defeating Brandon Bernstein on a hole shot in the finals of the 20th Annual Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals here at Pacific Raceways.
Mr. Schumacher's 0.47-second reaction time enabled his 4.607 elapsed time at 307.79 miles per hour to best Mr. Bernstein's 0.10-second r.t. and 4.558-second, 328.86 mph run, thus closing out an eliminations session marked by several distracting rain delays.
"When we got to the track today we were told there was a 100 percent chance of rain; we did not know if we would even be racing," said the driver of the U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel dragster. "As the day went along, it was in the car, out of the car. It's tough to keep focused under these conditions, but like the men and women serving in the Army, this is the job we trained for, so we get it done!"
The entire weekend was affected by rain. Friday's two qualifying sessions were canceled and Mr. Schumacher entered today in the fifth starting position based on a single run, 4.633 seconds at 306.12 mph, during Saturday's weather-shortened program.
"One run does not provide a lot of information for a crew chief to work with," said the reigning NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion. "But Alan Johnson, and the team he leads, is the best there is at understanding a track and rising to the occasion when the odds are against them."
The fifth-place starting point earned him a run against Alan Bradshaw, who Mr. Schumacher dispatched with a 4.535 e.t. at 328.22 mph versus 4.623 seconds at 320.28 in the first round. A 4.518 e.t. at a track-record 333.25 mph provided the margin over Whit Bazemore's 4.550-second, 326.08 mph run in the second round.
The semifinals were a rematch of last year's semifinals with the same results: Mr. Schumacher posted a victory with a 4.523-second, 324.75 mph run against J.R. Todd's 4.547-second, 322.65 mph one.
The win here propelled the Chicago native into fourth place in the championship standings with 881 points - the same position and point total with which he last year left the Pacific Northwest - 167 behind the leader. This further solidifies Mr. Schumacher's position in the Chase for the Championship, which allows the top eight in points (after the Reading, Pa., race, August 16-19) to compete for the world title.
For Mr. Schumacher, this is a quest for his fourth consecutive and fifth over all championship, which continues Thursday with the 19th Annual FRAM-AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS in Sonoma, Calif.