By U.S. Army RacingSeptember 17, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Army News Service, Sept. 17, 2007) - Army NHRA drivers, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown, all lost in the first round here yesterday in the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.
It marked the second time this season that the entire U.S. Army team punched their departure ticket early. For Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Brown, parts breakage was the culprit, while for Ms. Sampey a late reaction time did her in.
Mr. Schumacher, who qualified number one for the ninth time this year, had a barrel valve break off early in his race against 16th-place qualifier, Doug Foley, and that immediately ended his afternoon.
"The barrel valve opens when I hit the throttle and it produces the fuel flow," explained Mr. Schumacher. "When it broke, that obviously shut off the fuel and then the burst panels blew out. All I could I do at that point was cruise on through to the finish line."
While disappointed with his Memphis result, the Chicago native could take solace in the fact that he will keep the point lead seized at Indianapolis two weeks ago. "Of course, that's critical with only two races to go before the next cut off for the Countdown to One," he added. "We need to go to Dallas next weekend looking to return to our winning ways."
Pro Stock Motorcycles
Like Mr. Schumacher, Mr. Brown's opening round race was over shortly after he took off from the starting line.
At just past the 60-foot mark, the chain on Mr. Brown's Suzuki popped off and all he could do was watch his opponent, Eddie Krawiec, collect the win light.
"It's frustrating," said Mr. Brown. "I thought we would have a good showing today. I really was prepared to go some rounds. But, I know things can happen in racing that you can't control, and you just have to forget about it and move on."
Ms. Sampey, who came out of the fifth starting spot, laid down a good pass in her confrontation with Hector Arana (6.970-seconds at 191.76 mph), but her .091-second reaction time at the start was significantly slower than Mr. Arana's .047-seconds.
"There's not much I can say at this point," said the three-time world champion. "As always, the numbers certainly tell the whole story. I want to thank my U.S. Army team for giving me a very competitive motorcycle this weekend. I just didn't do my job very well today."
The Louisiana resident came into the Memphis race hoping to move back into the top four in points in order to qualify for the next phase of the NHRA's playoffs.
"Well, we clearly didn't accomplish that goal," Ms. Sampey said. "Unlike Tony who has two more races before the Countdown to One, we only have one more race in Dallas next weekend. So, we have to go down there with the idea that failure will not be an option."
Mr. Schumacher, Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown will reunite at the Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas, Sept. 20-23, for the O'Reilly Fall Nationals.