By U.S. Army RacingSeptember 24, 2007
ENNIS, Texas (Army News Service, Sept. 24, 2007) - For the 11th time this season, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, dropped a first-round race here Sunday in the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
Mr. Schumacher's Pro Stock Motorcycle teammates, Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown, went out in the second round and first round, respectively. Ms. Sampey's early exit eliminated her from the final leg of the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship.
With his loss to fourth-place qualifier Rod Fuller in the opening round, Mr. Schumacher gave up the point lead that he secured after winning in Indianapolis on Labor Day.
Despite falling from the top spot, Mr. Schumacher will remain among the top four in the standings, which is critical with one race to go before the cut off for the NHRA's Countdown to One.
Results of the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals, Oct. 5-7, at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, will determine the four-team field for the final phase of the playoffs.
"Obviously, we would have much rather left here still in first, but the ultimate goal is to get to Las Vegas next month still in the top four so we can go after our fourth straight world championship," said the Chicago native. "We're not down by any means. Like our Soldiers, we're determined to succeed."
In his match-up with Mr. Fuller, Mr. Schumacher's dragster made an odd move at the launch and all he could do was try to hook the tires up and hope Mr. Fuller's car had issues.
"The right rear tire lost traction on some fuel that was leaking because of a broken valve following my burn out," said Mr. Schumacher. "I was able to get it back in the racing groove, but he was way out on me and there wasn't much I could do at that point.
"We'll chalk this one up to experience and move on. We'll just have to go to Richmond and win down there to build momentum for the last two races."
Pro Stock Motorcycles
Coming into Sunday's action, Ms. Sampey knew she had to go three rounds further than Chip Ellis to grab fourth-place in the standings, which was the last qualified position for the Countdown to One.
After beating Craig Treble to start the day, the three-time world champion then failed to slide by defending world champion Andrew Hines in round two.
"I feel horrible right now," Ms. Sampey said. "It will be hard to accept the fact that we will not be in the title hunt the rest of the way. But, we'll certainly keep at it the next two races with the hope we can win both."
With her elimination from the Countdown to One, Ms. Sampey can't finish any higher than fifth in the standings. She hasn't finished outside the top three in points since 1997, her second season on tour.
"I'm sorry to hear that bit of trivia," she added. "Next year, we'll definitely have to rebound in grand style."
Mr. Brown, who had qualified ninth, gave eighth-place qualifier, Eddie Krawiec, all that he wanted in the opening round, but the former came up just short.
The New Jersey native got out on his opponent with a quick .013-second reaction time and actually led to about half-track, but Mr. Krawiec ran him down and got the win light.
"It was another tough one," a dejected Mr. Brown said afterwards. "My U.S. Army Suzuki is really competitive right now, but we're not going rounds. In the end, that's what you need to do."
With two Pro Stock Motorcycle races remaining, Mr. Brown still has a shot at ending a winless streak that dates back to August of 2006.
"We've got to end that streak for sure," he added. "Since 1999, I've never gone through a season without a win. I'd like to keep that record intact."
While Mr. Schumacher will head for Richmond in two weeks, Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown will wait until Oct. 25-28 to join Mr. Schumacher at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals.