By U.S. Army RacingNovember 6, 2007
POMONA, Calif. (Army News Service, Nov. 6, 2007) - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, aboard his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, captured the Auto Club Finals here Sunday and in the process secured an unprecedented fourth consecutive NHRA POWERade world championship.
Mr. Schumacher beat Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the finals with a 4.486-second pass at 328.30 mph to claim his sixth victory of the year and his fifth career world championship.
In Pro Stock Motorcycles, Army riders Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown closed out the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season with semifinal round losses.
Coming into the season finale, Mr. Schumacher initially needed for point leader Rod
Fuller to lose in the first round before he could set his sights on another crown. After Mr. Fuller was eliminated by Mr. Vandergriff, Mr. Schumacher then rolled through the likes of Alan Bradshaw, Morgan Lucas and Brandon Bernstein prior to his final round victory.
"This is just terrific," Mr. Schumacher said ecstatically afterwords. "We arrived at crunch time this weekend and, as usual, my U.S. Army team stepped up to the plate. I feel blessed to be able to work alongside these guys."
Mr. Schumacher, who arrived in Pomona sitting in fourth-place, 67 points behind Mr. Fuller, was particularly pleased he could share another title with the men and women
of the U.S. Army.
"No doubt about that," he added. "We race for them. Without their dedication and
hard work, we're not enjoying the kind of day that we enjoyed today. Hopefully, this
fourth championship made them smile yet again."
Pro Stock Motorcycles
Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown, who are parting ways with the Army, their long-time sponsor, seemed like they were on their way to a final round match-up before getting taken out by a mechanical issue and a red light foul, respectively.
After beating Geno Scali and Karen Stoffer in the opening two rounds, Ms. Sampey couldn't get out of the water box to make a burn out before her confrontation with Chip Ellis and thus was eliminated in the semis.
"They're still trying to figure out what happened, but it appears like an electrical popped up," said the three-time world champion. "I'm very disappointed. I really wanted to end this season with a win. This team deserved to have success today. I truly wish the final result was different."
Ms. Sampey did manage to finish the year holding fifth in the standings, which was the highest position she could grab after not qualifying for the Countdown to One playoffs.
"That was our goal coming into this weekend," she said. "Obviously, I would have preferred to have been contending for the title, but we had to take what we could get."
Mr. Brown, who is headed for the Top Fuel ranks in 2008, slipped by Craig Treble and defending world champion Andrew Hines, before committing a red light foul in a semifinal round loss to Matt Smith.
"Well, that's certainly not the way I wanted to leave the Pro Stock Motorcycles class," he said. "I just pushed the tree against Matt and I got bit. This is the second winless season of my career, and I can tell you that it hurts big-time."
Mr. Brown did finish 10 in the final points. "At least, I kept my streak alive of never finishing out of the top 10," he added. "That definitely brightened up the day."