By Staff Sgt. Amanda Boersma, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) April 23, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 23, 2012) -- For most hot rod fans at the Four-Wide Nationals, it was the thunder of 30,000 horsepower engines in cars like Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown's U.S. Army Top Fuel dragsters that gained their respect in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday April 14, 2012.
But what Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jacobs felt was more than just adrenaline, it was the symmetrical feeling of values that Don Schumacher Racing, or DSR, team upholds.
"It is more than just seeing the dragster with the U.S. Army Reserve paint scheme," said Jacobs, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), or USACAPOC(A). "Tony and his crew use speed, power, teamwork and technology to achieve success, and that is what the Army uses to accomplish its mission."
For more than a decade, The U.S. Army has been an official military partner of the NHRA, one of America's top-tier racing organizations. DSR drivers, Schumacher, seven-time world champion, and Brown, both feature the Army colors on their dragsters. "The Sarge" featured a special U.S. Army Reserve paint scheme on his dragster for the NHRA Four-Wide nationals.
DSR recognizes a U.S. Army unit at each race and USACAPOC(A) was chosen for this NHRA event. Jacobs spoke before the race and served as the master of ceremonies for a an enlistment ceremony for new Soldiers on the quarter mile track.
Each time the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster races down the track, Schumacher's crew must completely disassemble and reassemble the entire engine and test it in less than 30 minutes.
"They can't be an idiot, they have to give 110 percent constantly because I am going to put my butt in that car and go 330 miles per hour in three seconds," said Schumacher.
He stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with quality people.
"People always tell me, 'I can drive that car,' then I ask them, 'would you jump in that car if five of your closest friends were the guys who tuned it?" He says that most of them immediately respond with, 'no.'
Schumacher knows the importance of having the highest quality crew team. It takes an entire team to have seven world titles, 67 career wins, 110 final round appearances and 67 career poles since joining the U.S. Army racing team in the fall of 2000. During those years, he also captured six consecutive NHRA Top Fuel titles.
"When units go to Afghanistan, they don't bring their "B" team, they bring the best; their best equipment, smartest and the most well trained Army and leadership," said Schumacher. " I don't want to show up to a race and be average, I want to win. I need the right people and the right team. That is why I drive for the Army."
Jacobs expressed the parallelism of the physical, emotional, and mental strength that both organizations exude.
"As Tony is about his people, the U.S. Army is about it's Soldiers," said Jacobs. "Our Soldiers make the Army-Army Strong, and the Army is the strength of the nation."
Overall, Schumacher finished in second place at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals with a time of 3.83 seconds at 320 miles per hour, Brown coming in third place with a time of 3.84 seconds at 322 miles per hour. The event is the fifth stop of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.