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The Sarge Looks To Erase Two Skid Marks

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 13 2011

Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher has his eye on getting his first victory of the season in Atlanta. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Commerce, Ga. – Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher has won just about everything there is to win in his drag racing career. He has 67 race wins and seven championships and has won at about every track he’s ever competed on – except one.

He’s still winless at Atlanta Dragway.

“I’ve been to the finals a few times and had some great races where I lost by two thousandths,” he said. “I think the better part of the conversation is I’ve won everywhere else. This just happens to be the place we haven’t won at.

“We’ve run good here, gained a lot of points, had a lot of great moments, just haven’t brought the Wally home. But my career is not over. Someday we’ll have won at them all. There are people looking for their first Wally, or their second or their third. We have 67. We definitely know how to go out and race.”

Schumacher also is looking for his first win of the season, a year that so far has been dominated by Del Worsham, who has won three races already.

“Worsham’s having a great year,” Schumacher said. “Antron (Brown) has won. It’s been a pretty cool year.

“In my opinion, we have the fastest car, but we’ve been caught by a couple of small things. And that’s OK. It’s a cyclical season. We just started out by losing a couple of them. We’re in a so-called drought. Six races and we haven’t won. I wouldn’t trade my chances and my car for anyone in the world.”

There’s a chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday in Commerce, and Funny Car driver Jack Beckman said that can affect strategies beginning on Friday.

“You definitely have to use past data to make a great decision in the present, and you’ve

Funny Car driver Jack Beckman

got to be looking at the future to figure it out,” said Beckman, who comes to Atlanta third in points with one win already. “On a normal race weekend, you get four qualifying runs but with rain you might get one or two.

“Now what it means is we’re not going to be as aggressive on the first run down the race track because we have to get a time slip in the quick 16 on our first run. The potential downside to that is that if you’re too conservative you shake the tires. They don’t smoke them, they basketball off the race track. As a driver that’s what hurts the most inside the race car.

“It just underscores how tough a job these crew chiefs have. They are managing everything they can, and have to take into account the weather, which they have no control over.”

Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson and his crew will be sporting the white and red colors of the American Red Cross as part of their effort to help raise funds for the American Red Cross and its relief effort for tornado victims in the Southeast.

Johnson, who now lives in Irondale, Ala., and is in 10th place in points, said he’s proud to lend his race team’s support to storm victims.

“This is not only important to every member of our team, it’s important for the people of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the rest of the Deep South,” Johnson said. “Our neighbors really need our help right now, and we know our friends and fans in NHRA Drag Racing are incredibly generous.

“We’re doing everything in red and white this weekend so everyone will remember what our neighbors have gone through, and will dig deep to help them.”

Johnson hopes to raise $10,000 in donations at the track.

Those who aren’t able to attend the Southern Nationals can participate by calling the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS, or online at http://eastgeorgia.redcross.org/. A $10 donation may also be made by texting the phrase “REDCROSS” to 90999.

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 13 2011
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