Schumacher Rides Momentum To Arizona
CHANDLER, Ariz. — U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher had an incredible 2012 season that brought him to within seven points of earning another world championship trophy.
During the brand new 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the seven-time world champion is ready to go back to work with his U.S. Army team as they pursue another title.
Riding the momentum from a runner-up finish at the season-opening event at Pomona, Calif. last weekend and three career victories at Firebird International Raceway, Schumacher is anxious to return to the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 22-24.
“We ran 330 mph for the first time there (Phoenix), and we’ve won there a lot,” Schumacher said. “We perform good there for the U.S. Army. I really enjoy going there. For one reason, it’s early in the year and the weather is wonderful and better in February than where I live near Chicago, where it’s 10 degrees. The fans are phenomenal and the fans have always been really good to us in Phoenix.”
Last season Schumacher was runner-up at the event to his teammate, reigning world champion Antron Brown. Schumacher says the new season presents more opportunities to bring his A-game and take advantage of more big moments.
“I’m ready to do it all over again and win another championship,” Schumacher said. “We’ve had so many blessed moments. Those moments are a gift, and that’s what anyone dreams about who has ever been on the starting line. That is the lesson that we learned again last year and we’ll be able to build from and can expect to have much better days this coming season.”
From ending a winless drought at Bristol that dated back to the 2010 season, to a record-setting victory at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Schumacher’s scorecard filled up fast last season and he’s confident that his resilient U.S. Army team can once again push deep into the 2013 season.
“Our U.S. Army team exemplified the mental, emotional and physical strength like no other down the stretch, just like our U.S. Army Soldiers do every day of the year,” Schumacher said. “So, as we head into this season, what you do the year before, in every way, shape and form is going to guide you through what the next year holds.”
In order to earn another victory at FIR, Schumacher will need to be lean and mean to outrun a host of talented drivers, including defending world champ Brown, national speed record holder Spencer Massey, Al-Anabi Racing’s Shawn Langdon, the current points leader who won the season-opening Winternationals last weekend, former FIR winners Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein and Top Fuel rookie Brittany Force.