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US Army Racing

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Almost a Fairy Tale Ending for U.S. Army Era

Schumacher Comes Up Just Short in Final-Round Showdown at Pomona;  Pritchett, Brown Help Bring 18 Full Seasons of Army Racing to a Close

Pomona, CA – It was almost a miracle finish for the U.S. Army’s 18 full seasons in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sunday when Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher came up just short in a final-round showdown with newly crowned Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence to close this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

The Army’s partnership with Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) started with a victory at the 2000 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and, on Veterans Day 2018, it came just half of a car length within closing on a winning note.

After racing past Scott Palmer, Bill Litton and Clay Millican in today’s opening three elimination rounds, Schumacher had a chance to not only finish the season and the Army era with an event title, but bring an end to Torrence’s unblemished record through this season’s six-event Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Torrence had swept the first five playoff events, clinching his first career world title at the penultimate event two weekends ago in Las Vegas, and had added another three round wins today to make it a record 23 consecutive round wins in playoff competition. The Texan kept his record perfect with a stellar .029-of-a-second reaction time off the starting line to Schumacher’s solid .053 of a second, and he beat the eight-time-champion Schumacher to the finish line despite The Sarge’s better run of 3.700 seconds at 331.61 mph to Torrence’s 3.702 seconds at 330.07 mph.

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U.S. Army NHRA Racing Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Final Qualifying Report 

Pomona, CA – The U.S. Army driver trio of Leah Pritchett, Antron Brown and Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher locked down the first, sixth and eighth positions on the elimination ladder, respectively, after the final two rounds of qualifying Saturday for this weekend’s season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) opened the day with a strong run in the heat of the day of 3.762 seconds at 329.02 mph that improved upon his best Friday effort and moved him up to 10th in the provisional order. He finished strong, however, with his best run of the weekend of 3.722 seconds at 329.75 mph. He’ll meet No. 9 qualifier Scott Palmer in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations.

“We’ll go fast tomorrow, but the bottom line as it is every weekend is that we’ll need to go rounds on Sunday,” said Schumacher, who’s won a record-tying six Pomona event titles and owns a record 10 No. 1 qualifying efforts. “We need to win more rounds than anybody else. We’re chasing second place and we just need to go out and be fastest in the qualifying sessions tomorrow and then win rounds on Sunday. This track generally gets better as we go through the weekend, so we’ll be good tomorrow.”

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U.S. Army NHRA Racing Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Friday Qualifying Report 

Pomona, CA – The U.S. Army driver trio of Leah Pritchett, Antron Brown and Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher are first, third and 11th on the provisional ladder, respectively, after the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday for this weekend’s season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) had a promising open to his day with the third-best qualifying run of the opening session. It weighed in at 3.792 seconds at 326.24 mph that was outdone only by his U.S. Army and DSR teammates. His second run in prime, nighttime conditions went up in smoke shortly after his launch from the starting line, leaving him to coast across the finish line in 6.748 seconds at 98.23 mph.

“We were definitely going for something in the 60s (3.60 seconds) and it was clearly out there, but that doesn’t mean it was out there in our lane that run,” said Schumacher, who’s won a record-tying six Pomona event titles and owns a record 10 No. 1 qualifying efforts. “It got pretty fast before 60-foot and then it went south. We’ll go fast tomorrow, but the bottom line as it is every weekend is that we’ll need to go rounds on Sunday. We need to win more rounds than anybody else. We’re chasing second place and we just need to go out and be fastest in the qualifying sessions tomorrow and then win rounds on Sunday. This track generally gets better as we go through the weekend, so we’ll be good tomorrow.”

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U.S. Army Top Fuel Trio Closes the Books on 2018 at Pomona NHRA Finals

POMONA, CA – The U.S. Army Top Fuel driver trio of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett bring down the curtain on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season at the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, which, fittingly, come to a close Sunday as the nation celebrates Veterans Day.

While the coveted Top Fuel world championship was clinched at the penultimate event two weekends ago at Las Vegas by the season’s winningest and most consistent performer Steve Torrence, the U.S. Army drivers hit Southern California with plenty to race for as they’ll jockey for final finishing positions in the Countdown to the Championship playoff standings.

Schumacher and the U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) are third in the standings, an insurmountable 264 points behind Torrence but just 33 points behind second-place Clay Millican, a deficit that is attainable especially with this weekend’s points-and-a-half payout – or 30 points per elimination round win Sunday – and extra bonus points awarded during four rounds of qualifying Friday and Saturday. Schumacher and his team have laid down some of the most memorable performances in NHRA history at the Pomona finale during their 18 full seasons representing the U.S. Army, including the clinching of two of The Sarge’s record eight Top Fuel world titles on the very last run of the season. They’ll look to work some Pomona magic once again this weekend and grab the No. 2 spot in the final standings under first-year crew chief Mike Neff, who scored his first career Top Fuel win as a crew chief in June at Bristol, Tennessee.

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Title Chase Comes Up Short for Army Trio in Vegas

Pritchett Falls to Newly Crowned Champ Torrence in Top Fuel Final

Las Vegas – The U.S. Army Top Fuel driver trio of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett gave it their all in their quests to remain mathematically alive in the chase for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world championship during the season’s penultimate event Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But there was absolutely no stopping the red-hot Steve Torrence, who clinched his first career championship by streaking to his 20th consecutive round win and fifth consecutive event title in this year’s six-event Countdown to the Championship playoffs by beating Pritchett in today’s Top Fuel final.

Schumacher and the U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) started the day with a pair of big round wins in their effort to remain mathematically alive in the Top Fuel championship chase. He opened with a run of 3.818 seconds at 315.86 mph that was good enough to eliminate Scott Palmer, who crossed the finish line in 3.850 seconds at 304.94 mph. That set up a second-round meeting with Clay Millican, who was the top qualifier this weekend for the 10th time this season and the driver Schumacher and the Army team look to overtake for second place in the championship before season’s end.

Schumacher put in a solid run of 3.754 seconds at 328.70 mph that was more than enough to beat Millican, who encountered engine issues at the start and could muster a run of just 4.025 seconds at 242.15 mph. Awaiting Schumacher in the Top Fuel semifinals was Pritchett, who laid down her best run of the weekend in 3.730 seconds at 328.46 mph while Schumacher violently smoked his tires in bizarre fashion just after launching from the start line and coasted across the finish line in 6.004 seconds at 93.72 mph.

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U.S. Army NHRA Racing Toyota NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Final Qualifying Report 

Las Vegas – The U.S. Army driver trio of Leah Pritchett, Antron Brown and Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher fourth, fifth and  ninth on the elimination ladder, respectively, after the final two rounds of qualifying Saturday for this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) could not improve on his best time from Friday qualifying and slipped from fifth to ninth in the final qualifying order. His racecar was down on power during his first run today, which stopped the clocks in 3.971 seconds at 311.27 mph. His second run started well but turned into a tire-smoking 4.269-second, 193.90-mph effort. He’ll face No. 8 qualifier Scott Palmer in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations.

“It was running well – it left good, it was up on power the second run today,” said Schumacher, who’s won a record eight Las Vegas event titles and has earned a record 10 No. 1 qualifying spots. “We were down on power the previous run, just had a blower that wasn’t making any power. This time we had power, had some giddyup, started to pull and then, down track, it started to pull the tires off of it. We can slow it down. It is what it is. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It doesn’t matter who we race. We seem to have a really good handle on Sunday-morning racing. We’ll get up and we’ll see if we can get that first-round win. We’ve got to get those points leaders. We’ve got to stop them.”

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U.S. Army NHRA Racing Toyota NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Friday Qualifying Report 

Las Vegas – The U.S. Army driver trio of Antron Brown, Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Leah Pritchett are fourth, fifth and sixth on the provisional ladder, respectively, after the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday for this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) had cylinder issues during both his runs today, but he still laid down an effort of 3.772 seconds at 330.15 mph on the second one. The first weighed in at 4.168 seconds at 206.86 mph that was ninth-best for the opening session.

“Today was so much like last race – the first run we had some issues, the second run we had to slow the car down,” said Schumacher, who’s won a record eight Las Vegas event titles and has earned a record 10 No. 1 qualifying spots. “It was on a good run, but it was just slow early. It put three cylinders out and it still ran 330 (mph). Tomorrow, we’ll have good conditions, so we expect to go out there and run faster. I honestly don’t think anybody was trying to run a 69 (3.69 seconds), including them (Clay Millican and his team). But it is what it is and we’ll see if we can go out and do that, if the conditions are willing.”

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