POMONA, Calif. – Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, aboard his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, captured the Auto Club Finals Nov. 4, and secured an unprecedented fourth consecutive NHRA POWERade world championship.
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, Schumacher initially needed for point leader Rod Fuller to lose in the first round before he could set his sights on another crown. After Fuller was eliminated by Vandergriff, Schumacher then rolled through the likes of Alan Bradshaw, Morgan Lucas and Brandon Bernstein prior to his final round victory.
“This is just terrific,” 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.”
Schumacher, who arrived in Pomona sitting in fourth place, 67 points behind 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
Sampey and 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, 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.
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.
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. Brown finished 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.”
– Army News Service