Commentary

World championship -- not records -- the ultimate goal for U.S. Army team

The records are nice, Tony Schumacher writes in his diary, but an NHRA POWERade championship would be even better.

Updated: September 18, 2008, 4:40 PM ET
By Tony Schumacher | Special to ESPN.com

The records have been falling like hotcakes in recent weeks for the U.S. Army Top Fuel drag racing team, but rest assured that we have not lost sight of what we really want at the end of the 2008 season in mid-November: another NHRA POWERade world championship.

Even though it's nice we've set some records the past couple of weeks, what we're really focused on is a fifth straight POWERade trophy. We're determined to provide a preholiday gift to our Army Strong soldiers.

Heading for the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex outside Dallas this weekend, we're still holding the Top Fuel points lead. We've been at the top of the standings since the season opener in February.

After posting our seventh consecutive victory last weekend in the Carolinas Nationals, we've managed to widen our Countdown to 1 advantage over second-place Antron Brown to 46 points.

Obviously, we had a great weekend down in North Carolina. The U.S. Army team, yet again, performed in a machinelike way. To be able to move additional points ahead of your closest pursuer is always a positive thing.

While success has followed us for the better part of three months, we will not be resting on our laurels down in the Lone Star State.

We'll be putting forth the same kind of effort that we have been all year long. In fact, we know we'll have to step it up even more with each passing race. The target on our backs gets bigger by the day.

With the trip to the Texas Motorplex looming, I can take solace in the fact that I'm a three-time winner there (1999, 2004 and 2005). The 1999 victory was particularly special because it was my first career win.

It's funny how life goes. I just broke Joe Amato's Top Fuel career wins record, and we're now going to the place where I won my very first race. While it was a long time ago, it also feels like it just happened yesterday. You always remember your first win.

With that, it's off to Big D. As always, "The Sarge" extends a group salute to y'all. We'll move to Memphis next weekend for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals. So, until then, please stay well.

Five-time world champion Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher drives the U.S. Army-sponsored Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and is providing a diary for ESPN.com throughout the 2008 season.

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