- Tony Schumacher
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To be sure, I've heard all of the world championship talk for the better part of two weeks, but I'm just not going to buy into any of it right now.
You may know that all I need to do is qualify for this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and I will clinch my fifth consecutive POWERade world championship and the sixth of my career.
Everyone has been in my ear about Vegas since we left Richmond, Va. I'm not going to assume anything. We have to go out there and get the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster in the show. Only then will we be able to celebrate. Until I see we're in Sunday's race-day lineup, I'm not sending up any balloons. Call me conservative, but that's just how I feel. I've seen way too many strange things happen in this sport.
Now, I will say that the chances are pretty good that I'll secure a spot in the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals' 16-car field. My last DNQ dates all the way back to the 2003 race at Englishtown, N.J.
Again, we still have to earn our way into the race. We're not like NASCAR where there are provisional starting positions available if you don't qualify well. I'll be more relaxed after I see we're among the quickest 16 cars.
Should I qualify and subsequently clinch a record-setting sixth Top Fuel crown, I'll immediately focus on winning my 15th race of the season.
If I manage to claim the final two races of the year, while totaling eight more round wins, I would break Greg Anderson's 2004 single-season records for event wins as well as round wins.
We're certainly going after those records. This has been such a terrific year already, so we should try to finish it off in grand style. Our soldiers expect us to give our all every time we compete. That's exactly what we're going to do these last two races.
At The Strip, we will be eager to impress a special guest who will be in attendance courtesy of the U.S. Army. We're excited that the sergeant major of the U.S. Army -- Kenneth Preston -- will be visiting with us. He's a real important guy in that he serves as the army chief of staff's personal adviser on all enlisted-related matters. We definitely want to make sure he has a good time while he's with us in Vegas.
With that, it's off to Vegas, baby. "The Sarge" extends his usual group salute to y'all. We'll have a weekend off before traveling to the final race of the year in Pomona, Calif.
So, until then, please stay well and as always, say a prayer for our hardworking soldiers.
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.