Commentary

Schumacher off to roaring start as POWERade Series turns to Seattle

Tony Schumacher is off to his best start since turning pro in 1996. Can it get any better for the five-time world champ?

Updated: July 16, 2008, 5:32 PM ET
By Tony Schumacher | Special to ESPN.com

Tony Schumacher
Schumacher

It seems no matter where I go of late, people always are asking me the same question -- whether I'm enjoying the 2008 drag racing season thus far.

To be honest, I'm really at a loss for words to describe what the U.S. Army Top Fuel team has accomplished to date. We've managed to win six races and advance to two other final rounds in 13 races. Those numbers are pretty good, if you ask me.

In fact, personally, I'm off to my best start to a season since I turned professional in 1996. Heading into this weekend's Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals at Pacific Raceways outside of Seattle, we have built a whopping 275-point cushion over Antron Brown in the standings.

We're in a mode right now in which we just want to maintain our consistency. That's how we won this past Sunday in Denver. We made sure we got down what was a very hot track each and every time.

Despite our impressive half-season numbers, we know the critical part of the year still remains, in the form of the Countdown to One phase of the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship.

When we get to that first race of the playoffs (Sept. 11 through 14 in Charlotte, N.C.), that's when we'll really have to have our game faces on. Assuming we're still on top of the points at that time, we'll have our lead shrunk to less than a couple of rounds of racing, which does not leave a lot of room for mistakes.

The immediate goal, however, is to make a return trip to Victory Lane at Pacific Raceways. We've been to the finals there the past four years and won three of those races, with the most recent victory coming last year. Certainly, it would be nice if we could go up there and run well once again.

In the end, we just want to keep winning for our soldiers. That's what this race program is all about. We want to put smiles on the faces of all our hard-working men and women. If we accomplish that, we've done our job.

So, I guess it's off to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Before departing, "The Sarge" would like to salute you all.

We'll conclude the NHRA's annual Western Swing July 25 through 27 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. So, until then, please stay well and continue to keep our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.

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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