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May 05

U.S. Army Racing: NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Race Report from Charlotte - Tony Sch

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May 5, 2017

“The Sarge” Comes Up One Spot Short in Four-Wide

U.S. Army Teammates Schumacher, Brown Continue Learning Curve in Charlotte


Date: April 30, 2017

Event: Eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (Round 6 of 24)

Series: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series

Location: zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina

Winner: Steve Torrence of Steve Torrence Racing

U.S. Army Racing Finish: Tony Schumacher qualified 6th, lost to Steve Torrence in final.

Antron Brown qualified 3rd, lost to Schumacher, Terry McMillen and Doug Kalitta in second round.


This one is like no other. The challenge of winning any NHRA Mello Yello Series event is tall, but conquering the Four-Wide Nationals is one of the toughest missions of the season. The U.S. Army Racing tandem of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown and their respective nine-man teams threw everything they had at it Sunday at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, but ultimately came up short in their quest for victory.


Schumacher drove the U.S. Army Dragster of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) to the final advancing through the first two quadrants, but despite an impressive .040-second reaction time in the final, the eight-time Top Fuel world champion came home second to Steve Torrence. Brown, the reigning Top Fuel world champion, dominated his quadrant in the first round, but lost traction early in round two to end his run for a third Four-Wide Nationals victory in the past four seasons.


“This is an incredible event, and at the end of the day you have to be a machine,” said Schumacher, following his third career runner-up finish in the Four-Wide Nationals. “I couldn’t be prouder of the U.S. Army team led by (crew chief) Mike Green, (assistant crew chief) Phil Shuler. They worked hard all weekend to give us a chance and that’s what we had today. This Four-Wide race is just a different way to do the same thing we do every weekend. You have to block out all the other stuff and just hit the throttle and you do your job. We all wanted to win this thing, but it didn’t work out. We have a great team that is learning every weekend and continuing to make progress. So now, it’s about heading to Atlanta where we are still chasing that first victory.”


This event started with Brown being lightning quick out of the gate with a .057-second reaction time en route to winning the first round with his pass of 3.763 seconds at 326.08 mph. Schumacher had his hands full early when his U.S. Army machine lost traction, but he was able to get back in the throttle and make it to the finish line with a run of 4.374 seconds at 247.52 mph to narrowly defeated Ike Maier and advance to round two.


In the second round, the U.S. Army tandem faced off with Doug Kalitta and Terry McMillen. Brown and Kalitta had lane choice and took lanes three and four while McMillen and Schumacher were forced to run in lanes one and two. The lane choice didn’t matter for Schumacher who raced away to score the round win with his pass of 3.792 seconds at 327.74 mph and advanced to the final. Brown wasn’t able to join his U.S. Army teammate in the final after the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster for DSR lost traction early in the pass and he coasted to the finish line with a lap of 6.933 seconds at 100.67 mph.


In the final, Schumacher once again didn’t have lane choice and was forced to race from lane two. His best reaction time of the weekend gave him a chance at the victory, but Torrence was too strong and drove away from Schumacher. The runner-up finish was the 63rd of Schumacher’s illustrious career and second of the season.


With the weekend results, Schumacher took second in the championship standings and trails DSR teammate Leah Pritchett by 34. Brown entered the event in the second position, but dropped behind Schumacher and ranks third heading to Atlanta next week.


“The track was tricky this weekend,” said Brown. “My Matco Tools/U.S. Army guys just tried to keep up with it, but this was one of those deals when you dipped when you should have blocked. The first round went well and we were able to do exactly what we wanted to do and we felt good. It was just a shame to go out in round two when we felt like we were heading in the right direction. That’s what this sport is all about. You have to continue working. We learned so much from this race today to take into Atlanta next week. I feel it’s going to be for the betterment of this team.”


After six rounds of the 24-event NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for 2017, the top-10 drivers the Top Fuel standings are:


1. Leah Pritchett (569 points)

2. Tony Schumacher (535 points, -34)

3. Antron Brown (501 points, -68)

4. Steve Torrence (470 points, -99)

5. Doug Kalitta (417 points, -152)

6. Clay Millican (330 points, -239)

7. Brittany Force (316 points, -253)

8. Terry McMillen (267 points, - 302)

9. Troy Coughlin, Jr. (264 points, -305)

10. Scott Palmer (212 points, -357)


Next up is the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Speedway in Commerce, Georgia, May 5-7. FS1 will provide delayed coverage of Sunday’s elimination rounds in a three-hour show beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

Category: Drag Racing   Tag: U.S. Army Racing: NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Race Report from Charlotte - Tony Schumacher & Antron Brown

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