U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher clearly has had some exciting times at Auto Club Raceway. Whether it was "The Run" which won him the 2006 championship over Doug Kalitta or a dramatic final-round win in 2007 for another title over Rod Fuller, Schumacher has had his share of success at the historic facility located east of Los Angeles.
"We definitely have had some big moments in Pomona over the years and, of course, we'll be looking to add another one this weekend," he said.
Schumacher heads for the 2009 NHRA season finale – the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals – holding a slim one-point lead over Larry Dixon in the standings and a 48-point advantage over his Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Cory McClenathan, who sits in third.
"We're locked in an incredible battle," said Schumacher. "Any one of us can win the thing come Sunday. We're going to go out there and lay it all on the line just like our Army Strong Soldiers do every day for us."
Schumacher knows every 1,000-foot run this weekend will carry plenty of importance.
"We have to perform flawlessly starting with the first qualifying session on Thursday," he added. "We need to go out and grab every point possible. We can't let Larry and Cory breathe for a second."
Should Schumacher end up hoisting the Full Throttle championship trophy at weekend's close, it will be his sixth consecutive crown and the seventh of his career. "They've all been special, but this one would be particularly special," he said. "Given that we started with a brand-new team in February, no one expected us to be in the position we're in right now."
Schumacher began the '09 campaign with a new crew chief in Mike Green and a new crew. A veteran tuner, Green is attempting to win his first title as a crew chief.
"I'd like nothing better than to hand him that big trophy," added Schumacher. "He's worked awfully hard to make the U.S. Army dragster a championship contender. As I've stated before, I wouldn't trade Mike and my guys for anyone. They're a great bunch."
Beyond the expected championship drama this weekend, Schumacher will be attempting to become the winningest Top Fuel driver at Auto Club Raceway. Presently, he's tied with Don Garlits for the most wins – six. Four of his six wins came in the fall Pomona race.