INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Schumacher might not pay close attention to all of the numbers that equate to his remarkable success in the sport, but even he is well aware of the incredible success he’s had at the world’s most prestigious drag race, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Schumacher’s long list of accomplishments includes seven world championships on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit, but just as noteworthy is his nine Top Fuel victories at the biggest drag race in the world, which ties him with Pro Stock great Bob Glidden for the most ever at the event.
A 10th victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, which could come this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, would put him in uncharted territory in his 10,000-horsepower U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher is also not afraid to admit that achieving the mark is at the forefront of his focus.
“I think there’s no doubt that we know coming into this race that we have a chance to do something that no one has ever done,” Schumacher said. “I think it adds to the pressure and I like that. I enjoy the pressure. I’m a better driver when the pressure is big. I always have been. A lot of people have been able to live some great moments here. Fortunately for me, we’re one of the teams that have been blessed with some of the best moments.”
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel). Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners. Nearly 1,000 competitors in 12 different categories will attempt to put their names in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals record book over Labor Day weekend. It also marks the 18th of 24 events during the 2014 season and is the final race of the regular season.
The magnitude of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has always brought out the best in Schumacher, who last won the event in 2012. His string of eight victories in a 10-year span from 2000-2009 ranks as one of the most impressive runs in NHRA history and that also means Schumacher is well aware of race’s importance on its own and as it relates to the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“It’s such a massive race,” Schumacher said. “You need this momentum. You need to go to the first race (of the Countdown) knowing you won the last one, you’ve got six to go. I think showing that you can win these four rounds, get that win at Indianapolis and go on with six races to go with absolutely no mistakes to be made, not one, you can’t even think about making a mistake to win the championship. You have to be a machine, the whole team has to be perfect and flawless and having that momentum coming out of Indy is possibly the most important thing you could see in the Countdown.”
Schumacher seems to be building up to something big heading into the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. He has two victories in 2014 and currently sits in fourth, and has also strung together a number of consistent performances throughout the summer. Schumacher credits his elite U.S. Army team for getting him back in championship contention after finishing an uncharacteristic seventh a year ago.