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Sarge's World: Excitement builds up at Charlotte

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The curtain lifted last weekend on the NHRA's Countdown to 1 and it's already become quite exciting to say the very least. From a Top Fuel perspective alone, we left zMax Dragway outside of Charlotte with four drivers at the top of the standings all within 21 points of each other. After his big win on Sunday, my Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Cory McClenathan, seized the points lead. He and his team rose to the occasion and I congratulate them on a terrific effort. With Cory now leading the way, I'm tied for second with Antron Brown, 10 points back, while Larry Dixon holds third-place, 11 points behind us ... It's getting awfully intense!! But, of course, the NHRA designed its playoff system to add drama for the fans. I say its mission accomplished. In one race, they got a nice return for their money investment. I'm confident the drama will continue for the next five races right on through the final round of racing at Pomona, Calif., in the middle of November. It's going to be a real war to the end and I'm hopeful we can deliver another world championship to our Army Strong Soldiers. We're heading for the Texas Motorplex this weekend for the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals. This will be the second of four straight races for us. We'll also go through Memphis and Richmond, Va., respectively. Given our semifinal round finish last weekend in Charlotte, we'll obviously be looking to go a couple more rounds down in the Lone Star State. Speaking of the Texas Motorplex, I have accumulated a bunch of fond memories from there over the years. In 1999, I won my first pro race over the late Scott Kalitta and later went on to claim two other trophies — in 2004 & 2005. No matter how much you may like other tracks on the circuit, you will always have a special place in your heart for the track where you won your first race. That trophy will hold center stage at all times. And, relative to center stage, how about that four-wide exhibition before the finals last Sunday at zMax Dragway? In case you hadn't heard, four Top Fuel cars and then four Funny Cars ran four-wide for the first-time in history. Man, what a show that was!! You would have had to been there to truly appreciate what 32,000 horsepower sounds like. The burn outs alone were worth the price of admission, no less the 1,000-foot passes. Now, you are probably asking if we'll ever see four-wide racing for real. I guess we'll have to wait and see over time. To my knowledge, the only track right now to offer four lanes is zMax Dragway, so I'm pretty sure other tracks would have to step up and expand to allow for a full-time switch from the normal two-lane racing. With that, I better pack the bags for the trip to Texas. "The Sarge" salutes y'all. We'll be right back with you next week to recap this weekend's race and look ahead to the Memphis race. Y'all stay well and as always please remember our Soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.


Six-time world champion Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher pilots the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He will be providing a blog throughout the 2009 season.

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