Sarge's world: Ready to move on in the West

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foxsports admin

The NHRA's infamous three-race western swing is off and running. We completed the first leg of the tour last Sunday in Denver and now have stops in Seattle and Sonoma, Calif., respectively, awaiting the teams the next two weekends. Unfortunately, we didn't leave Denver feeling real good about ourselves following a second straight quarterfinal round loss. We ended up getting beat by Doug Kalitta in what was probably the best race of final eliminations. The U.S. Army team laid down a good pass — 4.005-seconds — but Doug was just a bit quicker with a 4.003-second run. And we posted the same exact speeds — 303.57 mph. That goes to show you just how tough NHRA drag racing can be. We were really hoping to give our special guest, Sgt. Scott Ruske, a trophy out in Denver. He was our Hometown Hero for the weekend. Sgt. Ruske was the fourth U.S. Army Reserve Soldier to earn the Silver Star medal for heroic service in the global war on terror and we were honored to have him in our pit at the MOPAR Mile-High Nationals. Given our loss at Bandimere Speedway, we won't have a chance to sweep the western swing for the second straight year. But of course, we can still claim two-thirds of it. Obviously, that's our new goal. We're looking forward to arriving at Pacific Raceways (PR) outside of Seattle this weekend for the Northwest Nationals. The good news is I've had plenty of success at the track that's situated near picturesque Mount Rainier. In fact, I won the last three races at PR and have been to victory lane a total of four times in the last five seasons. Only Joe Amato has more Top Fuel wins at PR than I do — five. I bring up my history at PR for one reason: confidence. We know we can go up to Seattle and win, plain and simple. Despite the results of late, we have been running pretty well and I believe a win is forthcoming. Before I hit the road for Seattle, I have to make a detour trip to Los Angeles on Wednesday for the ESPY awards. Based off last year's history-making season, I was nominated for Best Driver. We'll see how it all shakes out. I had some pretty stout competition in the form of Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) and Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1) as well as Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon (both IRL). I'm sure no matter the fan voting results, I'll have a good time at all of the events surrounding the awards. You have to live for the moment, right? Well, I better start packing up the gear for the L.A./Seattle trip. "The Sarge" would like to extend his usual group salute. We'll reconvene next week after the Northwest Nationals and before traveling to Infineon Raceway in the heart of wine country. Please remember our Army Strong Soldiers in your prayers. Y'all stay well!

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