Sarge's world: It's a nice view from the top

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You can go ahead and send up the fireworks — the U.S. Army Top Fuel team returned to victory lane this past weekend at Bristol Dragway. After beating Doug Kalitta in the finals of the Thunder Valley Nationals, we reclaimed the lead from Antron Brown in the Top Fuel standings. We love holding the number one spot and I'm confident there are plenty of teams who would eagerly trade places with us. Now, we understand eight races is not an entire season, but we're pretty happy with where we're at this moment. My crew chief, Mike Green, and the entire U.S. Army crew have been working hard to make my dragster as competitive as possible. I can't say enough about my team's dedication and determination. Like our Army Strong soldiers, they get a mission put in front of them and don't stop until it's successfully completed. It was nice to get our third win of the season on a weekend when Armed Forces Day was being celebrated. You may be aware the purpose of Armed Forces Day is to honor Americans serving in all of the military branches, including the U.S. Army. So it was especially pleasing to collect a trophy for our hard-working soldiers. Of course, this coming weekend we'll be celebrating Memorial Day. It will be time to think about all of those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. While we're not racing this weekend, my NASCAR teammate, Ryan Newman, will be in the Coca-Cola 600 down in Charlotte. So hopefully he can bring home a win. Speaking of Ryan, his team owner, Tony Stewart, surprised me with a text message prior to the final round last Sunday. We spent some quality time together at Fort Knox a few weeks ago and got to be good friends. Smoke was encouraging me to finish the job against Kalitta. After we accomplished our goal, I sent Smoke a text message simply saying "Smoke, we smoked 'em." He was happy, needless to say. With any kind of luck, we'll continue to smoke 'em when we hit Heartland Park in Topeka Kan. in two weeks for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals. The Topeka race will mark the halfway point in the Countdown to 10. The first 18 races of the season decide which 10 drivers will compete for the Full Throttle world championship over the remaining six events. Even though we're number one right now, we're not going to let up from a performance perspective. There are way too many great drivers and teams out there who can make life miserable for us. When we get to Topeka, we have to stay focused on the job at hand so we don't lose any ground. By the way, did you know that Heartland Park is one of two tracks where I've never won a race in my career? The other is Atlanta Dragway. With that, I'm now setting my sights on the upcoming holiday weekend. As an aside, the Topeka race will be the first of three straight races for us — we'll also go through Joliet, Ill. and Englishtown, N.J., respectively. So we'll be connecting a lot in the coming weeks. Before closing, "The Sarge" would like to extend his usual group salute. As always, please remember to keep our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers, particularly with Memorial Day on the horizon. Until next time, y'all stay well.

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.

Tagged: Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart

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