Long Grove resident Tony Schumacher is looking for his eighth NHRA championship and is the current points leader as he returns to the Chicago area for a hometown race this weekend. Driving the U.S. Army car, Schumacher is looking for his fourth career win in Joliet in the OíReilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
As he prepared for the weekend, Schumacher discussed his first win of the season two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., his excitement about racing at home, his goals for the rest of the season.
Q. How did it feel to return to victory lane after such a long time?
A. It really was an incredible experience. I joked about the fact that I may have lost my trophy muscles. But, in all seriousness, to win on the U.S. Armyís 237th birthday weekend as well as Fatherís Day weekend, I could not have asked for a better scenario. I felt particularly happy for Mike Green (crew chief) and my team. They have worked extremely hard since day one, so to finally get that first victory of the year for them was very special.
Q. Now that you have broken the long-discussed 32-race losing streak, can a winning streak be just around the corner?
A. I certainly hope thatís the case. We definitely have a race car quite capable of tearing off a few wins in a row. To be honest, I just want to see us continue to perform with consistency. If we can do that, I have no doubt the wins are going to come. First and foremost, we always want to qualify well ó that sets the table for anything we do on Sunday.
Q. Whatís it like to race at your home track in front of so many friends and family?
A. Itís hectic, thatís for sure. It seems no matter where you turn, someone is tugging at you for something or another. But, I wouldnít have it any other way. I only get this chance once a year, so I try to make it a fun deal. As long as you stay focused on the job at hand, there shouldnít be any issues. Iíve won 68 races in my career, but the events Iíve won at Route 66 Raceway carry a lot more meaning, for obvious reasons.
Q. As we approach the halfway point in the season, you have to be satisfied with where your team is at right now.
A. Iím absolutely satisfied at the moment ó weíre leading the points and thatís where you want to be. But, leading now was not the goal. We want to be the team thatís standing on the top step of the podium on November 11th (the last day of the season). Thatís when weíll be totally satisfied.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.