Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), continued his solid weekend Sunday with victories over Khalid alBalooshi and Doug Kalitta in the opening two rounds, setting the stage for a battle of the U.S. Army teammates in the semifinal. It was the fifth time this season the DSR teammates met, and going into the matchup, the pair were tied with two victories apiece. The seven-time Top Fuel champion hazed his tires on his pass, which resulted in a run of 5.171 seconds at 144.41 mph. That handed Brown, who made a pass of 3.793 seconds at 320.89 seconds, the semifinal win, which placed him up against Shawn Langdon in the final round.
"We did OK," Schumacher said. "Obviously, we wanted to beat Antron. He had a great run and he outdrove me. That team is doing an excellent job. They've embraced the Army attitude of never quitting and refusing to accept defeat. After I got past (Doug) Kalitta, I thought we had a really good chance, but those guys did a really good job going out and beating us. They're chasing the point leader, they knew he was already eliminated, and they've got a good car. We have no doubt that those guys are tough every weekend. They have a great racecar, and I think payback from the last time we met up was probably on his mind. But, they did a good job."
The weekend was just what Brown needed in order to maintain his shot at scoring a second Top Fuel world championship. After qualifying third in the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR, he advanced to the semifinal with wins over Clay Millican and Steve Torrence, but saved his best two runs of the weekend for last. Brown shot out of the box quickly in the semifinal versus his U.S. Army Racing teammate to advance to his sixth final of the season. Shortly after warmups, Brown's team experienced a bit of a scare as an engine issue was discovered. Thankfully, his team was able to address and repair the issue in time to make it to the line for the final round. In the final, Brown recorded a lap of 3.797 seconds at 318.84 mph to beat a tire-smoking Shawn Langdon to record his fifth victory of the season.
"The competition in Top Fuel right now is really tight," Brown said. "It's tough to win a round, let alone win a race. You have to have some things fall your way, for sure. When we came into the final round, all I could think about was the adversity that our team faced. I can say that they definitely got 'Army Strong' because we had a main bearing issue before we came to the final. The boys caught it after we warmed up. They dropped the oil pan and found that the No. 1 main journal was messed up, and the No. 1 rod bearing was messed up from the round before. They were able to take it down - they had to loosen everything on the car. We only had 15 minutes to get to the line, and that's when they caught the problem. They had to take so much stuff off, it was crazy. I thought to myself, 'We'd made it to the final, we had a good points weekend, but it was crazy how our boys were so focused, talking back and forth, and the communication was unparalleled. Nobody got in a panic, nobody got in a rush. I got suited up and got into the car, they dropped it down and it didn't skip a beat. We went up there and we pulled that win off. Right then, that gives you that sense of confidence that this is a championship team. That's what it takes to win championships - when you can pull through those tough adverse times like we did."