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Schumacher gets new season started

Another NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season has arrived and I'm excited to be back in the cockpit of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster.

We kicked off the 2010 campaign last weekend in Pomona, Calif. at the 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals. Unfortunately, our day ended in the semifinals courtesy of Larry Dixon.

If you hadn't heard already, the race with Larry was quite unique -- we actually posted identical elapsed times and speeds. Now, you're probably wondering why this race wasn't declared a tie. Well, it was Larry's slightly better reaction time at the starting line that sealed the deal for him.

Of course, Larry drives for my former crew chief (Alan Johnson) and has my former team working on his car. We were able to edge them out by two points for the world championship last season. I guarantee you the battle will be just as intense this year.

Now, it won't just be Larry and I fighting it out for the title again. There are a bunch of other great teams and drivers in Top Fuel right now. Anyone can step up at any given time for race wins and, ultimately, the championship. We're definitely awaiting the challenge ahead.

Like our Army Strong Soldiers, we know preparation and leadership will be the keys to our success this season. And to be sure, we have a great leader in my crew chief, Mike Green, who also prepares us extremely well. We're very fortunate to have Mike in our camp. He's a very talented tuner as proven by him winning his first title last year.

Beyond the normal on-track activities, I'm looking forward to visiting with the Hometown Heroes and Army VIPs who will be at the races throughout this year.

In Pomona, we hosted Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Frennier and Captain Kenneth Singleton, who hails from Lynwood, Calif. and was our Hometown Hero.

A Bronze Star recipient, Captain Singleton is a very much an inspirational person. We were panelists for the Youth & Education Services program, which the U.S. Army sponsors. You could clearly see the interested looks from the kids who attended the event. It wouldn't surprise me if some of those same kids decided to join the Army after hearing him speak.

With the season opener in the rear view mirror, we'll now head for Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix this weekend for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals.

I certainly have pleasant memories from my trips to Firebird over the years. In fact, I have three victories to my credit out there, which leads the Top Fuel class. I hope we can add to that total come Sunday.

We need to come out of the box ready to roll down in the Valley of the Sun. That means getting after it with the first qualifying session. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Mike Green has in mind.

With that, we're off to Arizona. I want to thank the folks at FOXSports.com for allowing me to submit these blogs once again. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

"The Sarge" salutes you all. We have a couple of weeks off before traveling to the famed Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. So, we'll be back with you just after that race. Until then, y'all stay well.