First of all, I have to apologize for not connecting with you folks in a couple of weeks. It's been a rather active time both at the track and away from the track.
Since I last appeared on this site, the U.S. Army Top Fuel team has competed in two races -- at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis and at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.
The race at Gateway was a good one for us if you saw the results. We managed to collect a much needed win. It had been more than a month since we had visited victory lane. We're not used to that type of dry spell.
While it was the best of times at Gateway, it wasn't the greatest of times down in the Peachtree State. We did manage to advance to the semifinals, but we just seemed to struggle all weekend long. For some reason, we couldn't get a handle on a very hot, challenging track.
With the above said, we're heading to Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) this weekend for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Summer Nationals holding fourth-place in the standings. We're only 10 points out of third and 35 points out of second.
The U.S. Army team just needs to start running consistently and before long we should be nipping at Larry Dixon's heels for the lead. Dixon has been running extremely well of late so it's important we don't let him get too far out in front.
The Topeka race marks the halfway point of the initial phase of the Countdown to the Championship. After 17 races, the points will be reset and the top 10 drivers will then compete for the Full Throttle world championship in what's called the Countdown to One.
While we're going to work real hard to be the leader entering the "playoffs," the worst we would want to be is second. That way, we'd be only 30 points behind and clearly within striking distance.
Heading to Topeka, I'm hoping I can deliver my long-time sponsor -- the U.S. Army -- its 100th NHRA win. As you may be aware, 59 of my 63 career victories have come with the U.S. Army's colors covering my championship-winning, record-setting dragster.
Other NHRA drivers who have carried the U.S. Army to victory lane over the years include Don "The Snake" Prudhomme (24 wins in Funny Car), Angelle Sampey (10 wins in Pro Stock Motorcycles) and Antron Brown (six wins in Pro Stock Motorcycles).
We definitely want the U.S. Army to be celebrating this Sunday. We always want to win badly for our Army Strong Soldiers. They deserve nothing but our very best every race weekend.
So, it's now time to begin packing for the trip to Kansas. "The Sarge" extends his usual group salute to y'all. We'll be back with you in a more timely fashion next week post-O'Reilly Auto Parts Summer Nationals.
Until then, I ask you to stay well and please remember our hard-working Army Strong Soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.