ENNIS, Texas -- When it comes to drivers racking up multiple wins at Texas Motorplex, the storied track has been rather stingy.
The list of past winners, particularly in Top Fuel, bears some of the sport's biggest names and quite a few of them. That's because there have been 19 different winners over the last 27 years - amazing parity - unless you're talking about Tony Schumacher.
No other Top Fuel driver even has four wins at the Motorplex, although Cory McClenathan and Gary Scelzi both have three while Larry Dixon owns a pair of wins.
For Schumacher, a trip to Texas Motorplex is always greatly anticipated. That tends to happen when your confidence soars due to wins - and the fact that you just happened to score your first victory there.
"It was my first win ever (in 1999)," Schumacher said. "So that says it all. I was in the points lead at the time and I was unheard of - a nobody at the time. We beat Scott Kalitta and we did it at a time when we hadn't experienced a win. We had the points lead already, and there was no Countdown.
"We went out and won it, which is very special when you do it for the first time. We won that weekend and kept the lead all the way to the end. And the rest is history."
While the win in Ennis was the catalyst for Schumacher's first NHRA championship trophy, it didn't stop there. He snagged back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005 and again in 2009 and 2010. In 2004, '05 and '09, those victories also led to NHRA titles.
"It has just been a great race for me," he said. "It's hard to believe that first win came 71 races ago. I've won a lot of important races there when we've had to over the years - and I look forward to doing it again this year.
"We've always run well there and we've had a lot of success. It has a lot of meaning to me. We've had a lot of great moments there that led to championships. You know, that's the mark of this team, performing at its best under pressure. We've always been best at the end when we've had to be."
Schumacher currently sits second in the Top Fuel standings, 147 behind leader Shawn Langdon. He feels he has a good shot at catching Langdon, particularly with tracks like Texas Motorplex coming up on the schedule.
"I really hope we can be leading the standings when we get to the Motorplex," Schumacher said. "We'll have one Countdown race under our belts at that point but there's a lot of racing left. We need to bounce back in Dallas because last year we went out in the second round.
"It's a great place for me because I have such a good track record there so I'm looking forward to it. And we'll be focused on the win and the big prize, too."
Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.
Gates open at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 20 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 21 is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.
Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champion's Club - an 11,000 square-foot facility - that serves fully catered events throughout the year.