Schumacher has Amato's Top Fuel wins mark in his sights

Having won three straight races, the U.S. Army Top Fuel team will head to Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway this weekend for the Lucas Oil Nationals.

After completing a sweep of the NHRA's Western Swing two weeks ago, I'm now just three wins short of tying Joe Amato's Top Fuel career victory mark, which stands at 52.

Man, it's hard to comprehend that I'm approaching that kind of record. To be in the position I'm in right now really proves that the U.S. Army team is one of the best teams assembled in the history of the sport.

Beyond the record book, we're truly focused on the ultimate mission of capturing a fifth consecutive world title. To that end, the Lucas Oil Nationals becomes the immediate challenge.

We never, ever look ahead. We're quite aware that the other teams always are looking to take us down, so it's on us to be Army strong, just like our soldiers. If you're prepared emotionally and physically, you can handle anything.

But after clinching the top seed in the Countdown to One phase of the Countdown to the Championship, we can travel to Minnesota's Land of the Lakes in somewhat of a relaxed mood.

It's really great up there. The fans turn out from all over, including Canada. With all of the campers who come into town, I've heard people compare the Brainerd race weekend to NASCAR's Talladega (Ala.) weekends. Now, that's saying something.

If recent results are any indication, we should be competitive this weekend. I have two career wins (2000 and 2004) along with two other final-round appearances at BIR. Additionally, we posted the fastest speed in NHRA history (337.58 mph) in 2005.

BIR has one of the longest concrete launch pads on the tour, which is nice. That aside, we just want to keep winning races the next few weeks so that by the time the Countdown to One begins next month in Charlotte, N.C., we'll be fully prepared.

With that, it's off to Minnesota. "The Sarge" salutes you all. We'll be traveling to Reading, Pa., the following weekend for round No. 17 of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. So, until then, y'all stay well and please remember to keep our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.

Five-time world champion Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher drives the U.S. Army-sponsored Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and is providing a diary for ESPN.com throughout the 2008 season.