Since leaving Memphis Motorsports Park two weeks ago, I've been inundated with calls and e-mails about winning a fifth consecutive world championship.
After the U.S. Army Top Fuel team secured its 13th victory of the season at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, it seems most folks have already crowned me the 2008 Top Fuel champion.
To be honest, I wish people would stop doing that. We haven't clinched a thing. There are a number of other drivers still mathematically alive. Until the NHRA and POWERade hands out that big trophy, nothing has been decided.
We head into the Virginia Nationals this weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park holding a 166-point lead over our Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Cory McClenathan. That equates to an eight-round lead with 12 rounds of racing left in the season.
We have a decent lead right now, but that advantage can be reduced pretty quickly if we don't perform well in Virginia. Our mindset will be the same as always: We want to win the race. That's what our soldiers expect us to do.
Should I be able to depart Virginia Motorsports Park with a 237-point lead over the driver in second place, I will pocket my sixth career title, which would be a Top Fuel record. Presently, Joe Amato and I are tied with five career championships.
We're not really in the business of counting points. Like I've said, we're going to go qualify and then take it a round at a time. If on Sunday afternoon it ends up that we're the champs, then we can start the celebration. Right now, nothing is in the bag by any means.
Beyond dealing with the Countdown to the Championship this weekend, I would love to post my first career win at Virginia Motorsports Park. It's one of three tracks that I've failed to post a victory -- the other two are Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., and Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
That list used to have four tracks on it, but we got rid of Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., this year. Perhaps Virginia Motorsports Park is next in line for us.
Since the NHRA returned to Virginia Motorsports Park in 2006 after a five-year hiatus, I qualified No. 1 at each race, but was subsequently taken out in the first round. Certainly, we'll be hoping to turn that trend around.
With that, it's off to Virginia. "The Sarge" salutes you all. Believe it or not, we'll have a couple of weekends off before going out to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
So, until we reunite, y'all stay well and always keep thinking about our hard-working soldiers.
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.