This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Top Fuel standout Tony Schumacher.

The eight-time world champion arrived at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the second to final race of the season, sixth in the point standings.

Well, Schumacher did have something to smile about Friday night as he captured the provisional No. 1 spot with a 3.673-second elapsed time at 332.67 mph.

"I was pretty sure that 3.67 was going to hold for the top spot," said Schumacher, who has been a fixture in the media center at Las Vegas during his career where he has won nine poles and eight event titles. "That 3.67 was such a good run, it forces people to go out and try a little too hard a lot of times."

Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster is tuned by crew chief Mike Green and assistant Phil Shuler.

"Let's remember we have won this race a lot of times and we have more data than just about everyone else here,” Schumacher said. “We have a good quality map of this place. Yes, it is a different racetrack under different situations. It's hard to run great here, but we are able to make those kind of runs with the U.S. Army car because of the outstanding notes and ability of the incredible people working together on this team that made it happen. They evaluated the situation and made good decisions and we made a great run tonight.”

Schumacher has eight career wins at Las Vegas, the last being in 2014, and three runner-up performances. He has qualified No. 1 nine times in Las Vegas.

Schumacher, who only has one win this season, wants to close the deal Sunday at The Strip.

"Look, we qualify fine, but we race terrible right now (on Sunday),” Schumacher said. “And, we have to change that. I don't care where we qualify, we've got to win the race."