In the mid 90’s when Tony Schumacher decided to pursue a career in professional drag racing he brought his father and legendary Funny Car driver Don Schumacher with him, marking the end of a 24 year hiatus, which Don spent growing the family business, Schumacher Electric.
The father/son duo hit the track in 1998 as the newly formed Don Schumacher Racing, a single car Top Fuel team with Tony at the wheel and it didn’t take much time at all for them to find success. In their second season Tony raced to his first of 85 national event wins, became the first driver to eclipse the 330 mph barrier and was crowned the 1999 NHRA Top Fuel Champion, his first of a class best eight series titles.
Since DSR’s inception, they have fielded entries in five NHRA categories, added 366 national event Wallys to their collection, the most of any NHRA team, and captured 19 championship titles. Tony has been a major contributor to DSR’s ever expanding trophy case, having set nearly every record in the category until his longtime sponsor, the US Army, redirected their marketing efforts away from the sport at the end of the 2018 season and left the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history without the proper funding for a full time ride. Since then NHRA fans have been clamoring for his return and thanks to the Maynard Family and Scag Power Equipment, Tony is ready for his very highly anticipated ‘second act’ as he prepares to return to full time competition for the first time in more than three years.
While Tony will be piloting the only DSR nitro burning vehicle in the NHRA’s Camping World Series, DSR will still have their hands full. They are campaigning three Drag Paks in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series and they will be continuing to arm many of the NHRA’s top teams including AB Motorsports, Ron Capps Motorsports, Davis Motorsports, Josh Hart, Paul Lee, Cruz Pedregon, Tony Stewart Racing and Bob Tasca, with crucial car components manufactured in house at DSR Performance.
Tony had this to say about going it alone with is dad once again, “My dad and I started this whole thing together. We started with one Top Fuel car in 1998 and we won DSR’s very first championship together in ’99, and now, we’re reuniting on the track to pursue our 20th championship title. It’s truly a ‘full circle moment.’ People aren’t used to seeing Don Schumacher Racing as a smaller team with only one nitro car, but the reality is, that’s how this whole operation started, and now here we are, together again, ready for more of that on track magic we enjoyed for so many years.”
When Tony, who has been victorious at every track on the current NHRA tour, hits the dragstrip on February 18th in Pomona for the season opener, he will begin his campaign for a ninth championship title and DSR’s 12th in the category. The Maynard Family/Scag Power Equipment Top Fuel dragster will be tuned by longtime DSR crew chief Todd Okuhara with assistance from Marc Denner and Scott Okuhara. The 88 time No. 1 qualifier with 850 round wins on his resume, is confident in his team’s abilities to successfully go after championship No. 20, but knows that with the 2022 Top Fuel competition set to be as tight as ever, placing himself in the hunt at the end of the season will be no small task.
“2022 is going to be an insane year in Top Fuel,” the 154 final round contender said of the field that awaits him. “You look down the list, and you have Steve Torrence, who has won four straight championships in a row. The car goes down the track every time, he’s a great leaver, a great driver and he’s a great champion. But, there’s other competition that’s going to be just as tough. Brittany Force will continue to be very competitive, and the two Kalitta cars are going to have the tune up of Alan Johnson. Antron Brown will be tough, Tony Stewart’s team will be tough, and with our team, having the chance to work with Todd Okuhara, I think I think we’re going to be right there running with the best of them. It’s going to be tight this year, no doubt about it. There are quite a few teams that you look at and say ‘okay, they can show up and win at every race,’ and it’s been a really long time since we’ve seen the level of competition that we will see this year. I’m excited to get started and I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel during the PRO Nitro Spring Training test session in Phoenix this week. The fans will be the real winners this year because they’re going to see some throw-down, bad-to-the-bone Top Fuel racing.”