Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 - Page 110

DON SCHUMACHER
across Top Fuel , Funny Car , Pro Stock , and Pro Stock Motorcycle . As times have changed , the Don Schumacher Racing ( DSR ) stable has downsized from several nitro teams to just one Top Fuel team and three Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown cars at the beginning of the 2022 season .
Four of Schumacher ’ s drivers went off on their own over the most recent offseason . Antron Brown , who announced his intentions to transition to team ownership in January of 2020 , launched his AB Motorsports team . Ron Capps , the defending Funny Car world champion , also formed his own team , Ron Capps Motorsports . Leah Pruett and Matt Hagan joined the fledgling Tony Stewart Racing Nitro operation , which fields one Top Fuel entry and one Funny Car .
Schumacher entered the 2022 season with just one Top Fuel driver , the same one that brought him back to the sport in 1998 after a long hiatus : his son , eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher . But things changed there , too , in late July when the team ’ s primary benefactors , Joe and Cathi Maynard , were named majority owners of DSR ’ s last remaining nitro team . Now known as Maynard Family Racing / Don Schumacher Racing , the team still operates out of DSR ’ s sprawling Brownsburg , Indiana , compound using DSR parts and resources , but the Maynard family is largely responsible for the day-to-day operations of the team .
Fans were quick to interpret Schumacher ’ s relinquishing of his majority ownership stake as a negative , but that isn ’ t the case , as Schumacher explained in an interview on The Wes Buck Show .
For many years , the nitro classes relied on
DSR CONTINUES TO EXPAND INTO THE PERFORMANCE WORLD WITH THE RELEASE OF ITS DSR 1150 , A CRATE ENGINE THAT MAKES 1,150 HORSEPOWER ON PUMP GAS .
three individuals who fielded most of the teams – Schumacher , John Force , and Connie Kalitta . The three owners and their teams have feuded on the track for years , but they share mutual respect and appreciation because they realize they need each other for the sport of nitro racing to be successful .
“ John Force and I may frown at each other at times ,” Schumacher begins , “ but I care very deeply about John and his family and his race operation and his race teams and such , the same as John cares about my family , myself , and my operation because we know NHRA needs all of us .”
With a handful of Schumacher ’ s drivers going off on their own to join the numerous other independent team owners and drivers already excelling in the nitro classes , the responsibility
to carry the sport into the future has become more evenly distributed . Plus , the infrastructure Schumacher created – the talent , the parts and pieces , the business models – are still there . They ’ re just operating under a different roof . Or , in some cases , they ’ re still under the same roof , just with a different owner .
“ Many of the people , and many of the crew chiefs out there at one time or another , have worked with me or for me ,” Schumacher says . “ So it ’ s a small world out there of very talented people . Fortunately , we now have the Maynards , the Ron Capps , the Antron Browns , the Tony Stewarts coming in to join the Josh Harts , the Mike Salinases , the Torrences , and on and on .”
In this excerpt from the WBS interview , Schumacher reflects on his team ’ s recent moves , the future of the sport , and his incredible history .
SCHUMACHER PLANS TO REMAIN ACTIVE IN DRAG RACING THROUGH NUMEROUS VENTURES , INCLUDING DSR PERFORMANCE , WHICH IS OVERSEEN BY HIS SON-IN-LAW , CHAD OSIER .
I think this was interpreted widely as “ Don ’ s bailing , it ’ s over .” I think that was a little exaggerated , right ? But it is a shift for you . Could you lay the groundwork or explain to us the inner workings of how this deal with Joe Maynard and family came to be ? Well , let ’ s go back first to I ’ ve been in drag racing for a lot of years , since the mid- ‘ 60s . I stepped away to build Schumacher Electric for a number of years during the late ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s , and came back in ‘ 98 with Tony in an Exide Batteries car and expanded my operation – as a businessman that has business opportunities would do – to the point that I think I ran 11 or 12 teams one year out at Denver , namely , and part of the balance of the year . But I ’ ve had a lot of teams under my umbrella for a lot of years . I ’ m still involved with the Maynards ’ team . That ’ s part my team also . I ’ m not stepping away from drag racing . I will be out there when I choose to go out there .
There is nothing health-wise that ’ s causing me to do this . There ’ s nothing financial-wise that ’ s causing me to do this . This was done because it ’ s a dream that Joe and Cathi Maynard have
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