Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 - Page 112

DON SCHUMACHER
ALONG WITH HIS SON , TONY , SCHUMACHER HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN DEVELOPING THE CAREERS OF MAJOR NITRO STARS LIKE LEAH PRUETT AND RON CAPPS , WHO BOTH RACED WITH DSR THROUGH THE END OF THE 2021 SEASON . had . They brought that to me earlier this year and I said , “ Let ’ s see if we can figure out a way to accomplish what you want to accomplish .”
I ’ ll still be involved . DSR and DSR Performance Parts are tied to NHRA Drag Racing for years to come and I will be for years to come . But I always try to do what the right thing is for my sponsors , my team members , and for the sport of NHRA Drag Racing . That ’ s how the transition at the end of last year put a number of other teams under separate ownership . Is it best to have this mega team owner out there ? Yes , I know I ’ ve been good for the sport of NHRA Drag Racing for a lot of years , but it ’ s time to transition that .
I ’ m comfortable with the transition that Tony Stewart has a two-car operation , Antron ’ s got a one-car operation , looking to expand upon that . Ron Capps has a one-car operation . Now the Maynards have a one-car operation . I ’ m comfortable with all of those things that have changed my day-to-day responsibility and involvement .
So this has been a very comfortable good transition , and I look forward to it being nothing but the best for , number one , the Maynards , both Joe and Cathi . Two , my employees that are still employed by DSR and the employees that will be under the Maynards , and the employees that are working for Tony Stewart , and the employees that are working for Ron Capps , all of the people working for Antron Brown . All of these people are family members that have been with me for a lot of years . It ’ s all positives the way I see it . I don ’ t see any of this being a negative for the sport , for my employees , or the sponsors .
I ’ ve often pointed at people such as yourself , John Force , Connie Kalitta , as something of the oak beam in the center of the circus tent , right ? It ’ s nice in some instances to see there being more sticks , I guess , right ? Do you see this as a positive thing just for the overall scope that there ’ s interest and apparently opportunity in our sport for people to become independent team owners ? I see it as a real positive . I feel the same way as I continue to look to go forward in the sport , whether that be with the three Factory Shootout teams that I run and an expansion back into the nitro classes , whether that be Top Fuel or Funny Car . I see this last year and a half or two years as a positive for NHRA drag racing .
We do seem to be seeing an influx of some new teams . We ’ ve seen some new corporate sponsors show up , but we do hear some of the same things , and we ’ re not back to 20-some odd cars consistently . Do you feel like the environment is good right now for drag racing specifically ? I know there ’ s some uncertainty in the world , but looking at what we ’ re operating in right now , do you feel like there ’ s a good climate ? What ’ s your take on the business part of drag racing right now , especially at the NHRA level ? I think everybody would tell you that business is very difficult right now . Are we in a recession ? Are we going to be in a recession in ‘ 24 ? If you talk to the business people , they will tell you that there ’ s maybe a 20-25 % chance that we will go into a recession in ‘ 22 , but that percentage goes up to 40-50 % in 2023 . All of that is a concern and a worry for me business-wise for all of motorsports .
When you ’ re out there looking for that marketing dollar and sales are not increasing , it ’ s hard to talk those companies into supporting a multimillion-dollar operation for any type of motorsports . So I have my concerns and my worries with where we ’ re at in this economy and politically , where we ’ re at today and where we ’ re at in the world . So there ’ s always that concern .
I ’ ve never really been a pessimist . I really strive to go forward and look to expand it . I mean , I ’ m looking forward to bringing out another fuel team for 2023 , so I ’ ll just leave it at that and keep working in that direction . You can ’ t change what has happened one minute ago ; you can only work towards changing the future .
What do you make of the platform of NHRA Drag Racing right now ? From the action we see on social media , the TV package on FOX and such , what ’ s your take on where the platform is right now ? I think the sport is in a very good place right now . The headwinds that we have in front of us for the balance of this year and next year is certainly worrisome with what ’ s going on in this world . But again , put your head down , keep working hard , and don ’ t worry about those kind of things and you ’ ll be successful . That ’ s the way I ’ ve always looked at things my whole life and I ’ ve been very fortunate .
I ’ ve been blessed with being able to surround myself with great people that have done a great job for me . That means every crew chief , every driver , every crew person , every management person , all my hospitality staff , all of that has
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