The Pro Stock Motorcycle class was full of tension this past week at the NHRA's Sonoma Nationals, sometimes disguised as good-natured teasing between the Arana family Lucas Oil Buell team and the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson operation featuring Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines.
But equally dominant this past weekend, and on the entire Western Swing and even before, has been Don Schumacher Racing in the nitro classes.
Both Top Fuel finalists and both Funny Car finalists came from the DSR organization at Sonoma -- for the fifth time in 14 events in Top Fuel this year and for the third time in Funny Car.
The Antron Brown-Spencer Massey pairing in Top Fuel and Johnny Gray-Matt Hagan match-up in Funny Car marked the 37th time two DSR drivers met with a national-event title at stake (22 times in Top Fuel, 15 in Funny Car).
So while the mood was joyful at DSR, where folks had to find spaces to house the team's 188th and 189th Wally statues to complement its nine series-championship hardware, others -- especially the single-car, lower-budgeted team owners and drivers -- had to wonder if they ever could challenge such a power.
Don Schumacher says they can.
"If they associate themselves with one of these dominating teams out here, they certainly can," he said Sunday following his team's second straight double victory.
"The door is open to have them come over and come aboard. But there's a lot of things I have to control if that's going to happen," Schumacher said.
"I have to keep our technology in-house and take care of things in-house and help them run their cars," he said.
He was referring to his Brownsburg, Ind.-headquartered racing team and its 120,000-square-foot shop, where fabricators and machinists among the 120 employees build all race car chassis and operate a CNC and machine shop, as well as a fabrication shop. The mammoth warehouse-like facility boasts room for 14 18-wheel race-car transporters to pull inside. Crews work on the race cars in between the haulers, in a setting that mimics the racetrack arrangement.
"My door is open if somebody wants to come over and kind of get associated with DSR. That door is open," Schumacher said.
Will he provide practical help?
Schumacher said he'd be happy to help with "assistance, tune-up, parts, pieces, crew people -- of course."
Todd Okuhara, crew chief with Phil Shuler for the FRAM/Prestone Dragster that Spencer Massey drives, helps the Santo Rapisarda team with Cory McClenathan's dragster.
"We've started to help Tony and T.J. Zizzo," the team owner said, "and will continue on that road.
"My door's open," he said.
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