Rumor Mill


schumacher 2Many times, success breeds confidence, and in turn, confidence can breed future success. This is definitely the case for Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, and his affinity for Bristol Dragway as he enters the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, June 14-16. The seven-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world champion has five wins at the facility (2012, 2008-10, 2004) and leads all racers with the most victories at Bristol Dragway.

“We go there feeling successful,” Schumacher said. “We go there with the attitude of success. My guys were disappointed in Englishtown (semifinal loss at the most recent event), and I said, ‘Don’t be disappointed; we are going to go into Bristol and win.’ So we might as well go and rack the points up.”

Schumacher and all the stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will be in search of victory at the 10th of 24 events in the 2013 season. Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) will be looking to defend their 2012 victories at the event, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2HD.

Schumacher has 71 wins in his storied 369-race career at tracks across the country. Only at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (nine) and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (six each) does he have a better record; he also has five wins at Texas Motorplex.

“I think everybody has certain tracks that they are good at,” Schumacher continued. “It is a difficult track since it is a little bit higher altitude. I stay close to the track and show up there well rested. I love Thunder Valley; I love the place, and I go into that race in very good spirits. I remember a time before the stands were there, and people would roll down the hill during the event, back when I drove jet cars there. The fans are second to none.”

Schumacher drives for his father, Don, who was a legendary Funny Car driver and has become one of the most successful team owners in all of motorsports. Don was recently inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and Tony introduced him. On Father’s Day weekend, Tony understands the family bond and relishes the time he spends with his father at the track.

“It is great to go racing with him every weekend. It makes the better that much better, but it makes the worse the worst because it is tough, it is family,” Schumacher continued. “It is a tough sport to get into, and when you have a family that helps pave the way to get in and teaches you the ropes. There are no 600 miles to win races; it is so instant and immediate. You hear about great moments and accomplishments, and it makes it hard not to want to live up to that.”