Hello everyone. My name is Megan Schumacher and I’m thrilled to be joining the team of NHRA.com bloggers. My goals with this blog are to be regular, at least when it comes to updating the blog, and to offer a continual, behind the scenes look at DSR, the largest team in NHRA racing.
When I say behind the scenes, I mean more than just what happens at the race track. You guys know what happens at each of the 24 NHRA Mello Yello Series races. You watch the NHRA on ESPN2 and ESPN3 on your computers. You follow along at NHRA.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m going to do my best to take you inside DSR. Hopefully offer a look at what’s it’s like to work at DSR; the fun, the highs and lows, and maybe even a little Kardashian-style drama. A DSR reality show? Now that could be some entertaining TV with our personalities and I’m not even talking about Tony or Antron or Ron or Matt. We have some real characters that help make our operation the success that it is, whether on the race track or in the pits in our hospitality area.
Before I dive into DSR, a little bit about myself. Some of you may know me as Don’s daughter and Tony’s step-sister. I’m 22 years-old and graduated from Lynn University in Florida this May. In fact, my graduation weekend was the Atlanta rain date weekend on May 4. Johnny and Antron doubled-up for the ultimate graduation gift, two Wally trophies! I began grad school in late August before the U.S. Nationals. Once I finished my master’s program, the plan is for me to relocate to Indy and work out of the DSR shop and fully immerse myself in the daily operation of DSR and NHRA racing, the sport I love. I lived in Chicago for many years, so I’ll be just fine with the Indiana winters. One last thing, I have a dog named Teddy, so you’ll get to meet him along the way as you have with Bob Wilber’s cats.
Last weekend I took full advantage of our first off weekend in four weeks and took a trip to Madison, Wisconsin to spend the weekend with one of my best friends, Taylor. She attends the University of Wisconsin, so we got to attend the Wisconsin vs. Northwestern homecoming football game a Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers are my adopted team and they had a huge win over the ranked Wildcats. It’s such a great experience to attend a college football game in the fall with the leaves changing colors and we got to top off the big UW win of with some fun on State Street.
This has been an important week at college. We’ve had our first round of final exams. Thankfully, one was a take-home exam, so there’s no excuse to not get a solid grade. Lynn is on the quarter system, so I begin a new set of classes on Monday. It's a fast-paced program but keeps things busy and exciting. Much like DSR, it’s never dull.
After two off weekends, we’ll be Jonesing to get back to the race track next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We start the Countdown with so much momentum with four consecutive races and the two off weeks create a lull although the crew members and their families enjoy the time at home. Our teams will leave the shop on Monday and Tuesday. It’s about a 28-hour drive from Brownsburg to Las Vegas in a big truck. In the meantime, the teams have kept plenty busy taking advantage of the time at home.
Things are always humming along in the fabrication and CNC/machine shops at DSR home base in Brownsburg. The fab shop did a front half on Antron’s Matco dragster, so the Matco team will have new pipe going into Las Vegas. The fab shop guys also have front half tubing ready for dragsters and Funny Cars in the off season. They do a great job of working ahead because the off season isn’t really an off season at all. It’s always on season at the shop. They also built new headers for our teams and got the titanium trees ready to mount two new Funny Car bodies. Our fab shop is led by Joey Martin and includes Joe, Tom, Dan and Hank.
Last Thursday, we did a 2014 photo shoot with Tony and the U.S. Army dragster. The Army always does an October shoot for the next season’s marketing materials and hero cards. We recently got the first ’14 Matco dragster back from paint at SD Enterprises in Michigan and Antron’s car will have a much different look next year and I think you’ll really like it. I’ll try to share a sneak peek real soon. Next Tuesday we will get a NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car body back from paint and we’ll send the first Valvoline car to paint. Jack’s Dodge flopper also will have a new look for 2014. It’s a very exciting time to be part of an NHRA team and I’m thrilled to offer you a behind the scenes look at DSR.
For those of you coming to Las Vegas, you can see Antron at the Toyota NHRA Nationals Fan Fest on Freemont Street at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and meet Don and the rest of the DSR drivers at the New York New York Hotel & Casino from 6-8 p.m. We have a great relationship with New York New York and we’re excited to return. The MGM properties are always fantastic and have great entertainment and dining options.
Thanks for reading my first NHRA.com blog entry. If you’ll be at Las Vegas next weekend, please come say hello. Take care and feel free to follow my travels on Twitter @MeganFessSchu.