An eventful trip to BaytownTuesday, April 29, 2014
Posted by: Megan Schumacher, Don Schumacher Racing
Hello again all. I’m back in Florida after a fairly fruitful weekend in muggy, clammy, sultry Baytown, Texas. It was oppressively damp all weekend long, which created some challenging race conditions for the crew chiefs.
What a great weekend of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing! Seth Angel and the staff at Royal Purple Raceway did a great job and the fan attendance was tremendous. That stands were packed all weekend long and we are so appreciative of the support from all the Lone Star Staters who flocked to Baytown to support our sport. Thank you!
We got to town early afternoon on Friday before Q1. It was an exciting weekend for us as we were able to launch the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car with Jack Beckman’s team. The announcement on April 11 was exciting for all of us at DSR and Oakley, but to see that car hit the race track to spread the word for an incredible cause was really moving. The outpouring of support from the fans all weekend long was just awesome. We raised more than $6,000 for the IHF in three days trackside at Royal Purple Raceway.
Jack and Alan Reinhart put countless effort into spreading the word about the Infinite Hero coins to those in attendance at the Houston race. The gist of the program is this; the coins are an Infinite Hero version of a military challenge coin, similar to what the squadrons carry. Each lap down the track, Jack will carry six to eight IHF coins in the pockets of his fire suit. After the run, he will personally sign them and give them to anyone who makes a $100 donation to the Infinite Hero Foundation. We will take cash or check trackside.
Now we’ve gotten a flood of questions from people that don’t or can’t attend an NHRA race that would like a coin and want to contribute. We are working on the details, but hope to announce a program for that real soon. Stay tuned!
It was almost a dream weekend for the IHF/Valvoline Funny Car team. Jack qualified well in the No. 2 spot and advanced to the final round. Following an eventful semifinal win over DSR teammate Ron Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts team, members from many of the DSR teams were in Jack’s pit area getting that Dodge Charger ready for a final round battle. There was a lot of work to be done, including some welding, new wiring, and of course, a back-up body. It’s was a remarkable effort and shows that we truly are one team at DSR. Jack and the Rob Flynn-led team came up just a tad short to Robert Hight and that JFR Auto Club team, but it was a tremendous effort and we couldn’t be more proud. Oh, and the IHF Funny Car won Best Appearing Car honors. That was a fun way to start Sunday morning. It’s a beautiful car, don’t you agree?
Saturday morning was exciting for me. I got to jump back in the seat of Spencer’s Battery Extender dragster to warm the car before Q3. I got to do the entire warm-up process this time. It’s a great learning experience for me to understand our cars. It’s such a blast to sit in a Top Fuel dragster with 10,000 horsepower cackling just inches behind your head. A big thank you to Todd Okuhara, Phil Shuler, Spencer and the entire team.
Amongst all the action going on in Baytown, we got to say hello and play host to our old friend Angelle Drago. Angelle truly is a rock star. The fans still love her and it seemed to be very humbling for her to see the outpouring of support and ‘we miss yous’ for Angelle. It was great to see her and her beautiful little daughter, Ava, at the race track. Amidst the hype to see who wins the coveted 100th female Wally trophy, it was important to have Angelle involved considering her many accomplishments in NHRA drag racing.
Angelle’s cousin, Billie Jo, is Antron Brown’s wife. So Angelle is very close with the Brown’s. Therefore it was fitting that Angelle was able to celebrate with Antron and the Matco Tools team in the winner’s circle on Sunday afternoon.
Houston is a special place for AB. He scored his first of now 28 Top Fuel wins there six years ago as a Top Fuel rookie. As boiling as Baytown was last weekend, that Matco Tools team led by Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald are evening hotter. Dating back to the St. Louis race last September, Antron has been to seven of the last 10 Top Fuel final rounds with five wins, including three this season and the last two races. With his 44th career Wally, AB put a DSR car in first place in the standings for the first time this season.
It was almost a dream scenario that darn Robert Hight spoiled. Mike O’Guin works on Antron’s dragster. He’s the clutch specialist. His now wife, Marla, works as the clutch assistant on Jack’s Funny Car. They were married just about a month ago. What an awesome experience for both their cars to be in the final round. It was a bummer when Jack’s car came up short, but we know that Hollywood ending for Mike and Marla isn’t too far off. That will be special.
I’m back in school taking finals this week. I’m almost done! That’s exciting. I will graduate the weekend of the NHRA race near Atlanta in Commerce, Ga. on May 17. Then it’s time to make the big move to Indy. Mom and I are actually going to spend a day in Indy later this week house hunting. It’s both nervous and exciting at the same time. I hate missing races, but I missed Atlanta last year for graduation and Antron and Johnny Gray doubled-up. Hopefully our DSR teams can give me the best graduation present again, a Wally!
That’s it for now. Don will be at the shop in Brownsburg this week. I hope you all have a great week and thanks for reading.