Winner's circle with the Red Fuel team
Austin and Tommy at top end after their win!
Hello again everyone!
And then there was one…Yep, that’s right, just one more race. It’s so hard to believe that we are just a week away from Pomona where we will wrap up the 2014 season by crowning champions after an incredible year.
We all knew going into Vegas that it was going to be interesting, and it definitely was. With Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team going out in the first round and Spencer Massey winning the event, the Red Fuel team moved all the way up to second in points standings.
Matt Hagan and the Mopar team had the best Funny Car on property at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but came up short in the semifinal round. They have a 21-point lead over John Force going into Pomona where it will all be played out.
I don’t want to talk too much about racing because I want to tell you all about a wonderful young man that we had with us at Las Vegas.
A couple of months ago we got a call from the folks at Make-A-Wish about 17-year-old Austin Zimmerline. His wish was to win a race.
The Nevada chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Terry Chandler, DSR, and NHRA were able to make Austin's wish come true.
We ordered a fire suit, helmet and autograph cards, just like every NHRA driver has, for Austin. We reached out to Doug Foley who owns Pure Speed Drag Racing School that has two-seat Super Comp dragsters.
Doug was all in and even put Austin’s name and Make-A-Wish branding on the car. The weekend started out with Austin and his family joining us at New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Austin joined all of the DSR drivers on Thursday night for the autograph session and we immediately knew that the weekend was just going to get better and better.
Austin has a contagious smile, laugh and an incredible personality, he was picking on all of the other DSR drivers all weekend.
We decided that if Austin was going to race, he needed to race the best of the best so we put him with Tommy Johnson Jr. and they raced world champions Jack Beckman and Antron Brown.
Austin and TJ defeated Jack and Antron with a lap of 9.153 seconds at more than 140 mph.
Don and I with his birthday gift made by Cold Hard Art.
At the top end, when Austin and TJ’s got their helmets off, Austin’s smile got even bigger than it already was and TJ’s smile was just as big. NHRA awarded Austin his very own Wally trophy, winner’s hat and even a check!
Austin, TJ, Terry Chandler and his parents rode the Mello Yello Express up the return road and in front of the fans and they all stood up, cheering and clapping for him. It’s hard to explain the overwhelming feeling of support that all of the NHRA fans gave Austin.
It brought tears to all of our eyes and was one of the greatest moments that I’ve seen in NHRA drag racing. If you were there on property, or even watched it on ESPN and supported Austin from home, THANK YOU. We were able to make his wish come true and there’s no feeling quite like it.
On Tuesday, we celebrated Don’s birthday. I had Tom Patsis, who works in our fab shop and also has his own art company, Cold Hard Art, create a Wahoo (Don’s favorite fish) out of Funny Car parts. He did an outstanding job and Don absolutely loved it!
Don also wanted me to let you all know that he read all of the happy birthday wishes that you all posted on social media and he was very thankful that so many of you took a minute to wish him a happy birthday.
We’re going to take this weekend off, to relax and get ready for Pomona, what is sure to be the biggest race of our season. Hope to see you there!
Thanks all for reading,
Happy race week! It feels so good to finally say that again. It has been a busy three weeks off and I think I can speak for everyone at DSR by saying that we can’t wait to get back to the track this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With three weeks off, the guys and gals back at the shop have been hard at it but also have been able to enjoy a little time off. With four events in a row, there was a lot of service work to do, a few Funny Car body repairs and some early prep for the 2015 season going on these past few weeks.
I’ve spent some quality time with the folks at Schumacher Electric these past few weeks, learning the ins and outs of the business. We’ve been working a lot with the Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher product and it’s great to see it out in the market now. If you’re using it, be sure to tweet me @MeganFessSchu and let me know how much you love it!
Our racing friend Mike Jenkins, owner of Traxxas, and my friend Keli were married at the gorgeous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, earlier this month. They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend. It was such an amazing venue and a beautiful wedding. It was fun to spend the weekend with so many of our racing friends away from the race track.
My next two weekends off were spent enjoying football and the beautiful fall weather we’ve been having! Some of my friends and I spent last Sunday at the Bears-Dolphins game. Unfortunately Da Bears were unable to get the win but we had a great time anyway.
This past weekend I went up to East Lansing, Mich., for the Michigan-Michigan St. game. We were there cheering on the Michigan St. Spartans en route to their big rivalry win over Michigan. It was so much fun!
Last Friday, we hosted an early Halloween celebration for the kiddos of DSR. The crew guys who won’t be able to spend Halloween with their families got to bring in their kids, all dressed up, for some crafts, snacks and trick-or-treating. Our staff even dressed up for the occasion. Thanks to all the DSR families who participated, while I wasn’t able to be there this year, I won’t miss it next time!
Now our focus shifts to Las Vegas where we kick things off on Thursday evening with our annual DSR autograph session at New York-New York Hotel and Casino. NYNY is our home away from home when we are in Vegas twice a year and it’s always a huge turnout for the autograph session.
It is crazy to think that we just have two races left in our Mello Yello NHRA season. Where did the time go?? It’s been another incredible year for our organization with 19 wins and counting!
My brother Tony and the U.S. Army team are in position for their 8th championship title and Matt Hagan is leading the way in Funny Car points by less than two rounds over No. 2 John Force. Needless to say, Vegas will be an important race for the DSR teams. No doubt we will be on pins and needles come Sunday.
We are running a special discount right now on our DSR online store. Visit http://store.shoeracingstore.com/ 15 percent off your order! Also, we just added some new items on our eBay store, including those Jack Beckman Infinite Hero Foundation coins with proceeds going to the IHF. Check it out at http://www.ebay.com/sch/shoe_racing/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=
Before I go, I’d also like to welcome veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock to our DSR family. He will be a great addition to our tuners in 2015 and beyond and we are excited to have him.
Have a great race week everyone and I hope to see you in Vegas!
Hello NHRA.com friends! It’s Wednesday after an amazing weekend in Reading, Pa., that I am so excited to talk to you all about.
By watching the weather forecast for a week or so before the event, we all knew what we were getting into at Maple Grove Raceway and our crew chiefs couldn’t wait to get on track to see how low they could go.
We had so much going on this weekend with two Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” cars. The fan support over these cars is just absolutely amazing and Jack’s Funny Car even won Best Appearing Car. It was so awesome to have people come by the pits and check out the cars and look for their names or the names of someone that they know.
Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team led by crew chief Mike Green continued their dominance in the Countdown to the Championship by taking the No. 1 spot in the final qualifying session with a 3.735-second pass.
When we all woke up on Sunday morning, it was freezing! It was so cold that you could see your breath. We all knew that Sunday was going to be an interesting day; we just didn’t know how it would all work out.
It turned out to be a very good day for DSR.
Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. reached the final round, so we knew we were guaranteed a win. It was a crazy final round, TJ’s car lost traction, Matt’s car exploded in a fireball but he held on for the win and took over the points lead in Funny Car with just two races left. Rumor has it Matt’s explosive win made SportsCenter Top 10 plays, which is awesome!
Tony won his 77th career race, 700th round win and pushed DSR past JFR for the most wins as an organization with 238 event titles. The U.S. Army team now has a commanding lead over the rest of the dragster field but we have to remember that we have two races left and anything can happen.
Whoa, that’s a lot for us to digest! Good thing we have three weeks off to regroup and get rested up before we head out to Las Vegas and Pomona to close out our season.
Just because we have three weeks off doesn’t mean the work stops. The Matco Tools team has already been on two displays even before they went home. Antron and the team got to check out the Matco Tools toolbox plant in New York and then they stopped in Ohio so Antron could speak to Tech Ed students at Ohio Tech College.
Don, my mom and I went up to the “Big Apple” for a day of fun and relaxation on Monday after the race. I always love exploring different cities and we had a lot of fun and just enjoyed the day. We also enjoyed the famous frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. If you’re ever in NYC, it is a must have. After a fun day in the city we headed down to Washington, D.C. for a special day.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Army team along with Don, my mom and I and a few DSR staff and NHRA officials were invited for a private tour of the Pentagon and visited Arlington National Cemetery. It was such an amazing honor and experience! I learned so much and really enjoyed seeing our nation’s capital.
Everyone else is back at the shop working away getting caught up from the last four races. We will be back in action before we know it and I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on at the shop and what we have going on in Las Vegas in my next blog!
Thanks for reading.
Greetings NHRA.com blog readers! We are nearing the end of our fall four-race swing and overall it has been quite a month for the DSR group.
With the exception of the U.S. Nationals in Indy, we have earned at least one title at every event this month. With Tony and Matt getting the Charlotte event wins, Tony getting the win in Dallas and Antron scoring the victory in St. Louis last weekend, things are looking pretty strong in our camp and it couldn’t come at better time with the Countdown to the Championship in full swing.
I don’t know what it is about St. Louis but that Matco Tools team has won there four out of the last five times we’ve raced there. That’s pretty impressive. Antron says he thinks that he was born in St. Louis but his mom just forgot to tell him.
I’m always excited to get to St. Louis to see some of my family who join us out at the races. I have two adorable little cousins that support DSR in their mini polo’s that just make us all melt from the cuteness. It’s nice to get in a little family time while at the races.
Now that it is October, I can tell you about some special things we have going on this month for breast cancer awareness month. We will have two pink cars when we head to Maple Grove Raceway this weekend.
Most of you may remember that the past few years Antron and the Matco Tools team have gone pink and they will do that again this year with the Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” campaign. But Jack Beckman’s Funny Car will also be pink with the Matco Tools black and pink colors on board this weekend supporting Susan G. Komen.
Matco is running a special promotion called #IDriveFor and Antron’s dragster and Jack’s Funny Car are covered with names of more than 1,000 individuals who have fought breast cancer.
Join us on social media this month and tell us who you drive for by tweeting @matcotools and @shoeracing with the hashtag #IDriveFor. The Matco Tools for the Cause program has raised more than $425,000 for Susan G. Komen. Also, when Matco customers purchase limited edition pink tools, Matco donates 15 percent of the sale to Komen with a guaranteed minimum donation of $100,000.
It is an amazing program that everyone at DSR is proud to be a part of. We can’t wait to see the cars hit the track this weekend at Maple Grove.
Spencer Massey will also have a different look this weekend as he is running the Odyssey Battery dragster. Their headquarters are just down the road from Maple Grove so we will have a lot of their employees out this weekend to cheer on DSR and Spencer’s team.
I think everyone is anxious to get to Maple Grove this weekend. It has a history of being fast and producing record runs and I think all of our crew chiefs will be itching to hit the track.
After these four consecutive races we take a three week break before heading out west to Las Vegas and then Pomona for the big finale. We’ll all be taking a deep breath and getting rested and recharged for those final two races. It’s crazy to think that our season is almost over. It has been a fun year already and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
That’s all of the exciting news I have to share with you for now. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @MeganFessSchu while we are at the races this weekend for a behind the scenes look!
I’ll be back next week!