Tony Schumacher, who has built his legacy as the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history on the strength of a class-record nine Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Top Fuel victories, used some more Indy magic to collect his second victory in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Schumacher, at the wheel of his Mike Green-tuned Don Schumacher Racing U.S. Army dragster, defeated DSR teammate Leah Pritchett and her Papa John’s Pizza-backed rail, 3.71, 328.86 to 3.738, 317.05.
"I think we should run most every race here at Indy — I’m going to petition for it because this place from the day we showed up here 20 years ago has been magic,” said Schumacher, who made his Pro debut at this event in 1996. “I can’t say enough about Mike Green and Neal [Strausbaugh] and the job that they’ve done, and my teammates stepped up to the plate and made me drive like a champ. Those guys are truly awesome, and racing your teammates, it’s the hardest group on the planet because you know the parts and pieces are the best, and you know the drivers are great. I love being here. I love winning $100,000 for my team. It’s awesome. They’re the greatest team on Earth, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.
“It’s complicated because you’re also qualifying, you know, and you roll in there a little deeper to go out and win the race. We want to win that $100,000 but not give up too much. There was some discussion. The guys said, ‘Let’s go out there and win this $100,000. The car will be fast enough to qualify in the top half anyways.’ Great car, great team, just happy to be here.
“I love coming to this racetrack. I love winning this Shootout. It’s amazing. Traxxas has been such a blessing for all the racers.”
Schumacher, winner of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout $100,000 bounty in 2014, added a second score and gave DSR its fourth win in five Shootout events, following teammate Antron Brown (2015), whom he beat in the semifinals, and former teammate Spencer Massey. The only other driver to win the Shootout is Shawn Langdon, who now drives for DSR and who was defeated in the other semifinal by Pritchett.
Seven racers qualified for the Traxxas Shootout by winning a Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event earlier this season, and Terry McMillen filled the eighth spot by winning a lottery drawing. Schumacher scored his win in Denver; Pritchett got her win, the first of her Top Fuel career, in Phoenix.
Tony Schumacher, far lane, defeated Leah Pritchett, 3.71, 328.86 to 3.738, 317.05, to win the Traxxas Nitro Shootout.