Schumacher has put together the largest number
of drag racing vehicles ever under one banner.
The U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster is driven by his
son, Tony. Whit Bazemore drives the Matco Tools
Funny Car and Gary Scelzi driven the FC sponsored
by Oakley. Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown race
the U.S. Army-sponsored Pro Stock Bikes, and Larry
Morgan drives the Mopar-backed Pro Stock. And,
Schumacher says he is looking to add more to the
stable. DRO West Coast Editor Darr Hawthorne spoke
with Schumacher in Sonoma and filed this report.
DRO: You quit
racing funny cars in 1974, why did you come
Schumacher: Really I came back because of Tony. Tony got involved in
the sport and he was driving for the Peek Brothers. He got involved in
the sport with a Super Stock Chevy, 1967 Chevelle that I bought him.
One thing led to another and as he got into the Top Fuel ranks he was
runnin' in a car that wasn't as competitive as I would like it to be.
He was doing a great job. I just put a program together.
DRO: Is it more fun to race with your son, now?
Schumacher: Oh definitely. At times it's definitely more fun to race
with your son, but it's very concerning to have your son be a driver
sitting in one of these 330-plus mile an hour Top Fuel dragsters -- the
fear of something happening.
DRO: Tony said that in the wake of Darrell Russell's death that he
might prefer to run a Funny Car.
Schumacher: Tony has commented about that. We'll see how things
progress this year and make that decision after the year is over.
Do you treat your son any differently than you
treat any of your other hired help?
Schumacher: I'm sure I do. He'd be the one who would have to answer
that rather than me, but from my business experience, you'll always
expect more out of your family than you do out of a regular employee.
And, you demand more from your family. So I'm sure he gets some of that
situation to where I'm probably a little bit harder on him or go at him
harder than I would, say Gary Scelzi or Antron Brown or Larry Morgan.
DRO: Is that
how he has emerged as a leader? The way that
he runs the U.S. Army recruiting meetings here
at the track, he has become a real spokesman
for Schumacher Racing and for the U.S. Army.
Tony is a great personality. Yes, he's my son,
but I truthfully believe wholeheartedly that
he is the best speaker out here in this sport.
He does a fantastic job of it. That comes from
his heart, not from me pushing him or directing
him. That's all inside of him and something
that he chooses to do.