DRO: Do you get a sense that because Goodyear came out with a new tire, that NHRA added the driver shields, changed the wing angle, cut back to 85%, that there's an air of complacency that has come back? Yet the tires are still chunking.

Schumacher: Oh, there is no complacency, at all. We are all working very hard to try to resolve the issue. Goodyear is working very hard at it. NHRA is working very hard at it. The teams are making many major adjustments in the way they run their racecars in the middle of a season; in the middle of a championship fight which really throws everybody a
lot of curve balls. We are not complacent about this. We continue to try to make changes to make it better.

Goodyear is working hard at it all the time. They were chunking tires up in Seattle. We didn't have any of that issue in Denver, at all. Denver's a unique place because of the lack of down-force because of the lack of air that's up there. Is it down-force? That's one of the reasons we changed the angle of the wing here. To say, okay it's down- force. Well, Friday night, there were a few cars off that chunked some tires and you know, the racetrack is colder. It is stickier out there- everything hangs together harder. Is that the reason? Or, is it because we can tune the cars up at night and put more horsepower on 'em? If we had the answer -- what is causing the problem -- it would be fixed today. We don't have that answer. Undoubtedly, as of yet, we continue to work, investigate, look at it and continue to make changes. Goodyear has made changes that they believe solve the problem. They're working very, very hard at it. We all have some other little unique ideas of changes that could possibly be made but we really have to continue to get together and meet and try to decide what is the best avenue to go down.

DRO: Do you think ground effects are a natural progression for Top Fuel?

Schumacher: Boy, that's a difficult one. Ground effects would cause such a financial impact out here. For teams that are fully funded and in very good shape that's not an issue. But for teams that are under funded -- that's a real issue. So we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater, per se, and say let's all go to ground effects and make these changes. It would be a very costly step for everybody and some teams just wouldn't be able to survive. So, we have to look at what's best for everybody and everything.

DRO: What do you think of Steve Plueger's idea with Dale Pulde driving and actually qualifying a Funny Car with a single mag and single fuel pump?

Schumacher: They've run that type of technology for a while. It's a unique piece of equipment out there. It's hard to say how that would perform on a real good racetrack, if they ran the whole season and such. But those are some of the things that we've even talked about at some of these group get-togethers with NHRA. Single mag, single pumps, and restrictor plates like they have in NASCAR. There's a lot of ideas, thoughts that come up in these meetings and some of them you take to the next level and consider more and other ones you throw to the side and say, "No, we can't do that."

DRO: Thank you very much for your time.

Schumacher: You're welcome.
Previous INNERviews

Greg Anderson, Part 2 — 7/20/04
Greg Anderson, Part 1 — 7/9/04

Top Fuel Driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. — 6/8/04

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