Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 12, Page

Tell me something about Don Schumacher that people don’t know.

WB: Don Schumacher has a persona when he’s on TV but that isn’t the same one he has when I've done with business with him. It seems he genuinely tries to accommodate everybody. 

DRO What's he really like to work for as an employee of DSR? 

WB: I can only relate my own experiences of working for him. I was there for six years, almost six years. He's a tough guy, he's demanding and tough and he should be. The first year, I had to take a pretty big cut in pay, but I wanted to go there and so I did, that was my decision.  He's a very tough, hard-nosed businessman and he's successful in that regard, but he was always fair. He paid me what I wanted at the end.  There were times when I know I made him very frustrated. One thing that bothered him was my driving at times. You can't drive a fuel Funny Car perfectly all the time, you just can't. So, the times that you don't, he's not real happy, but on the other hand, after the last race I drove for him he said some really nice things to me at Pomona. I left feeling the door at Schumacher’s is open for me .I feel that we have a good relationship.

How much actual sharing of data goes on between teams, between Top Fuel crew chiefs and Funny Car chiefs?

WB: That comes down to personalities, everyone's got to get along and want to help everyone else. They (crew chiefs) all talk a lot and that doesn't mean that say, Ed McCulloch is going to do something that Todd Okuhara suggests or that Todd is going to do something that Ace suggests, but they all talk. It’s a pretty tight-knit group.

Let's play word association a little bit. Alan Johnson.

WB: Bad ass.

Ed McCulloch.

WB: Bad ass.

Todd Okuraha

WB: Young bad ass. Todd's really come into his own. This is really his opportunity to be a guy in charge and he's done just a tremendous job.  There were growing pains for him, but he's tuned the quickest and fastest Funny Car.

What do you think about Dan Olson being the Top Fuel/Funny Car guru? Did you read his interview in DRO?

WB: Yeah, I did. That was good, by the way. I think it's interesting. I think things are going to be different with Olson having that job. I think he's going to approach the job a little differently than Ray Alley did, but what was interesting was that PRO wanted a person in position. When Ray Alley came on board he quickly became NHRA’s guy and it wasn't always easy on the racers. That is a challenging job because there are a lot of question marks in the classes right now. There are problems and they need to be solved and that's the person (Olson) who is involved in solving them now.

There's always been rumors that Ray Alley and Alan Johnson had a special relationship. Do you think there's anything to that?

WB: I have no idea. I've never heard that.

If you talk to some other tuners and teams about that subject they are very adamant that they believe Alan or the Army team got special treatment from Ray.

WB: It's hard to say. I would say that there's a misperception that Don (Schumacher) gets special treatment from NHRA, but I can assure you that he does not. In fact, he is not one of their favorite people normally because Don pushes the envelope.

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