Monday, July 2, 2012
Don Schumacher honored Funny Car pioneer, owner of current NHRA 'super team' voted into prestigious International Motorsports Hall
The Chicago area was the perfect location for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame to inform Don Schumacher that he has been selected for induction into the prestigious body's 2013 class.
Bruce Ramey, manager of Hall in Talladega, Ala., told a very surprised Schumacher and members of the Don Schumacher Racing team, family and sponsors on Sunday morning before the start of the NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago, where he grew up.
"It was such a great honor when Bruce told me I had been nominated," an emotional Schumacher said. "This is overwhelming. Wow."
Ramey traveled to Joliet to personally tell Schumacher of the honor and that he will be the 12th member of the drag racing fraternity to be inducted into the Hall that includes the biggest names in all motorsports from throughout the world.
Schumacher could have remained on the ballot for five years but adding to the prestige, he was inducted on a first-ballot vote by an international panel of 120 motorsports journalists.
Schumacher, 67, grew up near Chicago. In the late 1960s he began drag racing and became a pioneer in the experimental Funny Car category. He worked out of a garaged behind his parent's house and won five NHRA national event titles while campaigning up to three Funny Cars on match-racing circuits throughout the country.
In NHRA as a driver, he won five NHRA events, including the prestigious 1970 NHRA U.S. Nationals. He won about 70 percent of 560 races from 1968 to 1974, nine International Hot Rod Association event titles and the 1973 American Hot Rod Association World Championship. In 2007, he was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Today, he employs 120 at his 120,000-square-foot speed factory outside Indianapolis in Brownsburg, that includes shop space for 14 transporters - two for each team - and machine and fabrication shops, hospitality operation along with media, marketing, graphic design and merchandising departments.
DON SCHUMACHER: DRIVER/OWNER (1966-1974)
- 5 National Hot Rod Association national Funny Car event titles
- 9 International Hot Rod Association national Funny Car event titles
- Won about 390 of 560 Funny Car match races
- 1970 NHRA U.S Nationals Funny Car champion
- 1972 Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars Funny Car champion
- 1973 American Hot Rod Association Funny Car series champion
- 2007 Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee
DON SCHUMACHER: NHRA TEAM OWNER (1998-present)
In Don's first full season as a team owner in 1999, he won the NHRA Top Fuel season championship with son Tony Schumacher driving.- 9 NHRA Season Championships
- 7 in Top Fuel Dragster: 1999, 2004-09 (all with driver Tony Schumacher)
- 2 in Nitro Funny Car: 2005 (Gary Scelzi), 2011 (Matt Hagan)
- 183 NHRA Event Titles