DSR Blog

Keeping Up With Don Schumacher Racing

Whirlwind season in full swing

Whew! What a whirlwind of four consecutive races with highs lows and everything in between. After four races in four weeks, there is a lot to cover in this blog.

Starting off in Bristol, Tenn., for Father's Day weekend the Mopar Express Lane team was confident coming in and started out good in qualifying going down the track in tricky conditions and qualifying 8th, heading into eliminations we had our lucky charm with us once again our buddy Nolan Lopez was back and things where looking good.

With a first round match up against Chad Head we went right down Broadway as they say and got a much needed round win and lane choice for our 2nd round match up against Del Worsham. We got that one in a close race decided upon by a hole shot. Our driver got us another round win. 

Heading into the semis we faced a tough opponent in our teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team. With another great race this time we had come up short. TJ advanced to the final and ended up winning the event. A big congratulations to the entire Make-A-Wish team.

Then we moved onto Epping N,H. The car was running strong once again with great runs in the heat we were excited for race day. And low and behold who would we face once again? John Force, big time first round match up. We came up short first round as the car ran slower than we anticipated and lost a very close race. Hey we win some and lose some.

Heading to Chicago where things get good! Our car comes out and runs 2nd low elapsed time of the first session and we were happy. Our night session struggles continued as we didn't make a full pull q2 but for q3 the car was right back where it should be and was the fastest of the session.

After qualifying was said and done we were 10th facing our teammate Jack Beckman in the first round. This was an important race as we are in a heated battle for the 10th spot in the Countdown. With a very nice opening run on race day we advanced onto the 2nd round to face Bob Bode. Dickie and Stretch (Mike Knudsen) making the right calls once again we went right down the track to another round win.

Then we faced teammate Ron Capps in the semis. With a great drag race our driver got the team another round win on a hole shot. Now heading to the final, our first on since the Winternationals, our team was pumped and the pressure was on. With live television coverage, the service time cut to 55 minutes. No room for error!! With a planned engine swap and a little help from our teammates on Spencer Massey’s Schumacher Electric team and some of the guys from Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army car.

The service went flawless and we were warmed up and ready in less than 40 minutes. It was one of the best team efforts and services I had personally been a part of in my racing career. Onto to the final we go facing TJ and that Make-A-Wish team once again. With a great drag race once again, we FINALLY got our first win of the season!! I believe it was also the first time a DSR Funny Car beat all three of his teammates en route to a win, so that’s pretty cool. Our teammates are the toughest competition out there so to get wins over them is pretty satisfying.

The nerves and feelings don't go away as the day goes on until you've seen that final win light of the day! It's a feeling hard to put into words. It's relief, joy, pride, and sheer happiness all combined into one feeling. The team celebrated with cheers and hugs on the starting line.

Our body and tire specialist MUDD (Brian Antrim) finally got his first win as well! And whenever a first time winner is around this special group of guys in the Winners Circle he has the celebratory Mello Yello bath! Lead by Dickie we surrounded him with ice cold cans of Mello Yello and proceeded to drench him. Which at first was probably pretty cooling on that particularly warm day. But soon after the stickiness of the Mello Yello set in for him. That's all part of the fun for us as we all know from experience.

After a great team dinner that night we focused on Norwalk the following weekend. Heading into that race we had some momentum and a race car that would cooperate. Running great once again in qualifying we ended up 4th, which was one of our better starting spots of the season. Eliminations came and the car was there again low elapsed time of first round and then running into teammate Ron Capps second round. But then we had a driver error as Matt red lit which is very uncommon for him as he is one of the best leavers in the business.

But as he said his foot said it was time to go. All drivers have those miscues from time to time. We win and lose as a team. Four races in four weeks is done and what a whirlwind it was with a lot of hard work and traveling.

We took last weekend off but were busy throughout the week preparing for the Western Swing that starts in Denver, then to Sonoma, Calif., and then Seattle.

As the season is over halfway thru now we are building our confidence lap after lap and making some ground in the points moving to 8th as of now. The swing is a crucial three races at this point.

Heading into Denver we are confident in going rounds and gaining points.

Stay tuned folks it’s starting to get good!

Thanks for reading,

Alex

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Off on four in a row adventure

Hello again blog readers!

After 9 races into the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season our Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team is starting to find our stride and each race we are getting better. After the last 3 races that were all in a row our team is starting to feel more comfortable and we know it’s only a matter of time until we put our Funny Car in the Winner’s Circle again.

Recapping Atlanta we went there ready to go rounds and that we did. After a decent showing in qualifying we came out swinging and made it to the semifinals for the first time in a while. We were pleased with the performance as we packed up and headed to Topeka. Topeka is a special track for “Sweet Chuck” Terry Prososki and me. We both have been attending races there since we were young kids. In front of old friends and family you always want do well. We came out running good in qualifying ended up 4th one of our best qualifying efforts in a while.

Headed into race day we faced Chad Head and came up on the short end of a good side by side drag race. Even though it was a first round exit once again this year, we continue to learn and grow as a team.

We held our heads high, stayed motivated and we headed back to the shop for a quick day to grab some more parts and make our way to Englishtown. Going into Englishtown we knew we needed to run hard as the conditions were stellar to say the least.

We came out strong with a 4.09 and were pleased. We pushed the envelope through the rest of qualifying that was our best effort heading into race day. We had that pesky old man in John Force first round. It's always a major match-up racing him. Our team gets pumped up racing him whether it be first round, final round or even qualifying, we want to beat that car!

This time we had the upper hand after it was said and done. Running the not-so-favorite right lane first round we went right down the track for the win light. Pumped up and confident we went about our business in the pits in our normal manner.

For those who have been to the races you know our pit will always have a little music playing and now and then you will even see a few of the crew singing while servicing the car. That particular day was a Garth Brooks greatest hits kind of day. At one point in time the whole team was a singing together even Matt!

The second round we ran into our teammate Fast Jack Beckman and came up a little short. Our 4.12 losing to his 4.13, a tough one to lose. Even though we were done for the day, we had confidence again and knowing we have a whole lot of racing coming up we are hungry and motivated for a win.

Back to the shop we went and started preparing for 4 races in a row. We loaded up more rods and pistons, cylinder heads, engines, tires, freshening up the blower and clutch packs. Our team works very well together and diligently making sure the smallest of details are covered in our preparation. It's going be a very exciting and busy four weeks coming up.

The Mopar Express Lane/ Rocky Boots team is ready for the challenges and adventures we will face. Stay tuned and follow our progress. Thanks again for reading.

Alex

Posted In: Matt Hagan

A win coming soon

Hello blog readers, sorry for the delay in the latest blog.

As the season has been going our team has had a few struggles and learning curves. We have persevered through the hardships and we feel as if we have turned a corner after the Four-Wide race at zMAX Dragway.

We have been hard at work preparing the car for Houston where we will debut the Rocky Boots paint scheme for their first race of the year. To recap the past three races, we struggled slightly in Gainesville and lost first round.

In a meeting with the team that Sunday afternoon our crew chief Dickie Venables made the decision that we needed to go another direction with our set-up we had been trying as we went to Vegas.

Heading into Vegas the our team morale was still high. The whole team believes in our leaders Dickie and assistant crew chief Mike Knudsen, knowing that if we do our jobs correctly that they will get the hot rod running good. We showed great signs of progress when we were low ET of the first 3 sessions of qualifying in Vegas.

Heading into race day in Vegas we felt confident in our chances until we lost traction and were first round runner-ups again. We had planned on staying Monday in Vegas to test and actually had a very good test session. The car showed more signs of progress.

It's funny how the performance of the car can affect the mood. It’s just the highs and lows of racing I guess. We went back to the shop and started preparing for the Four-Wide. We all had smiles and high spirits knowing that race was next. zMAX Dragway was very good to us last year where we won the Four-Wide race and were runner-up in the fall event.

But we also had a special trick up our sleeves as our good friend and honorary crew member Nolan Lopez was going to be at the race. We had met Nolan last year there and he brought us very good luck at the races he went to. We won three of the races he was at last year so we were all ready to have him back in our pit. He always brightens our day with the smiles and his positive attitude.

He has been learning more and more each time he comes out to a race. Just recently Terry Prososki was teaching Nolan how to put a cylinder head on the car. At every race he comes to he has his routine and role he plays with our team. We are very fortunate to have him on our side.

The weekend in Concord didn't turn out too bad but we lost in the second round. But we did have a renewed confidence with our trusty car. Each lap this season we have learned valuable information.. The results aren't what we’ve hoped for yet as we want to win at every race.

As the season progresses we are all feeling a win coming soon. We are also hoping to break in our body and tire guy “Mud” (Brian Antrim) as he is the newest member of our team and has yet to visit the Winner’s Circle.

The thrill of victory is something that can't be put into words. We are all excited and ready for Houston with the Rocky Boots car. Until next time … thanks for reading everyone.

Alex

 

Pomona and Phoenix in the books

Hello DSR blog readers!

This week’s installment will be looking back at the highlights of the first two races of the NHRA Mello Yello Series season.

It was a good feeling getting to Pomona for the Winternationals. Nothing is more exciting than the first qualifying session of the season. We came out and ran well with a 4.07, which was 3rd quick for the round. After qualifying was said and done we ended up 10th.

As race day rolled around our crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant “Stretch” Mike Knudsen had come up with a game plan. If you haven’t seen Mike he’s the tall, skinny guy that towers over everyone on our team and everyone at the shop too. Be sure to look for him assisting Dickie on ESPN2 at our next race.

We ran Courtney Force in the first round at Pomona. After winning first round, one of the parachutes failed to blossom and Matt and the Mopar Express Lane Funny Car took a trip to the beach, also known as the sand trap.

With a little extra work involved we had to thrash in between rounds to get the car cleaned off and ready to go. It was a comfortable feeling though as the car returned to the pits and we saw a few crew members from both the U.S. Army team and the Valvoline team were there ready and waiting to help. It truly is a total team effort at DSR.

We made it to the final round and raced John Force. We struck the tires around 60 feet into the run. The results weren't a win but we were happy going rounds and getting back into the grove of things.

We then went on to Phoenix after a day of servicing all the parts and components it takes to race while still in Pomona. After a week off we were back and ready to go again. Phoenix started well as we ran low ET of the first session of qualifying, then a little bit of struggle set in for the next three runs as we were trying to push the envelope and run harder.

We qualified 11th and had to face our teammate Jack Beckman in the first round. With one of the best side by side races of the first round, we came up just a little bit short. Jack’s car had damaged a rear end during the run and even though the Valvoline team defeated us, the Mopar team went over and helped change out the rear end making sure everything was ready for the 2nd round.

We stayed and tested on Monday after Phoenix and made five runs. We were pleased with the results we packed up and headed home. After the drive back home we had a little time off and we are back to the grind now preparing everything for the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., next week.

The team is all on the same page and we are excited and ready to roll. Hopefully we will have some exciting news to report after Gainesville. Spirits are high and the fun meter is pegged.

Thanks again for reading!

Alex

Posted In: Team DSR

From wrenching to writing

Hello blog readers!

I'm Alex Conaway and I will be blogging this seasons ups, downs, ins and outs for the DSR Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Funny Car driven by Matt Hagan.

It will be an insider’s look at things as a crew member on a nitro car. First and foremost I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and please bear with me as I'm new to the blogging world.

Let’s take a step back real quick and look at 2013. After the 2013 season came to an end in a positive note winning the NHRA Finals at Pomona, our team regrouped after a much needed vacation and got back to work. We were all very happy to see our leader and crew chief Dickie Venables back in good spirits and in good health! We really missed him in Pomona and it felt great to bring that Wally back to Brownsburg and share it with him.

This off season was pretty standard. We spent it building new cars, developing parts and pieces to make these cars quicker, faster and safer. The off season is always a chance to get caught up and try to get ahead with parts inventory and new projects. As usual it comes down to the wire getting everything prepared. We were able to accomplish our goals of being ready to go testing at the Pro Winter Warm-up near West Palm Beach, Fla., in January.

We were all glad to get out of the artic that has been Brownsburg this offseason. As many of you have read online or maybe even saw on Bangshift.com, we had a decent test session as track conditions were tricky the first few days. It took many different ideas and approaches to navigate the track.

By the time Friday had rolled around we were ready to put on a show for all the fans that came out in Florida. The car ran well and responded to changes we made. As a crew guy it's always a relief when the car runs well. It's nerve-racking for everyone when performance isn't there. We made a total of 18 runs while we were there with our best being a 4.04 at 321 mph. The smiles were back on all of our faces after that.

The mindset has now switched to Pomona!  We left the shop in Brownsburg just in time to get ahead of the winter weather that is headed that way. Keep us all on your mind as we head to Pomona. The team has prepared everything to the best of our abilities. Fortunately our team has seasoned veterans in every position and we can handle almost any obstacle thrown our way and generally do it with a smile or cracking a joke.

We tend to try and keep the mood light and have fun. When it's time to race this team is all business. We have a few goals going into this season first and we want to improve from last season. It was a very good year, winning five races and finishing 2nd in the points but we want to move up to that number one spot at the end of the season.

Hopefully with a lot of hard work, smart decisions, and a little bit of Lady Luck we can achieve that. Stay tuned as the wheel turns and the nitro burns. It will be my pleasure giving the insiders scoop on our year!

Alex

The end of the 2013 season

We just wrapped up the 2013 NHRA Mello Yellow season and what a crazy year it has been. It has been a very exciting year of NHRA racing, but not the finish to the season we had hoped for in the DSR camp.

I arrived to So Cal early Thursday morning with plenty of time to make our one and only qualifying pass around 2:30 p.m. This is the last time we’ll have the unique Pomona qualifying format with one lap each on Thursday and Friday. Beginning at the 2014 Winternationals we will have a normal three-day race weekend in Pomona. 

We saw warmer then normal temperatures at Pomona on Thursday and Friday, but teams were still able to make some great runs. The Pomona track was in great shape. After Thursday, Jack and the MTS team held the provisional pole heading into Friday. The team ran a 4.077-second pass. Antron, who still had a chance at the championship, ended up second to Shawn Langdon.

On Friday, we saw a shift in the qualifying order, with Matt Hagan and the Mopar/Rocky team, led by assistant crew chief Michael Knudsen, in the fourth spot. The team’s crew chief, Dickie Venables, was back in Indy recovering from a medical procedure that kept Dickie sidelined for the final race of the season. Matt’s team was extra motivated to do well for Dickie. 

We saw cooler temps and more great racing on Saturday. There was a little drama in the final qualifying session, Matt moved to No. 2 at 4.01 and Antron went into Q4 101 points behind Shawn. He had to be 99 heading into race day to have a mathematical chance. On the final lap, both Shawn and the Matco team were going after it and smoked the tires giving the ’13 Mello Yello title to the Al-Anabi team. 

On race day, it was a tough day for our dragsters. Antron made it to round two, but a dropped cylinder ended their day. The Matco car was on an awesome lap until the No. 6 cylinder let go. In Funny Cars, Matt and the Magneti Marelli team carried the torch for team DSR. Matt knocked off Alexis DeJoria and beat DSR teammate Johnny Gray in a close. 

It was sad to see Johnny’s season and DSR driving career come to an end. The Pitch Energy team had a great year with four wins and a terrific season. From all of us at DSR, we hope Johnny enjoys retirement and family time. We know we’ll see Johnny and Terry Gray plenty in 2014.

Matt and the Mopar team then knocked off Cruz Pedregon in the semis setting up the Nos. 1 and 2 drivers in the standings, Matt and John Force in a marquee final round match-up. Both drivers used great .047 of-a-second reaction times and Matt used a solid Mike Knudsen tune-up to go 4.01 to score the win over John’s 4.04. It’s such a great feeling to see the Mopar team get its Funny Car-best fifth win of 2013. They’ll have a lot of momentum heading into next season.

After racing was complete, we had our annual end of the year team dinner in the pits. Overall, we had a great time with our teams and friends and family and, as always, it was a fun way to send off the 2013 NHRA season. 

Today, we are all in Los Angeles or Century City, getting ready for the NHRA Award’s Banquet. It should be a fun night spending time with our team and our competitors before our off-season really begins. Congrats to both the JFR and Al-Anabi teams and we know all the DSR teams will be motivated to come back stronger in ’14.   

I want to say a big thank you to all of you who have followed along with my blog throughout the past two NHRA seasons. I love sharing my experiences with you. I am passing the blogging torch to one of our DSR crew members. They’ll blog about our off-season starting in the next few weeks. They will be providing you a behind the scenes look at what they go through working on these hot rods and our busy off-season that some joke is the on-season during the winter. I will be turning my focus to my NHRA.com blog. So be sure to head over to http://nhra.com/blog/don-schumacher-racing/. You can also keep up with me on social media. 

Thanks for reading,

Megan

 

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Posted In: Team DSR

A Pink Winner's Circle

Hello again. I’m back in Florida gearing up for another week of school in Boca.

We just wrapped up our penultimate – or next to last - race of the season in Las Vegas. It’s been a rough countdown for Team DSR, but it’s crazy to believe that 10 days from now we will be back in Pomona, Calif. to end the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello season.

girlsnightVegas is always busy, but fun. I flew into Las Vegas on Wednesday and was able to have girl’s night out or #GNO with my friends Sarah, Courtney and Brittany from JFR. Rivals on the track, but friends off it. It was fun to enjoy a night off with some of my best friends before the race weekend began. We had dinner at Lavo and a fun night in Las Vegas. 

On Thursday morning, Matt and John Force did a press tour with radio and TV stations to promote the race and the point’s battle. That afternoon, Spencer joined them and a few other drivers at the NHRA presser at the top of the Stratosphere. I went to lunch and walked around the Las Vegas strip with my Mom and Don before we met up with all of our drivers at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino – the long home of DSR in Las Vegas – for the pre-race DSR autograph session. The New York New York always takes such good care of us and offers some great amenities for our crews. There are plenty of dining and entertainment options. We had a great turnout at the autograph signing, so thank you to everyone who came out to visit. Las Vegas does an amazing job of supporting the Fan Fests. It’s so impressive to see so many NHRA supporters come out to these events.

Tony and Jack led qualifying efforts for DSR after Friday. The U.S. Army showed they were ARMY Strong by running a 3.78 to earn the number two spot after day one. The Valvoline Max Life team also captured the number two spot after day one by running a 4.052. Shawn Langdon and Courtney Force led the fields after day one at The Strip at LVMS. 

My Saturday began early in the morning, an early wake-up call and early trip with Don to the track. I was at the track working on homework at 8 a.m. The early trip to the track allows me to catch up on homework in a quiet environment before the 10,000 hp engines roared to life. I did homework while Don attended a PRO board meeting. On the track, we saw some adjusting in the fields, which was a little surprising given the 80-degree temps and sun on the track. I’d say John Force’s 4.01-second pass in Q4 was pretty impressive. We were happy to see all seven DSR teams qualified without any DSR vs. DSR match-ups in the first round on Sunday.

tjWe had an exciting start to our Sunday morning in the DSR pits. We announced that Tommy Johnson, Jr. will be taking the seat being vacated by Johnny Gray in the Pitch Energy car at the end of the season. TJ will be driving a charity-sponsored car for DSR and Johnny’s sister, Terry Chandler. The charity will be named in the future. All of us are so excited for TJ to be driving that car. TJ has always been a close member of our DSR family and it is exciting to see him get the opportunity to race under our umbrella. There were a lot of viable candidates and we thank everyone for showing interest in DSR. If you don’t follow TJ on Twitter, be sure to do so at @TJJR33.

Race day conditions on Sunday set up much like the conditions we had on Friday and Saturday. Antron, Tony, Jack, and Ron were able to advance without a problem. Unfortunately, the same did not go for title contenders Spencer and Matt. It was tough to see both Matt and Spencer’s teams smoke the tires, which pretty-much ended their title hopes. Johnny also lost traction in the Pitch Energy car.

abwinFollowing the second round, we only had Jack and Antron remaining in competition and Antron led us straight to the winner’s circle for the fourth time this season. It was great to see the pink Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” dragster turn on the win light four times on Sunday. Breast cancer awareness is a cause close to our hearts so it was great to see their win bring even more exposure to the cause and Susan G. Komen. It was win No. 218 for DSR and Antron moved into second place in the standings and still remains alive with slim hopes for another Top Fuel title.

Joining Antron in the winner’s circle was our former Pro Stock Bike rider Matt Smith, who along with John Force clinched 2013 NHRA Mello Yello championships. Both Matt and John are great guys, congrats to both of them and their teams on their well-deserved championships. Also in the winner circle was another part of our DSR family, Shane Gray. After a long winless drought it was great to see Shane back in the winner’s circle. Shane has been running really well this year and it was a well-deserved win for the Gray Motorsports Pro Stock team. 

Today, some of our teams are back at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway testing and gearing up for 2014. Following testing, our guys will fly back to Indy before coming back to Vegas and driving to Pomona next Wednesday on Nov. 6. It is crazy how fast this season went and we’ll be testing in Jan. 2014 just two months after the completion of the Finals in a few weeks. It’s like NHRA Groundhog Day.

Have a great week everyone.

Thanks,

Megan

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Posted In: Team DSR

Chasing championships, 2014 & a fun weekend in Madison

Hello again. I hope all is well and you all had a good weekend. Given that we have two off weekends before the Las Vegas race, I wanted to check-in with a quick blog update.

I took full advantage of the off weekend by spending it in Madison, Wisconsin with a group of friends including one of my best friends Taylor. It was homecoming weekend for the University of Wisconsin and I got to attend the Northwestern/Wisconsin football game on Saturday. It’s so fun to experience a school with a large enrollment that encompasses an entire town. My school, Lynn University, is a very small school in Florida. Homecoming is such a fun time and add in a rivalry Big 10 game against a ranked team like Northwestern and the whole town was buzzing all weekend long.

madisonThere’s nothing like college football in the autumn with the changing of the leaves and cooler fall temperatures. And there’s nothing like a big victory in front of the home crowd on homecoming weekend. The Badgers won big, 35-6, over the No. 19 ranked team. That’s two straight losses for NW and a big conference win for the Badgers. I have a lot of friends that attend UW, so it’s like my adopted school.

After the game, we spent the evening on State Street and hung out at a really cool bar called Wando’s. They serve drinks in fishbowls, but I just had Coca-Cola. LOL We have to support our series sponsor. I try to make it to the Wisconsin homecoming game each year and just love the entire experience. I had such a great time and can’t wait to return to Madison.

Last week was a fairly slow week at the DSR shop in Brownsburg. The seven DSR teams played catch up given they have two off weekends. Our teams are gearing up for Las Vegas and Pomona and the conclusion of the 2013 NHRA season. I can’t believe the season will be over in less than a month. It just goes so fast.

We need to have a strong two races if we want to bring another championship or two home to the DSR stable. Matt is about three rounds out in Funny Car and Spencer is four rounds out in Top Fuel. I know the teams are focused on two strong races and we have good track records at both Las Vegas and Pomona. I’m confident we’re going to make a run at this thing.

2014While the teams are challenged with trying to win championships, our front office has been focused on 2014. We did a photo shoot with Tony and the 2014 Army dragster last Thursday and we just got our first painted Matco Tools dragster back from SD Enterprises in Michigan yesterday. When you have seven teams, it’s never too early to get started on the next season. We’ll get a ’14 NAPA Funny Car body back next weekend and the first Valvoline body will go to paint then.

It’s so fun to see the new paint schemes and colors. The Army and Matco dragsters have new schemes and the Matco dragster is very different from what we’ve seen the last few years. The NAPA car will be nearly the same while the Valvoline Funny Car will be different also. The off season is a lot of work, but fun too.

It’s midterm week for me at grad school at Lynn, so I need to get back to studying. I hope you all have a great week and we’ll check in after Las Vegas. All the best.

Thanks for reading,

Megan 

 

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Posted In: Team DSR

Finishing Four-in-a-row in Reading

We just wrapped up a grueling four-race swing to begin the 2013 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. It was our second four-in-a-row this season. Having four weeks in a row is great for us nitro addicts, but also exhausting for all of our hardworking crews, both on the race and hospitality side. 

Leading up to the start of the race weekend our drivers kept busy as usual. Johnny was running the Alex’s Lemonade Stand body again. They ran it at Denver and this is the third straight season that the team has run it at Reading. The relationship with Alex’s developed through our partnership with Service Central.

Johnny flew in early to attend the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a visit with the patients. It’s very similar to our team visit to Riley Hospital in Indy during the U.S. Nationals. Following the visit in Philly, Johnny joined Tony and Matt at Classic Harley-Davidson in Reading for an autograph signing benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand. We had three of our drivers there, along with Johnny’s Alex’s Funny Car. They were raffling off a yellow Harley with all proceeds going to Alex’s. Jack and the Odyssey Battery Funny Car made an appearance at the Odyssey Battery headquarters and Antron had a Matco customer dinner at the track. So, it was a busy Thursday for the DSR drivers.

pinkmatcojackWe had two other new paint schemes this weekend for DSR. Jack ran a new black and red body supporting Odyssey Battery, the official battery of DSR. The Odyssey batteries are made close to the track at Reading at Enersys. For the second year in a row, we had a pink Matco Tools dragster supporting Matco’s “Tools for the Cause” campaign, which benefits the Susan G. Komen foundation. It was great to see Matco Tools and many of our competitors running pink cars to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

We saw blue skies and warm temperatures in the 80s all three days in Reading. Usually when we come here its chilly, cloudy and wet, so it was quite a difference for everyone. After two qualifying sessions on Friday, Tony and Jack led the way for our teams. Jack and the Odyssey Battery team ran a 4.03-second pass. Tony ran a 3.778 second run. Both Jack and Tony left the track Friday night as number three qualifiers.

Until Friday, Matt and his Mopar/Rocky Boots team held the sole possession of the top spot in Funny Car for the last 13 events. John Force joined the three-second club on Friday with the first three-second pass for JFR taking the number one spot away from Matt and the Mopar team. The good thing is that Matt now got to play the role of the hunter and not the hunted.

On Saturday, we saw some consistent passes by our DSR teams. It was a very hit or miss day on the track. Teams would either run well or go up in tire smoke. Our teams focused on finding their race day tune-up since we knew conditions would be similar to race day conditions.  Antron ran 3.79 in the first session and Spencer 3.81 in the final session and our floppers made some solid laps as all seven DSR cars made the quick fields at Reading.

We awoke to cloudy skies and fog in Reading, PA., on Sunday which excited the crews that were hopeful to run low numbers during first round. Plans changed for the teams during driver introductions when we saw the clouds break up and the sun start peaking up, warming up the race track.

It was a relatively successful first round for DSR. Both Antron and Spencer won their races with hole shots, Tony and the U.S. Army team advanced as well. Also noteworthy, was the match-up between the DSR teammates, Johnny and Ron with Ron and the NAPA team turning on the win light.

For the third race in a row, Jack met up with Alexis DeJoria in the first round, unfortunately for our team, third time was Alexis’ charm and she got the win light. Matt and his MOPAR/ Rocky Boots team also advanced.

We saw it really heat up during the second round at Maple Grove, which lead to lots of tire smoking, which is what ended the U.S. Army teams race day. Spencer and Antron were able to advance which led to a race between the two teams in the semis.

In Funny Car, it was another DSR team match-up with Ron and the NAPA team keeping their countdown hopes alive by taking out Matt. In the semis, the NAPA team had John Force and his Castrol GTX team, it was a close race until about half track when the NAPA car smoked the tires. The Funny Car final round was between rookie Chad Head and Force.

Spencer and Antron met up in the semifinals, it was a close race between the teammates with Antron and the Matco Tools team turning on the win light heading to the final round for the second week in a row. We knew we had a tough match-up with Shawn Langdon, and unfortunately we lost in a close race.

Today, our teams are heading back to Indy. It has been a busy and exhausting few weeks for us all, the next two weekends will be a nice chance for everyone to get some time at home and regroup before our final two races of the season.

I hope you all have a great week.

Thanks for reading, 

Megan

 

Keep up with me on social media:

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/MeganFesselSchumacherFanPage

Twitter (@MeganFessSchu): www.Twitter.com/MeganFessSchu

Instagram (@MeganFessSchu): www.Instagram.com/MeganFessSchu

Posted In: Team DSR

Rebounding in St. Louis

Hello all. We just completed the third race of our Countdown to the Championship playoff and boy are things tightening up in the point’s race. The Countdown is doing what NHRA wants and that is taking the points chase down to the final race of the season at Pomona in November.

We raced near St. Louis yesterday at Gateway Motorsports Park and we finally broke our winless streak and almost pulled another DSR double-up. Antron and the Matco/Toyota team got off the schneid and scored their third victory of the season and Jack Beckman and the Valvoline Dodge got back to another final round as they got closer to defending their championship.

The St. Louis race started early Thursday morning when our teams left the shop between 5-6 a.m. to drive to Madison, Ill. It’s about a four hour trip. After setting up at the track, many of our crew members took in the 49ers/Rams game at the Edwards Jones Dome on Thursday Night Football. It was neat for the guys to get away from racing and see the NFL game and relax away from the track.

It was a beautiful day for qualifying on Friday and we saw some great qualifying runs. We ran at 3 p.m. and our second session was delayed until 7:30pm so we got to race under the lights at Gateway Motorsports Park. There was a scary Pro Mod crash, but thankfully the driver suffered only a broken arm after a violent crash and many barrel rolls.

fridayLeading qualifying for DSR on Friday was Matt Hagan and our Mopar/Rocky Boots team. Matt ran a 4.001 second pass at 320 mph under the lights to reset the Gateway track record. It was an awesome run and I would expect that we’ll see the Funny Car national record, which is 3.986-seconds, reset this year. Maybe at Reading this weekend.

Tony and the U.S. Army team led qualifying for the DSR dragsters by running 3.782 elapsed time, they had the number one spot until Shawn Langdon took it when they closed out Top Fuel qualifying Friday. 

The first session on Saturday was fairly ugly with lots of tire smoke. The second session saw more full pulls. Matt was able to hold on the pole position for the fifth time this season. All of our other DSR teams qualified well and thankfully we had in-house matches in the opening round. 

Following qualifying on Saturday, I joined my Mom, Don, friends and family at dinner to celebrate the birthday of NAPA crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins. It was nice to get quality time together away from the race track.

We went into Sunday excited and hoping for a successful race day. Following the first round we had five DSR teams advancing to round two. Unfortunately Spencer and Johnny suffered early losses. The Battery Extender team struggled in St. Louis but will get regrouped for Reading.

In the second round, we saw Jack and Matt race each other for the second week in a row and for the second week in a row the Valvoline Max Life team earned the win. Ron and the NAPA team lost in a very close second round race with eventual race winner John Force. It’s tough to see all these close losses. 

Tony and Antron had a big semifinal match-up with Antron and the Matco Tools/Toyota team turning on the win light against the U.S. Army team for the first time this season. It was the first time since Sonoma that Antron had advanced to the semifinals and his first final round since winning at Atlanta in May. Jack also got the win in a pedal fest over Del Worsham.

It was a bummer to see the Valvoline Max Life team lose in the finals, they have been winless so far this year but close many times. I have a feeling we will see them in a winners circle soon. They are peaking at the right time of year. 

antronAntron had a tough race with Khalid alBalooshi, but thankfully, the Matco Tools/ Toyota team was able to turn on the win light and get their third win of the season. They won our 200th win in Gainesville and the rain -delayed race in Commerce, Ga. Yesterday’s win was DSR’s 217th and the 21st of the season and the 40th of Antron’s career.

Overall, we had a great time in St. Louis, I had many fans come up to me and talk to me about all things racing. It is always great to meet the faces I interact with on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you ever see me at the track, please feel free to say hi.

Today, our teams are back in Indy servicing for a few days before heading to Reading on Wednesday. Reading is known for its cool temperatures and low elapsed times and I can’t wait. For me, I am spending the week in classes for grad school before heading up to Reading on Friday for qualifying.

I hope you all have a great week.

Thanks for reading,

Megan

 

Keep up with me on social media:

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/MeganFesselSchumacherFanPage

Twitter (@MeganFessSchu): www.Twitter.com/MeganFessSchu

Instagram (@MeganFessSchu): www.Instagram.com/MeganFessSchu

Posted In: Team DSR

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