My name is Megan Fessel Schumacher. A lot of people know me as Don Schumacher’s daughter. I am studying marketing at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. I have been traveling the NHRA circuit with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), supporting my family’s teams since I was seven-years-old. I rarely miss an NHRA race! My goal with this blog is to give everyone an inside look into my life as a college student, being Don’s daughter, and an insider’s perspective behind the ropes at DSR.
When I first started attending races I instantly developed a love for the sport and the people involved. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from being at the racetrack with my family, friends and my adopted family, the DSR team members. I have always considered all of our team members to be apart of my family. I never wanted to miss a race. I always knew that I wanted to be involved in DSR in any capacity I could. As I have gotten older, I have done everything I can to balance school and be involved in DSR at the same time.
It’s crazy to believe that the 2012 Full Throttle Drag Racing season is about to begin. Testing for our seven teams begins this Tuesday (Jan. 17) in South Florida. It feels like we were just in Pomona, Calif. for the Auto Club Finals last November; the off-season has flown by for all of us. After Pomona, I had to buckle down and study hard for college finals. It is crazy to believe I am halfway through my junior year of college. After finals, Don, my Mom and I went to Indy for the annual DSR Christmas Party. As always, everyone had a great time. It was at the new J.W. Marriott in downtown Indy and the highlight of the party was the photo booth. All the people had a blast taking goofy photos and having fun. My favorite holiday (besides my birthday in May) has always been Christmas. This year I spent the holiday in Florida with my parents, close friends and family. It is always nice to be able to relax and enjoy some time with people important to you.
Away from DSR and Schumacher Electric, Don’s passion is fishing. Don has spent time fishing in the Bahamas on Cat Island. Right before the Winternationals, Don will compete in a wahoo tournament off of Florida. He’s so competitive in everything he does. Tommy DeLago, the crew chief on Matt Hagan’s Funny Car, joined Don for a few days after the New Year. During their trip they caught a 105-pound wahoo. That’s an awesome accomplishment and a very rare fish to catch at that size. Around testing, Don is going fishing with DSR crew chiefs Phil Shuler (FRAM dragster) and Mike Green (U.S. Army dragster).
It may sound like we had a lot of down time during the winter months, but that’s far from the truth. After Thanksgiving, December and January are the busiest times around the shop. Preparation for the 2012 season began as soon as we all got home from Pomona. With an operation as large as DSR it takes a major team effort to get everything done from the fab shop building new Funny Car and dragster chassis to our CNC machine shop cranking out new cylinder heads and connecting rods for the teams. The work goes on round the clock. In the front office, the management team is busy working with the sponsors, planning for 2012, scheduling photo shoots, painting race cars, and then doing the decals, which we now do in-house at DSR. We also have to order new crew shirts, firesuits for the drivers and get new helmets painted. Along with stripping and then re-wrapping trailers, and we have a lot of them. With two trailers per team and four for hospitality, we take 18 big rigs on the road. Plus, we have to order new awnings for the race teams and our three hospitality tents. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time, but it’s very gratifying for all of us involved to see it all come to life at testing and really at Pomona in February. Can you believe Pomona is less than a month away!
At DSR we make a lot of parts in-house and are constantly developing ways to help our teams improve both at the shop and on the race track. When you have to race against the great competition like we do, you can’t rest. Don and I got to spend the last few days in Brownsburg, Ind. at the DSR shop just west of Indy. I even got to shadow some of our employees, and let me tell you, I learned a ton. I even got to learn how to remove old decals from the race cars. Hint, using a torch helps. They even let me install a few decals and I did it without getting any air bubbles. Trust me, it is quite the process. Any time I get to spend at the shop when I am not in school, I really enjoy it. We have a lot of new employees after adding a graphic designer and brining our new communications/PR team in-house at the Brownsburg shop, so it was great to get to meet everyone. We're really going to ramp up our PR and social media effort in 2012.
As Don and I left the shop late Friday afternoon, the teams were finishing up with final preparations for the drive down to Florida. All seven DSR teams will be testing this week at Palm Beach International Raceway near West Palm Beach. If you live in the area testing is open to the public on Jan. 20-21. So, come out to the track and see everything firsthand. It’s so neat to get to see all the new paint schemes and testing is very relaxed. If you can’t make it, the PRO Winter Warm-up will be broadcasted on www.bangshift.com. You can also keep up via my Twitter account (@MeganFessSchu) or DSR’s Twitter (@shoeracing) or the DSR Facebook account (www.facebook.com/shoeracing) and Megan Fessel Schumacher page (http://www.facebook.com/MeganFesselSchumacherFanPage). Make sure you “like” and "follow" us for instant results and a back stage look at drag racing’s largest team, DSR.
Thanks for reading!