BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Jan. 27) - The week after a highly successful testing visit to South Florida, the seven Don Schumacher Racing teams returned to headquarters near Indianapolis and began to further prepare for the Feb. 9-12 opener in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in Pomona, Calif.
Teams have been working on cleaning the racecars and team transporters after five testing days at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla., that concluded on Jan. 21.
Results from testing allowed crew chiefs to determine what worked and what didn't. Improved parts and pieces were then added to back-up cars and transporters restocked with the "good stuff."
Perhaps the busiest DSR group were those producing and applying sponsor decals to some of the racecars and 53-foot trailers so all will be ready for the 2,000-mile ride to Pomona.
The following are recaps of how DSR drivers spent the past week and some news from NHRA.
ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/Aaron's Top Fuel Dragster
Antron headed to Tampa, Fla., when he left West Palm Beach to compete in the Winternationals but not the legendary one in Pomona.
Antron towed his 15-foot trailer loaded with a mobile shop and gasoline-fueled remote control race boats to compete in six categories of the Winternationals of remote-control boats in Tampa.
He loves the competition and says it helps his hand-eye coordination and prepares him mentally for the start of the drag racing season.
SPENCER MASSEY, FRAM/Prestone Top Fuel Dragster
Spencer was at the DSR shop early in the week helping his crew. He left Brownsburg in his motorhome Tuesday headed for Texas for a few days. On Friday, he was working on Chase Copland's Top Alcohol Dragster helping get it ready for Pomona. That was the car Spencer once drove. He's off to the FRAM Group headquarters in Atlanta next week to speak to sales force and management teams.
TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Tony spent the week at home enjoying his family and pursuing his latest method of physical conditioning.
Tony has joined his wife, Cara, in the art of kick boxing. Cara took up the sport first and Tony jokes he's not ready to join her on the mat.
The 42-year-old, seven-time Top Fuel champ says he does not plan to pursue a career in Mixed Martial Arts.
JACK BECKMAN, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Jack is still smiling from his 4.037-second blast during testing. He headed home to San Fernando, Calif., after testing in Florida. The always enthusiastic driver was even more giddy after his career-best pass. The only thing that could put a bigger smile on his face next week would be if the weather was right so he could spend some time surfing.
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Ron took the week off except for a brief jaunt to Northern California midweek.
But next week, the Southern California native could get a real winter experience when he goes to Bangor, Maine, to visit with NAPA AUTO PARTS employees. He'll start the week there before heading to Norfolk, Va., for another NAPA function.
JOHNNY GRAY, Service Central Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Johnny was at DSR headquarters early in the week for some Service Central photo shoots and video tapings.
He will head for Las Vegas where his son Shane Gray is getting ready for the Feb. 3-4 Preseason Blast-Off at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that features most of the top NHRA Pro Stock teams. It's possible that Johnny might make some laps in his Funny Car too.
Shane drives the Service Central Pro Stocker that is owned by Johnny, a former Pro Stock driver. Shane finished ninth in the final 2011 NHRA standings.
MATT HAGAN, Aaron's Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Matt is in high demand for media interviews heading to Pomona as the reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion.
But the past week and most of next week he is devoted to enjoying family time in Christiansburg, Va., and working hard on his cattle farm where he is grouping calves for pending sale and getting as much done as he can before heading to Pomona and then to Phoenix.
MORE DRAG RACING NEWS...
FRAM Group has renewed its official sponsorship agreement with NHRA. The package extends FRAM automotive filters' designation as the official filter of NHRA, and sister brand Prestone will continue its status as the official antifreeze/coolant of NHRA.
Both the FRAM and Prestone brands have been major sponsors of NHRA dating to 1985.
"Our relationship with NHRA and the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues to be great for our business and our brands," said James Cito, director of motorsports for FRAM Group. "We had a great 2011 with Spencer Massey, and we're excited about an even stronger NHRA program in 2012." ...
Congratulations to Will Lester, staff photographer for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and San Bernardino Sun of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. He earned the country's top motorsports journalism award for photography for the fourth time on Tuesday at the Motorsports Journalism Awards.
Unfortunately for DSR's Gray, Lester's award-winning photo was of when Gray's Service Central Dodge blew up during the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas. Will caught the body high in the sky while the car was a fireball.
Gray was not injured and maybe Lester will let him touch the award. ...
NHRA's new sponsorship with Traxxas (maker of high performance radio-controlled vehicles) will bring back the popular Top Fuel and Funny Car specialty race-within-a-race programs this year. The specifics of the programs, including locations for each event, will be announced at a later date. Traxxas will provide $260,000 to fund the two programs with Top Fuel and Funny Car specialty-race winners receiving $100,000 each.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 174 NHRA national event titles and nine world championship.
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