Don Schumacher Racing, with financial backing from Don Schumacher’s Schumacher Electric Corp., will start the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with the same number of teams it ended with last year, including the third-ranked Top Fuel team.
In addition to reigning world champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team and Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team, which finished seven points behind Brown last season, DSR will field a third team with crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and driver Spencer Massey when the season begins Feb. 14-17 with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries in Pomona.
The dragster that finished last season ranked third in points with four event titles will carry the banner of Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher, the next-generation battery charger that provides advanced charging technology and cutting-edge design.
The status of DSR’s third-ranked team from last year was left in limbo for 2013 when longtime NHRA and DSR sponsor FRAM/Prestone opted last summer to not continue motorsports sponsorships upon the conclusion of the 2012 season.
“I committed last summer to running this team in 2013 after Honeywell sold the FRAM/Prestone business to an investor and the decision of the new owner was to eliminate motorsports sponsorship,” team owner Schumacher said. “I committed to run that car in 2013 and will do what I committed to doing. And I want to keep that team together because it has contended for the championship down to the last two races the past two years.”
Schumacher said Schumacher Electric will fully fund the DSR team while he continues to search for another major sponsor.
“Were we not to field that team, it also would have cost about 10 guys their jobs, and I didn’t want that to happen,” said Schumacher, whose teams have won 11 NHRA world championships and 196 NHRA event titles.
Although the team did not join the other six DSR teams at the Florida test sessions last month, Okuhara and Shuler tested the dragster last December, and it proved to be in midseason form with a best run of 3.75 seconds at 325 mph.
Massey, 30, will compete in his fourth full-time Professional season and third straight with DSR. At the end of last season, Schumacher and Massey decided in late November to go separate ways at a time when adequate funding had not been secured.
(Photos courtesy NHRA/National Dragster)