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PRO Introduces Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award for Top Fuel vs. Funny Car Shootout Winner

The late Don Schumacher will have a presence at the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage, as race officials announced today that the winner of a special Top Fuel vs. Funny Car Shootout will be awarded the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award. The race-within-a-race adds yet another unique element to the event set for Feb. 8-10 at Bradenton Motorsports Park. 

“Don Schumacher was one of the most influential people in the sport of professional drag racing,” said Alan Johnson, president, Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO). “Don was a longtime board member of PRO and contributed so much to the group. He created a lasting legacy, and we all felt it was important to pay tribute to him during the PRO Superstar Shootout. Don was passionate about Top Fuel and Funny Car, so it made sense to create this special award for the winner of the Top Fuel vs. Funny Car Shootout.”

Schumacher, an NHRA team owner and Funny Car pioneer, passed away on Dec. 20, 2023, at age 79 following a cancer battle. He was a Funny Car driver during the early days of the class in the 1960s and ‘70s, and after a decades-long hiatus to build his business, he returned to the sport as a team owner for his son, now eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher. Don Schumacher Racing teams have won 19 NHRA world championship titles and 367 Wally trophies across all four NHRA professional categories and Factory Stock Showdown.

“As a longtime member of the Professional Racers Owners Organization, it is incredibly touching that the PRO board has chosen to celebrate Don’s memory with the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award,” said Megan Schumacher, president, Don Schumacher Racing. “As everyone knows, Don was a fierce competitor and he loved nitro racing, so it’s only fitting that his legacy lives on with an award that is competition-based. Thank you to the PRO board for choosing to honor him in this way.”

The PRO Superstar Shootout is an invitation-only race featuring the stars of Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. Twelve Top Fuel drivers and 13 Funny Car drivers will attempt to qualify for the eight-car fields, with $250,000 going to the winner in both classes. The drivers who don’t qualify will take part in the Top Fuel vs. Funny Car Shootout. 

“The PRO Superstar Shootout is all about trying new things and creating a spectacle for our fans,” Johnson said. “This is a unique opportunity to give the fans something they’ve been wanting to see for years – some of the best drivers and cars in Top Fuel and Funny Car squaring off against each other. It will be a memorable part of the weekend, and the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award will make the victory even more meaningful for the winner.”

The Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award was designed and built by metal artist Tom Patsis, who was a longtime employee of Don Schumacher Racing before launching Cold Hart Art. 

Tickets for the SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by JHG are now on sale at Fans can also watch the race in its entirety live through FloRacing at

This story was originally published on January 29, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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