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Tony Schumacher Proud to Represent His Father Don Schumacher with Tribute Car at Home Track During NHRA Route 66 Nationals

Tony Schumacher is gearing up for a big and sentimental weekend at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals Presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway.

Schumacher, a four-time winner of the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, boasts victories in 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2015, along with a runner-up finish in 2010. He has also secured the No. 1 qualifier spot six times at this event, in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012. His overall performance at Route 66 Raceway is equally impressive, with five event wins, two runner-up finishes, and seven No. 1 qualifiers, making him one of the most successful drivers at this venue.

Reflecting on his recent performances, Schumacher qualified 15th and experienced a first-round exit at the 2023 Route 66 NHRA Nationals, being defeated by Austin Prock. In his last event at Charlotte 1, he qualified 13th but also faced a first-round exit against Clay Millican and Billy Torrence. Despite these setbacks, Schumacher has shown promise this season with a runner-up finish and a specialty race win at the Phoenix Mission Foods Challenge, demonstrating his potential for success.

With a career spanning 560 races, 86 wins, and 88 No. 1 qualifiers, Schumacher remains a formidable competitor in the Top Fuel class. As a Chicago native now residing in Austin, Texas, Schumacher considers Route 66 Raceway his home track. This year’s event holds special significance as it marks his first return to the Schumacher family’s home facility since the passing of his father, Don Schumacher, who lost a hard-fought battle with cancer in December.

In tribute to his late father, Schumacher will campaign a ‘Don Schumacher’ throwback livery on his JCM Racing Top Fuel dragster throughout the race weekend. This special paint scheme will be unveiled during a Celebration of Life ceremony hosted by the Schumacher family on Friday, May 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The livery pays homage to the 1970 Plymouth Funny Car that Don Schumacher piloted to victory at the NHRA U.S. Nationals that same year.

Schumacher, the winningest Top Fuel driver in Chicago history, shares this honor with Antron Brown and Jeg Coughlin Jr. for the most wins in the Mission Foods Series at the Joliet facility. He also leads the Top Fuel class in the number of No. 1 qualifiers at Chicago.

Fans will have the opportunity to meet Schumacher during a Don Schumacher tribute autograph session on Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Schumacher Family Tent.

“It’s year two of us returning to Route 66 Raceway, and that’s just fantastic. I can’t even believe such a beautiful stadium ever went away in the first place. I’m driving a throwback of one of my dad’s old cars, and it’s going to be spectacular. I’m super proud to represent him and his legacy and drive this car this weekend. I know there’s going to be hundreds of people from Schumacher Electric coming out. They’ve been like family to me for 40 years and I’m really excited to see them,” said Schumacher. “Our car is getting better and better, but it’s time for us to win one of these, and I couldn’t think of a better time than this weekend to get our first win of the season in front of a hometown crowd.”

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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