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Tony Schumacher

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 Born: December 25, 1969

>   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

 Residence: Austin, Texas 

 Career Best Elapsed Time: 3.649 seconds

 Career Best Speed: 336.57 mph

 Career No. 1 Qualifiers: 88

 Career Wins: 86

>   8-Time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion

 Winningest Top Fuel Driver in NHRA History

After working his way through the NHRA’s Sportsman ranks, Tony Schumacher made the decision in the mid-1990s to pursue a career in the premier Top Fuel category and it didn’t take long for the future multi-time world champion to become one of the most revered drivers in the sport. Schumacher made his professional debut in 1996, and by 1999, he had captured his first of eight NHRA series titles. Since that time, Schumacher, 54, has gone on to set nearly every record in the category, including most event titles (86), poles (88), and world championships.

The winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history spent time competing in Super Street, Super Comp, and even piloted a jet dragster before hitting the track aboard Greg and Mike Peek’s Top Fueler. At his inaugural Top Fuel event, the 1996 U.S. Nationals, Schumacher raced to a runner-up finish, recording his first of more than 150 final-round appearances.

 

Schumacher continued on with the Peek brothers in 1997, competing in his first full season on the NHRA tour. In 1998, Schumacher and his father, the late legendary Funny Car driver Don Schumacher who returned to the sport to build a team with his son after a 24-year hiatus, formed Don Schumacher Racing. With the younger Schumacher behind the wheel of the Exide Batteries Top Fuel dragster, the father/son duo took to the track for the first time during the 1998 Indianapolis event and never looked back. The precedence for success was set, and by the time the 1999 NHRA season had wrapped, Schumacher had captured his first Top Fuel Wally trophy, advanced to nine final rounds, became the first driver to eclipse the 330-mile-per-hour speed barrier, and scored his first series title.

 

At the 2000 Indianapolis event, Schumacher debuted his new partnership with the U.S. Army. He proudly embodied the role of an Army ambassador, even going so far as to sport a military-style flat-top haircut which earned him the nickname, ‘the Sarge.’ Not only did Schumacher look the part, but he participated in countless Army-related activities during his tenure with the organization, including going through basic training, weapons training, visiting numerous military bases and hospitals, driving tanks, and jumping out of airplanes.

 

The Schumacher/Army alliance was one of the longest-running partnerships in American motorsports, but after an incredible run spanning nearly 19 years, the Army decided to redirect its marketing dollars away from auto racing, leaving Schumacher sidelined following the 2018 season.

 

Few drivers have reached the level of success Schumacher has achieved, and while it would have been easy for him to retire knowing he had checked off nearly every item on the NHRA bucket list, Schumacher wasn’t ready to hang up his helmet despite the setback. From 2019 through 2021, Schumacher spent time keeping himself visible, appearing frequently as a commentator and pit reporter on the NHRA’s FOX and FS1 broadcasts, while also making the occasional appearance behind the wheel of a Top Fueler when opportunities presented themselves. All the while, Schumacher was searching for a new, enthusiastic partner to come on board and join him in the next phase of his racing career. He found that partner in Joe and Cathi Maynard, lifelong race fans who had joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2021 as associate sponsors.

 

The Maynards had long had their eye on Schumacher. As Army veterans themselves, they were happy to be an integral part of the champ’s return to racing. The Maynard Family served as co-primary sponsors of Schumacher’s team in 2022 until it was announced in July that they had purchased the Schumacher-piloted Top Fuel operation. The Maynard’s new JCM Racing team made its debut at the 2022 NHRA Northwest Nationals and within days of becoming team owners, Schumacher delivered in a major way, powering his 11,000-horsepower machine to victory, scoring the first Wally trophy for JCM Racing at its debut event.

 

Now in his second full season competing as a member of the JCM Racing team, Schumacher will contend for a ninth Top Fuel world championship in 2024. He is one of a small group of drivers to have been victorious at every track along the current NHRA tour, and looks forward to continued success thanks to the support of Leatherwood Distillery.

 

When not collecting wins and resetting records on the dragstrip, Schumacher, a resident of Austin, Texas, enjoys spending time with his wife, Summer, and three children, Jacqueline, Anthony, and Michael. Schumacher’s hobbies include listening to live music, playing sports, tactical shooting, playing the guitar, and cruising the Texas countryside aboard his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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