NHRA team owner Don Schumacher will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 2nd as part of the 2013 class. Also being inducted on Thursday are NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, former NASCAR crew chief Dale Inman and 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup champ Rusty Wallace.
In his past life as a Funny Car driver and team owner, Schumacher won five NHRA national event titles, including the 1970 U.S. Nationals, leaving the sport in 1974 to concentrate on the business his father started, Schumacher Electric. He returned to the drag strip with his son Tony in the Top Fuel class in 1997, and a racing dynasty was born. Since 1997, his Don Schumacher Racing team has totaled 11 NHRA world championships and won its 200th event title on March 17, 2013, in the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Florida.
The 68-year-old Schumacher is the 11th member of the drag racing community to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama since it opened in 1990. Schumacher joins NHRA founder Wally Parks (1992), Don Garlits (1997), Don Prudhomme (2000), Shirley Muldowney (2004), Bob Glidden and Joe Amato (2005), Warren Johnson (2007), Bill Jenkins (2008), and John Force and Kenny Bernstein (2012) as Hall of Fame members.
DSR’s 11 titles include eight Top Fuel titles – seven by Tony Schumacher and one by Antron Brown – and three Funny Car titles – one each by Gary Scelzi, Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman.
Schumacher is also known for his safety innovations in the world of drag racing. In his days as a driver, he contributed the roof-mounted escape hatch on Funny Cars. Most recently, DSR developed a protective, enclosed canopy for Top Fuel dragsters; the canopy was tested in January 2011 on Tony Schumacher’s dragster, later improved, and finally approved for use in competition by NHRA in August 2012. The 2013 season opened with canopy units on each of three DSR Top Fuel Dragsters and another driven by rookie Brittany Force.
Find out more about this year’s inductees and about the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at the Hall of Fame’s website.
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