The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has recently announced the passing of team owner and Hall of Fame Dragster Don Schumacher, who passed away at 79 after battling lung cancer over the past few months. Schumacher had an incredible legacy in motorsport after securing world championships. Not only that, but he was a pioneer in Stardust Funny Cars.
Don Schumacher will leave an outstanding impression on automotive racing in his stead after contributing to safety innovations, such as the roof-mounted escape hatch and the lever mounted on the brake handle to activate a fire suppression system. Schumacher started racing in the 1960s and 1970s as a Funny Car racer in Stardust Funny Cars, including a 1968 Dodge Charger. Schumacher took a break in the early 70s to focus on his family business, the Schumacher Electric Corporation.
Despite this break, his passion for racing remained, and in 1998, he returned to NHRA Drag Racing to build a team with his son, Tony Schumacher. Don Schumacher’s team has bagged 19 NHRA world championship titles and 367 Wallys. Schumacher is the only team owner with wins from NHRA’s four professional categories. However, he left his business legacy with DSR Performance, which most of us know to be a race engineering and aftermarket parts brand.
Don Schumacher was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Alabama in 2013, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Florida in 2019. Schumacher also had several charity works for non-profit organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Infinite Hero Foundation. His team also hosts a pre-race event at its Indiana headquarters to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. Our hearts go out to Schumacher’s family and friends; he will be missed.