Cannon leaving Don Schumacher Racing to become Pro Modified team owner. INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 31, 2002) -- Scotty Cannon, the popular Oakley Funny Car driver, announced he will be leaving Don Schumacher Racing following next week's NHRA season...
Cannon leaving Don Schumacher Racing to become Pro Modified team owner.
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 31, 2002) -- Scotty Cannon, the popular Oakley Funny Car driver, announced he will be leaving Don Schumacher Racing following next week's NHRA season finale in Pomona, Calif. to become an owner of a Pro Modified team that will compete in 2003.
"I've owned my own race teams for many years and I basically wanted to get back to running my own operation," said Cannon, who resides in Lyman, S.C. "The Pro Mod category seemed the logical choice at this time, but I won't rule out a Funny Car ownership in the future. What inspired me to make this decision is how quickly the Pro Mod category has gained in NHRA popularity. This was a difficult decision because I am leaving a quality team with many wonderful and talented individuals."
Before joining the NHRA in 1999, Cannon enjoyed a legendary career as a Pro Modified owner and driver on the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) circuit. He won six national titles and was a seven-time Car Craft Magazine All-Star selection as the Pro Modified Driver of the Year.
Cannon, 40, also announced that Oakley will be the major sponsor of his new Pro Modified team and he will receive associate sponsorship from Schumacher Electric, a Don Schumacher-owned company which manufacturers battery chargers and electric welders.
"The continuation of the Oakley sponsorship is very special to me," said Cannon, the 1999 NHRA Rookie of the Year. "They supported me through thick and thin and I am just tickled that I will still be with them. I also want to thank Don (team owner Don Schumacher) for the opportunity of being with a first-class team and his support with my new Pro Mod effort."
Jim Jannard, founder and chairman of Oakley, said, "I fully understand that it is Scotty's destiny to own and run his own team. "We are just happy to be able to sustain our important relationship with him. I consider Scotty a very close friend and give him my full support in his decision. His close association with Oakley will not change.
"Pro Modified is one of the most exciting classes with wild, exotic looking and very fast cars. Scotty's six championships serve notice that he will immediately be a factor in the class."
Schumacher said he has not made any decision on who will drive the Oakley Funny Car in 2003.
"I want to sincerely thank Scotty for the many contributions he made to our team in a short time," said Schumacher. "His knowledge, professionalism, talent and popularity were a great asset to our organization. Everyone associated with Don Schumacher Racing will miss his presence and we all wish him success in his new endeavor."
Mike Neff, crew chief for the Oakley Funny Car, said he will miss having Cannon as a partner and friend. "Scotty's tuning knowledge, his cooperation and friendship were valuable resources to me in my first year as a crew chief. I will always appreciate his willing and unselfish desire as a team player. He is a champion and it was a pleasure and honor to be associated with him. I wish him all of the success in the world."
Speaking of tuning ability, Cannon's showed his talent in 2000 when he served for the first and only time of his NHRA career the double duty as driver and tuner of the Oakley Funny Car. That season, Cannon finished a respectable sixth in the point standings.
Cannon owned the Oakley Funny Car team from 1999 through 2001. At the conclusion of the 2001 season, Cannon's Oakley team joined forces with Don Schumacher Racing as a teammate to the Matco Tools Funny Car, driven by Whit Bazemore.