Schumacher Racing adds R&D Funny Car for U.S. Nationals and rest of 2004 INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 11, 2004) - Multi-team owner Don Schumacher today announced he will add a third Funny Car to the Don Schumacher Racing stable as a research and...
Schumacher Racing adds R&D Funny Car for U.S. Nationals and rest of 2004
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 11, 2004) - Multi-team owner Don Schumacher today announced he will add a third Funny Car to the Don Schumacher Racing stable as a research and development vehicle for the remainder of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, beginning with the NHRA U.S. Nationals Sept. 1-6.
Johnny Gray of Carlsbad, N.M., is slated to drive the Dodge Stratus Funny Car, which he will test at the official NHRA test days at Indianapolis Raceway Park the week following the Memphis NHRA race Sept. 22.
Dan Olson, currently the co-crew chief on Whit Bazemore's Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus and Gary Scelzi's HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus, will be crew chief.
"Our goal is, and has always been, to win championships," said Schumacher, "and we are close to accomplishing that feat this season with both Whit Bazemore and Gary Scelzi in the Funny Car class. While Scelzi has moved up in the standings to fourth after a slow start to the season, Bazemore and his team have struggled in recent events to hold onto second place after leading the point standings.
"With a third Funny Car in the mix, we will be able to experiment with a new chassis, different combinations, setups and parts and work on developing parts and pieces for a new program in 2005. This should benefit both teams this year in their chase for the Funny Car championship.
"We constantly strive to advance our operations and we hope to keep this team together going into 2005 and beyond," he added.
"This is a great opportunity for me to come out and drive a quality car," said Gray, 51, who last drove in NHRA for Chuck Worsham in 2003. "It will be a situation where the team will do some experimenting with the car and I'll push the throttle on it and do the best job I can and win as many races and rounds as I can. This team will race the same as the other Don Schumacher teams race when they run each other.
"I've known Dan Olson a long time," he said of his new crew chief. "I consider him an absolute genius when it comes to tuning. I'll try to give him the best results I can and we'll see if we can go some rounds," he added.
"I've also known Don Schumacher for quite a while now and I have the utmost respect for his full entourage of tuners and people," said Gray who received the phone call from Schumacher while playing golf. "He took me off guard, and I went and talked to my wife Terry and she said, Well, if you want to go play for a few races, it would be a good opportunity to visit your friends, have some fun and see what develops."
Gray entered the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class in 1999 and has scored three runner-up finishes in three final rounds. He has not won a Funny Car event, and has a 38-58 round win-loss record. Notably, he was runner-up at the 2003 U.S. Nationals. His career fastest speed is 321.42 mph (Topeka 2003) and quickest elapsed time is 4.813 seconds (Pomona 1 2003).
Dan Olson joined Don Schumacher Racing in November of 1998 as crew chief on Tony Schumacher's Top Fuel dragster, and won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1999. In 2003 he was named co-crew chief for Bazemore and Scelzi and team advisor for the Top Fuel team.
Don Schumacher Racing includes the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster driven by Tony Schumacher, the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car of Gary Scelzi, the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car piloted by Whit Bazemore, two U.S. Army Pro Stock bikes ridden by Antron Brown and Angelle Savoie, and the Team Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Stratus team of Larry Morgan.