Don Schumacher Racing press release
VETERAN CREW CHIEF DICKIE VENABLES JOINS DON SCHUMACHER RACING
BROWNSBURG, Ind., August 29, 2011 – Championship tuner Dickie Venables has joined Don Schumacher Racing as co-crew chief on the Service Central Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driven by Johnny Gray.
According to Don Schumacher, adding Venables, who brings 28 years of drag racing experience (including tuning a Funny Car champion) to the team, was an easy decision.
"I look to strengthen my organization whenever possible and Dickie's talent gave me this opportunity," said Schumacher who bases his racing organization here. “I’ve been blessed by the people who I have been able to surround myself at DSR, great drivers, crew chiefs, everyone throughout our organization. It’s the quality of the people which makes our organization great.
“I think Dickie and Rob Wendland will make a terrific team. Our success with co-crew chiefs on the Matco Tools and FRAM/Prestone Top Fuel dragsters (seven wins between these teams this year) has shown just how effective this kind of setup can be.”
Venables, 47, whose father drove Top Fuel and Funny Cars in the 1960s, “grew up” in the sport and he joined his first team in 1983. He went from general “clean-up” guy on Shirley Muldowney’s dragster to the tuner of Tony Pedregon’s 2007 championship Funny Car, doing virtually every crew role along the way while working with the likes of Connie Kalitta, Gary Ormsby, Don Prudhomme, John Force, Don Garlits, Tim Richards and Rahn Tobler. He most recently worked for Morgan Lucas Racing.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said the Houston native who now lives in an Indianapolis suburb. “I don’t know Rob, but I think that can be a good thing – we’ll have unbiased opinions and will work (simply) to get the best out of this car.
“I’ll start off by watching, getting to know the car and the Service Central crew.”
Gray and the Service Central team, formed just prior to the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, won his first Funny Car trophy at the last race (in Brainerd, Minn.). He heads into this weekend’s 57th-annual U.S Nationals here just over three race-rounds out of the 10th, and final, spot in the post-season playoffs.
Venables, who has already begun working with Wendland, reviewing the season’s data, will be with the Service Central team Friday when the “Big Go” gets underway.