Don Schumacher Racing hasn't announced his assignment, but it could be with Jack Beckman.
It wasn’t a long haul for Jimmy Prock - less than a mile from John Force Racing to Don Schumacher Racing - and the address change took less than a day.
Released by team owner and 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Funny Car champion John Force through a decision announced on Wednesday, October 22nd, by the next morning Schumacher’s press corps had a release in hand announcing the Prock Rocket would be “setting the world on fire” with the 11-time Top Fuel/Funny Car champion’s seven-car brigade. An exact assignment hasn’t yet been announced.
With two races remaining in the 2014 NHRA season, Halloween weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and two weeks hence at NHRA’s ancestral home, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has won 13 Top Fuel races and six contests in Funny Car. That compares with John Force Racing’s (JFR) 12 victories - all in Funny Car (daughter Brittany keeps knocking on that Top Fuel door and lies ninth in category standings).
Of DSR’s seven drivers, seven-time champ Tony Schumacher has five victories and is pretty well set at the top of the Top Fuel points chase with tuner Mike Green in charge. Fifth-placed teammate Antron Brown has six victories but hasn’t been quite as consistent, tuned by Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald - this trio have been together since before Brown, the 2012 champion arrived at DSR. Phil Shuler tunes Spencer Massey in Top Fuel; they’ve amassed two victories and lie seventh in points.
On the Funny Car side, DSR’s Matt Hagan, the 2011 champion, three-time 2014 winner and John Force’s current nemesis took over the point lead at Reading as tuner Dickie Venables got that Dodge Charge R/T on full song. Teammate Tommy Johnson Jr is fourth with a single win as he and tuner John Collins end their first year together. Ron Capps, led by Rahn Tobler and Eric Lane (who came to DSR from JFR this year) has two victories and holds seventh place.
To Beckman's team, maybe?
The only DSR driver without an effective season-long tuner is Jack Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car champion (in photo above). Team owner Don Schumacher changed things around at mid-season (as he often does) and placed overall engineering director Todd Okuhara in charge of Beckman’s group, together with Chris Cunningham, who came over from competitor Bob Tasca III’s Ford Mustang entry. Theirs is the only Schumacher entity that failed - by just a few points - to make the 10-car Funny Car Countdown playoffs.
It will be interesting to see the dynamics of Jimmy Prock joining DSR and how this affects all seven squads within Don Schumacher’s empire - as well as the four teams several blocks away at JFR. Always known for his over-the-top, push-the-limit tuning capabilities and innate knowledge of the innards of nitromethane-burning V-8 engines in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, Jimmy Prock is an asset Don Schumacher couldn’t afford to pass up.