Hello again everyone and greetings from a glacial-like Brownsburg/Indianapolis. Yep, I’m blogging from the DSR shop today and I’m excited to spend a few days with our front office and DSR teams. When I drove to the shop this morning, the wind chills were in the minus temperatures. Brrr. We’re not in Florida anymore, Toto. LOL
Thankfully, it’s nice and cozy inside as we’re just two weeks away from the start of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season. Just two weeks! That’s exciting. We hope those 70 and 80-degree warm temperatures continue in So Cal for the next two plus weeks, fingers crossed.
After five days of testing in Jupiter, Fla., our teams are making their final preparations for the Circle K Winternationals. Most of the teams will leave the shop on Feb. 4 and head west on I-70. Tommy Johnson, Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Funny Car team will leave a little bit earlier, next Saturday, and test on Feb. 3 and possibly Feb. 4 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hey, what a better place for the Make-A-Wish team to watch the Super Bowl than Las Vegas. Plus, it’ll be much warmer there than at the game in New Jersey.
If you’re looking for something fun to do before the Winternationals, my brother, Tony, will drop the first puck at the LA Kings/Columbus Blue Jackets game at Staples Center on Feb. 6. The game starts at 7:30 and Tony will sign autographs in between periods. The Kings and NHRA have partnered in the past and there’s a lot of crossover between NHRA racing and going to an NHL game. They’re both so visceral that the experience is so much better live and in person. The Kings have an awesome game going on tomorrow on Jan. 25. They will take on the Anaheim Ducks at Dodgers Stadium in an outdoor hockey game. I can guarantee one thing, if I lived in So Cal, I’d be there because attending a hockey game is so much fun and that it will be much warmer than on Jan. 1 at “The Big House” in Michigan for the Winter Classic. Now that was cold! I hope they can keep the ice cool when it’s 70 degrees outside.
We’re so excited about our partnership with Terry Chandler and the Make-A-Wish organization. Make-A-Wish is a fantastic foundation and if you’ve seen any of their pieces on ESPN’s Sports Center, then you’ve seen how they make so many dreams a reality for thousands of children. We’re hoping to bring smiles to faces at the youth in each of the 21 NHRA race markets this season. We announced the Make-A-Wish partnership during testing and got our first painted body back from SD Enterprise this Wednesday. Greg Ozubko designed the beautiful car and we’re excited to see it hit the track at Pomona on Feb. 7. Here’s the first photo of the Make-A-Wish Charger released to the public. I feel like a paparazzi. Haha.
We had a pretty successful test session for our Team DSR. The great thing is that our teams were testing, not trying to run hero numbers. Our dragsters are adapting to a new clutch program and its showing terrific promise. Antron and the Matco Tools team produced some fantastic numbers and I know all three DSR teams will be a factor this season and they’re very motivated to finish 1-2-3 again as we did in 2012. At Pomona, you’ll notice that all three DSR dragsters have the same basic layout with the Army, Matco and Battery Extender cars. They look beautiful and it’s neat to see the unified look.
The DSR floppers also debuted new colors at testing. The NAPA Auto Parts Dodge has some subtle changes, but we have new looks for Jack and the Valvoline MaxLife Dodge and the Matt’s Mopar Express Lane and Rocky Boots Chargers. The matte black look on the Rocky Funny Car is striking and mean. I can’t wait to see it back on the track at Houston in late April. Our Funny Cars ran pretty well as Ron was the quickest of testing at 4.003 and Matt was the fastest at just under 322 mph.
Here’s a link to the DSR Facebook page if you want to check out some of the Auto Imagery photos from testing at PBIR: https://www.facebook.com/shoeracing. You can also access video clips from testing on my Instagram page at @MeganFessSchu.
The highlight of testing for me was a definite bucket list item and I feel very fortunate and thankful to Don and the Battery Extender team. They let me warm the Battery Extender dragster on Saturday afternoon. Spencer was a great mentor and told me everything to do. I want to thank Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and the entire team for the opportunity. It’s neat for me to be surrounded by a group that helps mentor me on both the racing and business side as I finish school and move into a daily role with DSR later this year.
I flew to DSR from Florida yesterday and we had a meeting with our longtime friends and partner Riley Children’s Foundation. Riley is the DSR house charity and our partner for our annual Open House before the U.S. Nationals. This ’14 DSR Open House will take place on Aug. 29. We’re hoping to announce something even more exciting with Riley this year and started those initial talks yesterday.
This afternoon, I’m heading to Chicago for the weekend to help celebrate my friend Leah’s birthday. It’s always fun to go home to the Windy City and Wintertime in Chicago gives me a good excuse to break out my winter clothes and ear muffs, gloves and scarfs. Haha.
That’s about it for now. Sorry for being so wordy and thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and stay warm for many of you out there. We’ll check back in again soon.