I’ve been coming to NHRA drag races most of my life but I never remember a season flying by quite as quickly as this one has so far. Between work related to the race teams and my responsibilities with Schumacher Electric and the Red Fuel brand, the days just fly by and here we are halfway through July.
Chicago is always a special race for our family and this year we kicked off the event by hosting many of our wonderful partners in the city for a Cubs game on Wednesday night of race week and followed that up with a great sponsor summit in downtown Chicago on Thursday.
It’s really important for us to get all of our sponsors in one room and discuss the sport, our goals as an organization and see what else we can be doing off track to help out our sponsors. Some really great ideas came out of our meetings and I’m really looking forward to seeing how things play out in the coming months with our partners.
On Friday, we decided to bring out our newest fur-member of the family, Tucker, to the races. I’m a bit biased but that little ball of fur known as a mini GoldenDoodle is about the cutest and sweetest thing ever. He got a lot of love from our race teams! Maybe he should be our therapy dog on the road…
My friends are always excited to come out to the races when we are in town and this year was no different. I’m just glad they got to experience a DSR double-up with Tony and Tommy Johnson Jr. scoring the wins. Even though Tony and his family moved to Austin last year, Chicago will always be home for him and his family and it was great to see him get a hometown win this year.
TJ’s win was special for many reasons. Now all of our teams are qualified for the Traxxas Shootout event coming up in Indy and TJ’s nephew, Gage, who has been hanging out with the team for most of the summer, got to see his uncle win the race before he heads back home to North Carolina. When you see kids like Gage, Autumn Hight (Robert’s daughter) and Antron’s kids hanging out at the races you can’t help to think about the future of our sport and it’s really cool to see the nitro generation growing!
I kicked off my Western Swing travel a bit early this year with a quick trip to California for meetings for Schumacher Electric. I’ll be headed back to Home Sweet Chicago before heading up to Michigan to spend the weekend with my boyfriend Chad and his family at a country music festival.
There has been a lot of NHRA news in the past week that has everyone excited about the future of our sport. The first announcement came last week with the hiring of veteran sports journalist and all around good guy Terry Blount. Terry will be overseeing NHRA’s Communications team and we’re excited to work with him.
We’ve been hearing rumblings about a big TV change for next year and NHRA didn’t disappoint with the announcement of a minimum of 16 LIVE shows on Fox Sports 1 and four events broadcast on the major network FOX. That’s really great news for our sport and has us all excited about 2016 and beyond.
But first we must finish out this year as strong as we started and all of our teams are back at our shop in Brownsburg preparing for the toughest stretch of our schedule, the Western Swing. Our first stop is in Denver and kicks off with the Mopar block party where you’ll find Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher signing autographs beginning at 6:45. Don usually jumps in and signs autographs too! If you’ve never been to the Block Party, I encourage you to attend. It’s a huge event and always so much fun.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and be ready to cheer us on the next three weeks!
Thanks for reading!
Hello NHRA.com blog readers! After three long weeks on the road our teams are back in Brownsburg and getting caught up from our first three in a row of the season. DSR had a great three weeks on the road that kicked off in Englishtown with Antron Brown and Matt Hagan scoring the wins.
It was so much fun to see Antron’s family celebrate his hometown win and 50th of his career. If you think Antron is a riot, you need to meet his Grandma. It’s always entertaining to have her around our pits and it was really cool to see how proud she was in the Winner’s Circle on Sunday.
Matt Hagan and his Rocky Boots/Mopar team are really exceling right now. They changed some stuff up after winning the first to races to start the season and Dickie Venables is just doing an outstanding job.
After Englishtown we went to Epping, N.H., and the Army team scored the big win on the U.S. Army’s 240th birthday. They had the Continental Color Guard at the race and that was really incredible to see.
I didn’t have any lobstah in Bahstan but they did have some at the track complete with lobstah bibs. Our chef Malcolm and sous chef Riley made some especially yummy lobstah risotto on Sunday that I couldn’t resist.
Last weekend we headed south to Bristol, Tenn., and Thunder Valley for Father’s Day weekend. Bristol has always been one of my favorite places. It is such a beautiful setting but man was it hot last weekend. Sunday was a very special day when U.S. Army special operations officer and helicopter pilot Gary Linfoot, who was paralyzed below the waist when he crashed on his 20th tour tour of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008, stood for the first time for the National Anthem in seven years. He had an assist from an exoskeleton suit supplied by the Infinite Hero Foundation. One of the Bristol TV stations captured it all on camera that you can watch here: http://www.wcyb.com/news/paraplegic-veteran-stands-for-national-anthem-for-first-time-since-200x/33700598.
We raised a lot of money over the weekend for Infinite Hero, more than $8,000 trackside, so I have to say a huge thank you to all the NHRA and Bristol fans that came out and donated to this amazing cause. Check out www.infinitehero.org to see how you can help!
Our dragsters didn’t have a very good day in Bristol but we had three out of four Funny Cars in the semifinal round and Ron Capps and Matt Hagan battled it out in the final round with Matt getting a hometown win in front of his family and friends.
What most of you probably didn’t see was the HUGE storm that blew in right after the final round. Matt just finished up in the winner’s circle before it started pouring down rain. Luckily the awesome staff from Bristol had transportation from the winner’s circle to the media center and we stayed dry, for the most part. I’ve seen Matt win a lot of races and two championships but I can honestly say watching him win Bristol might have been the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Bristol is just a couple of hours from home for him and his wife and kids, his parents and lots of his family was in attendance and that was really special for him.
I also want to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to our hospitality crew. If you’ve ever been to a race you’ve seen the huge hospitality structures and those guys worked in the pouring down rain to get it all torn down. Our teams get a lot of credit but we can’t forget about the hospitality staff. Thank you to them for all of their hard work!
Everyone is back in the shop now and our fab shop guys are front-halving two Funny Car chassis this week and the teams are servicing all the parts and pieces to head to Norwalk for the 4th of July and then for our hometown race in Chicago.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, we’ll be back to nitro before you know it!
Thanks for reading.
Greetings NHRA.com blog readers!
I have to first apologize for the delay in blog updates, I know it has been awhile since I last checked in here and updated you all on the latest happenings at DSR.
Let’s do a quick recap of the last couple of races. We went down to Atlanta and attended the annual Coca-Cola dinner honoring the past NHRA champions. It’s always a fun event that we enjoy attending each year.
Our success this season continued with Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team putting on an incredible performance in Atlanta. Throughout qualifying they clocked low elapsed time of each session and went on to win on Sunday in some of the toughest conditions we’ve seen so far this year. Congratulations to them on their win, Antron has 49 wins now in two NHRA categories. Very cool!
It was the first time this season that we had consecutive races so the teams made a quick stop back in Brownsburg before they headed west to Topeka. I hope you all followed along on social media or tuned in on ESPN2 to see what was one of the most incredible events in NHRA history. 15, yes, 15 Funny Car sub-four second runs! Remember just a few years ago when Matt Hagan clocked the first one in Charlotte? They’re getting more common but it’s still just incredible to see a 3 come up on the board.
Out of those 15 three second runs, five of them belonged to Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero team. Jack is the first driver to record three 3-second runs on a single day. He made 3-second passes during Q2 and Q3 and during the first, second and final rounds on Sunday en route to their second win of the season!
That was a very special win for DSR because it was No. 250! It seems like just yesterday we got No. 200 in Gainesville. We’ve had 18 different drivers, including Don, contribute to that number and we have a win in each NHRA professional category which is pretty awesome.
It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for everyone. We’ll take this weekend off and enjoy every minute of it before taking off on a three-week tour. First up its Antron Brown’s home race at Englishtown followed by a trip to Epping, N.H. before we head south and see all of our friends at Bristol Dragway. If you’re thinking of coming to Bristol and need a place to stay check out www.racelodging.com. My brother Tony stays there and does a private autograph session on Saturday evening for everyone staying there. It’s a nice place and literally right across the street from the track!
If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter you’ve missed out on seeing our newest addition to the family - a mini golden-doodle puppy named Tucker. I’m a little biased but he is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. Tucker is adjusting well to his new loving home and we are so excited to have him in our family.
I have to say thank you to all of the awesome NHRA fans who wished me a happy birthday last weekend. I read every single one of your Facebook and Twitter messages and appreciate them all!
On Wednesday night my mom, Don, my boyfriend Chad and I attended the Chicago Blackhawks game. It was such a fun night and there’s nothing like seeing the Blackhawks win and keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive.
That’s all for now… thanks for reading and go Blackhawks!
Hello NHRA.com readers! It’s been some time since I’ve been on the blog so I wanted to take some time to check in here at NHRA.com and share what we have going on at DSR.
It’s hard to believe that we have checked off six races this season already but the calendar isn’t lying! As we enter the month of May we take a deep breath enjoy a couple of weekends off before heading down to Atlanta and then off to Topeka on Memorial Day weekend.
All of the teams are back in Brownsburg servicing the cars and all of the parts and pieces. The transporters stayed out following the Las Vegas event so this is the first week everyone has been back at the shop since then so there is plenty of work to be done!
If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen that Schumacher Electric just launched a new web site – www.batterychargers.com – please take a minute and check it out. We’ve been working on it for some time and I think it looks great!
Our drivers have been so busy lately! Actually, Thursday in Houston might have been one of the busiest days of the year for us. Matt Hagan was all over the city on Thursday beginning with a radio interview downtown, then out to the Shell Technology Center before back down to Baytown for a visit at the Baytown Dodge dealership.
I wasn’t able to go on the Shell Technology Center tour but I did hear all about it. Several of our DSR crew chiefs, Matt and Tommy Johnson Jr. along with some of our front office staff got to tour where they develop not only our oil that we’re using in our cars but also all of the Pennzoil products that are on the shelves – and should be in your car! We are really excited about our partnership with Pennzoil. They sent out a great group of people to the track over the weekend, many of which had never attended a drag race. Of course, they fell in love with it! I can’t wait to see all of the exciting things that will happen in the future with this partnership.
Did you see Antron Brown was a mentor to actor Idris Elba during the Houston event? Idris has a new four-part documentary coming out later this year and part of the series will be about his quest to be a drag racer. Antron, of course, was an outstanding mentor and we can’t wait to see how the show turns out! Between that and the Celebrity race at the Long Beach Grand Prix Antron has just been all about the celebrities the past few weeks… don’t leave us for Hollywood AB!
Tony, Jack and Ron all went to the final on Sunday, continuing DSR’s success this year. Congratulations to Ron and the NAPA team on getting their second win of the season. They also took over the points lead, as did Tony. It’s been an incredible season so far, I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
Tommy Johnson Jr. found his way into the NASCAR world earlier today. A lot of teams were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for testing and TJ ran into his buddy Jeff Gordon, who was just announced as the pace car driver for the Indy 500…very cool.
Well, I think you are all caught up on what’s happening at DSR. Stay tuned to our social media channels for all of the latest news and notes. Try not to have nitro withdrawals these next couple of weekends… we will be back at it before you know it!
Thanks for reading.