TOP FUEL DRIVER
TONY "The Sarge" SCHUMACHER
As Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher travels the country seeking to up his record career total of NHRA Top Fuel world championships to nine in 2016, he is most proud to celebrate his 16th full season representing the U.S. Army in the world's fastest and quickest form of motorsports.
The 46-year-old certainly takes his moniker "Sarge" to heart, and he's enthusiastically served as a civilian ambassador for the U.S. Army since the world’s greatest fighting force became his sponsor at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) in 2000.
Schumacher is the winningest driver in NHRA Top Fuel history with 80 event titles. He hoisted the prestigious "Wally" trophy at three stops on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour - Phoenix, and Epping, New Hampshire and Chicago, and he was No. 1 qualifier three times in 2015 to up record career total to 79, and he begins the 2016 season with an astounding 742-344 won-loss record in elimination rounds. Schumacher was the first driver to reach 330 mph in a quarter-mile in 1999 with a head-turning run of 330.23 mph, and was the first to hit the milestone at the NHRA's current distance of 1,000 feet with a run of 330.30 mph in 2012. He has won the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis nine times.
Not only has Schumacher and his DSR team proven their penchant for winning events and championships time and again, they also are among the leading innovators of safety initiatives in the motorsports industry. Midway through the 2012 season, Schumacher and the U.S. Army team introduced a protective, enclosed cockpit canopy on its dragster as part of the DSR safety initiative, and the system has made its way to a number of other teams.
As part of his racing weekend regimen throughout the year, Schumacher represents the U.S. Army at high school appearances and hosts recruits and soldiers at each of 24 NHRA events. He also has met with troops at various bases in the country and at war-zone military outposts in the Middle East, and he's made several trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C..
On the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, Schumacher traveled to Washington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. In December 2009, he delivered his 2009 NHRA Top Fuel championship trophy to Fort Hood and dedicated the championship to the fallen soldiers at the base from an earlier tragedy.
True to his character, Schumacher has immersed himself in the Army way of life whenever opportunities have arisen through the years. He's enjoyed hands-on experience with a countless array of Army equipment and machinery, and has even participated in airplane jumps with the U.S. Army Golden Knights. Schumacher certainly wears the colors of the U.S. Army with pride and honors the opportunity to do so.
His father Don Schumacher was a pioneer NHRA Funny Car drivers until 1974 when he retired with five NHRA event titles. Don returned to drag racing 1998 when his son began competing in a Top Fuel dragster and founded DSR.
Don, whose son presented him for induction on May 2, 2013 into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, fields seven professional NHRA teams - three in Top Fuel and four in Funny Car. Entering the 2015 season, DSR has won 240 NHRA events en route to earning 13 NHRA world championships.
Tony Schumacher, his wife Cara and their three children moved midway through the 2014 season from their longtime residence in the Chicago area to Austin, Texas.