Don Schumacher has put together the largest number of drag racing vehicles ever under one banner. The U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster is driven by his son, Tony. Whit Bazemore drives the Matco Tools Funny Car and Gary Scelzi driven the FC sponsored by Oakley. Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown race the U.S. Army-sponsored Pro Stock Bikes, and Larry Morgan drives the Mopar-backed Pro Stock. And, Schumacher says he is looking to add more to the stable. DRO West Coast Editor Darr Hawthorne spoke with Schumacher in Sonoma and filed this report.

DRO: You quit racing funny cars in 1974, why did you come back?

Schumacher: Really I came back because of Tony. Tony got involved in the sport and he was driving for the Peek Brothers. He got involved in the sport with a Super Stock Chevy, 1967 Chevelle that I bought him. One thing led to another and as he got into the Top Fuel ranks he was runnin' in a car that wasn't as competitive as I would like it to be. He was doing a great job. I just put a program together.

DRO: Is it more fun to race with your son, now?

Schumacher: Oh definitely. At times it's definitely more fun to race with your son, but it's very concerning to have your son be a driver sitting in one of these 330-plus mile an hour Top Fuel dragsters -- the fear of something happening.

DRO: Tony said that in the wake of Darrell Russell's death that he might prefer to run a Funny Car.

Schumacher: Tony has commented about that. We'll see how things progress this year and make that decision after the year is over.

DRO: Do you treat your son any differently than you treat any of your other hired help?

Schumacher: I'm sure I do. He'd be the one who would have to answer that rather than me, but from my business experience, you'll always expect more out of your family than you do out of a regular employee. And, you demand more from your family. So I'm sure he gets some of that situation to where I'm probably a little bit harder on him or go at him harder than I would, say Gary Scelzi or Antron Brown or Larry Morgan.

DRO: Is that how he has emerged as a leader? The way that he runs the U.S. Army recruiting meetings here at the track, he has become a real spokesman for Schumacher Racing and for the U.S. Army.

Schumacher: Tony is a great personality. Yes, he's my son, but I truthfully believe wholeheartedly that he is the best speaker out here in this sport. He does a fantastic job of it. That comes from his heart, not from me pushing him or directing him. That's all inside of him and something that he chooses to do.

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