Hometown “DSR Double” at NHRA Chicago

Chicago-based team owner Don Schumacher continued his domination of 2013 NHRA Nitro racing as his multi-car racing team won in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at Joliet last weekend…


Don’s son Tony Schumacher raced to the Top Fuel victory in spectacular fashion Sunday as his U.S. Army dragster’s 8,000-horsepower engine exploded in a huge fireball when he crossed the finish line in the final round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals while  Matt Hagan drove the team’s Magneti Marelli Dodge Charger to the event’s Fuel FC title.

Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Schumacher’s fiery finish stopped the clocks in 3.930 seconds at 269.29 mph, but it was quick enough to hold off a determined Clay Millican, whose Parts Plus dragster trailed and the veteran driver remained winless in six career final round appearances.  It was the third win of the season and the 72nd overall for local favorite Schumacher, a longtime Chicagoland area resident.

Schumacher powered past David Grubnic, Khalid alBalooshi and defending world champ Antron Brown to advance to the final round. In the final, Millican was actually ahead of Schumacher near mid-track, but Schumacher’s machine surged forward, the engine eventually expiring just as he crossed the finish line first.

“It’s always great to have a hometown win here in Chicago,” said Schumacher of his fourth victory at Route 66 Raceway, located just south of Chicago. “It was a great day for Don Schumacher Racing with another double-up [Matt Hagan’s Funny Car win]. This is 37 times that we’ve done that, and it was personally gratifying with all the family and friends I had here this weekend.”

Going into the final with Millican, he was very aware of his record against drivers who are seeking their first wins.

“When you look back in Top Fuel history, whenever anybody gets their first win, it’s against me,” said Schumacher, who regained the series lead with the victory. “Between Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd, and everybody else, that is what has happened. But I told myself today that this is not going to be an ongoing trait. We’re going to stop it right here and now. I don’t care when or if Clay wins a race, but just not today. Not here at my home track where we have a chance to extend our points lead, which is going to be very valuable when we get down to Indy [the last race of the regular season].”

Tony Schumacher's TF win was his 4th win at his hometown track

Tony Schumacher’s TF win was his 4th win at his hometown track

In Funny Car, Hagan extended his series lead with his third win of the season as he edged final round opponent John Force at the finish line. Hagan’s Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger posted a 4.605 at 315.34, while Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang finished just behind in 4.113 at 304.80.

“It’s so hard to get these wins, so I feel great to be here,” said Hagan, who had to knock of championship title contender Johnny Gray, defending world champ Jack Beckman and Bob Tasca III in earlier rounds.

“I don’t think you could put together a tougher line-up,” Hagan continued. “We’re doing good things right now and we want to keep it up, but I want to stay humble. This is such a humbling sport. Things can change fast, so we’re just gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Matt Hagan extended his Mello Yello Series points lead with his 3rd win of the year.

Matt Hagan extended his Mello Yello Series points lead with his 3rd win of the year.

It was Force’s third consecutive final round appearance and the 15-time world champ has surged from 10th to third place in the last three races. Hagan said his adrenaline was overflowing for that final round with the NHRA icon.

“John [Force] is tough so we knew we had to run well and that 4.06 in the final was stout,” said Hagan, who leads second place Cruz Pedregon by 106 points. “[Crew chief] Dickie [Venebles] and the crew have done a great job with this car. I just had to hang on and get it to the finish line.”

In Pro Stock, Coughlin raced to his second win of the season and fifth at Route 66 Raceway when he drove his Jegs and Mopar  JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger away from final round opponent Greg Anderson. Coughlin covered the distance in 6.603 at 209.85 while Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro lost traction near mid-track and slowed.

“When I let out the clutch, the car didn’t feel the best that it had all day, and by the time I got into second and third gear I was just cracking the whip on the thing as hard as I could,” said Coughlin, who moved into second place in the standings with the win. “I didn’t know that Greg was struggling next to me, but to see that win light come on in my lane and to have such a huge win here feels amazing.”

Jeg Coughlin scored for the Mopar brand again in Pro Stock

Jeg Coughlin scored for the Mopar brand again in Pro Stock


Coughlin outran Bristol winner Rodger Brogdon, Jason Line and teammate and Epping winner Allen Johnson to get to the final. He says getting the victory here put a big yellow and black bow on an outstanding weekend for the entire JEGS operation.

“It certainly didn’t hurt taking out one of the Summit cars [Anderson] in the final,” said Coughlin of his 54th career victory. “But I think that the big exclamation point is that this was the weekend of the JEGS Allstars, which is a huge, huge deal for the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and all the Sportsman racers. We put a lot of effort into this weekend, and I think that’s been a little bit of the ingredient that has contributed to our success at this track.”

Ray earned his second win of the season and third of his career in Pro Stock Motorcycle by defeating former teammate Matt Smith in the final round. Ray used a near-perfect reaction time and powered his Soeverign-Star Racing Buell to a 6.986 at 191.29 to hold off Smith’s charging Viper Motorcycle Company Buell, which finished in 6.992 at 190.22.

Michael Ray won the PSB  title on a big holeshot in the final round.

Michael Ray won the PSB title on a big holeshot in the final round.


“Most people know that I rode for Matt last year and we do have a little bit of a rivalry,” Ray said. “When I moved to Star I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve won two races so far and it was especially nice to beat my old crew chief. This was definitely a bit of redemption.”

Ray used a string of mid-6.9 second runs to defeat Epping winner John Hall, teammate Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Sr. to advance to the final round.

“After I won in Englishtown we wanted to keep the momentum going,” said Ray, who moved to second in the series standings with the victory. “Then we went to Epping and I got beat on a holeshot. I told myself coming in here that I’d either be red or perfect and I was solid on the tree all weekend.”

The TAFC final was a battle between two Ford Mustangs with Annie Whitely (far lane) emerging victorious.

The TAFC final was a battle between two Ford Mustangs with Annie Whitely (far lane) emerging victorious.

To view DragRaceCanada’s event photo gallery click:  HERE  

Event Essentials:  NHRA O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals (June 27-2-30th 2013) Joliet IL.

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Tony Schumacher 3.930 269.29  72th
R/UP: Clay Millican 4.094 171.77  
Low ET: Morgan Lucas 3.737    
Top Speed: Doug Kalitta   328.22  
Bump Spot:   3.863    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Matt Hagan 4.065 315.34  8rd
R/UP: John Force 4.113 304.80  
Low ET: Ron Capps 3.988    
Top Speed: Ron Capps   320.28  
Bump Spot:   4.141    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Jeg Coughlin 6.603 209.85  54th
R/UP: Greg Anderson 11.68  74.15  
Low ET: Mike Edwards 6.542    
Top Speed: Mike Edwards   211.64  
Bump Spot:   6.674    
Winner: Michael Ray 6.986 191.29  3rd
R/UP: Matt Smith 6.992 190.22  
Low ET: Matt Smith 6.908    
Top Speed: Matt Smith   193.82  
Bump Spot:   7.038    
LUCAS OIL Winners: Name ET MPH  
TAD  Chris Demke 5.319 271.35  
TAFC  Annie Whiteley 5.608 257.33  
Competition Mike DePalma 10.70  89.42  
Super Stock  Phil Unruh 8.688 153.30   
Stock Drew Skillman 8.869 152.16  
Super Comp Nick Folk 8.927  163.83  
Super Gas Ray Connolly 9.908 156.95  
Super Street  Ricky Shipp 10.91  135.77


Annie Whiteley’s First National Win Highlights Sportsman Racing

Chris Demke Tujunga, CA. and Annie Whiteley, Grand Junction, CO., took home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car respectively at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Route 66 Raceway.Demke worked his way through the field and ran 5.319 seconds at 271.35 mph in his final round victory over Rishi Kanick, Trinidad Tobago, who clocked in at 5.441 seconds, 262.49 mph.

Whiteley faced off against Fred Hagen, Des Plaines, IL. and posted a winning run of 5.608 seconds, 257.33 mph in her ’10 Mustang. Hagen drove to a 5.968 second, 226.81 mph lap for his runner up finish.

Other racers visiting the winner’s circle this weekend were Mike De Palma, Glendale, AZ., in Comp Eliminator; Phil Unruh, McPherson, KS., in Super Stock; Nick Folk, Durand, IL., in Super Comp; Drew Skillman, Greenwood, IN., in Stock Eliminator; Ray Connolly, Elyria, OH., in Super Gas; and Ricky Shipp, Needham, IN., in Super Street.

The Super Gas title featured stellar racers Ray Sawyer and Ray Connolly.

The Super Gas title featured stellar racers Ray Sawyer and Ray Connolly.

Stock eliminator winner Drew Skillman

Stock eliminator winner Drew Skillman

Posted by:  NHRA Communications

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler