Tony Schumacher to return to full time competition in 2022
The most decorated Top Fuel driver is back
Don Schumacher Racing announced this morning that eight time Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher will be back to competing full time in 2022.
Tony is slated to run the full 22 race season and will be on the hunt for his ninth championship. Leading the charge for Tony's team will be highly decorated crew chief Todd Okuhara. Todd has been in the DSR family since 2005 and is currently the crew chief of Leah Pruett's car.
Signing on as the primary backers for Tony's 2022 run is a name fans are now familiar with, The Maynard Family. The Maynard Family joined drag racing's winningest organization in 2021 as a major associate partner. Other partners of the car will be announced at a later date.
Team owner Don Schumacher had this to say about Tony's return, "We're thrilled to have Tony return to full time competition next year aboard The Maynard Family Top Fuel dragster. Tony and Todd are two of the most dominant players in our sport, and I liken this alliance to two powerhouses teaming up. I have no doubt the Tony-Todd combo will find success early on in their 2022 campaign.
"Joe and Cathi Maynard joined our team at the beginning of 2021, and have proven to be tremendous partners. We couldn't be more pleased that they have decided to grow with our team into a larger role and we look forward to continuing to make them proud."
Tony has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity like this to arise. After a 19 year run driving the US Army Top Fuel Dragster Schumacher hung up his helmet following the 2018 season when his longtime sponsor redirected its marketing efforts away from motorsports. When the 2020 season resumed after a four month hiatus due to COVID-19, Don Schumacher found himself with sponsor obligations to fulfill and tasked his son with taking over driver responsibilities for a third DSR Top Fuel dragster to close out the season. It didn't take long at all for Tony to find his way back to the winners circle. After a year and a half of sitting he raced to career win number 85 in Baytown, Texas, only is seventh race back.
"I wasn't interested in just doing a few one offs here and there," Tony explained. "I wanted to be in a situation where I could compete for a championship. 2020 was an exception of course, and returning to the seat for that eight race stint made me realize how much I truly, truly missed being out there and driving a 330-mile-per-hour Top Fuel machine. Drag racing is in my blood; it's who I am, and I'm incredibly pumped I get to suit back up and race for a championship in 2022."
The Maynards have had their eye on Tony for a while and are ecstatic to be such an integral part of his return to racing.
"Cathi and I have been avid NHRA fans for many years, and as Army veterans, Tony Schumacher in the US Army dragster was always our favorite and ignited our passion for drag racing," explained Joe Maynard who retired from the Army as an SFC in 1994, while wife Cathi served the country as a Military Policewoman and Department of the Army Civilian from 1976 to 1994.
"When we first became involved with DSR last year, our initial discussions centered around bringing Tony back in a full time capacity, and we've been working toward that goal ever since. We're so excited that we get to be a major part of his return and can't wait to see him get back to his winning ways."