Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000

Broken leg won’t stop Schumacher this week

Top Fuel dragster remains in hunt

October 26, 2000


A broken left leg won't keep NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher from trying to compete this weekend in Baytown, Texas.

"I'm not doing this to look cool," said Schumacher, 126 points behind leader Gary Scelzi with three events remaining. "Everyone knows I'm hurt, everyone knows we've won some races, everyone knows we were going for the championship, so this wouldn't be some great loss of pride."

But his failure to race in the Matco Tools Supernationals certainly would mean a loss of points.

"I just didn't feel that our team should be No. 3," said Schumacher, who's 97 points ahead of Larry Dixon. "I didn't want to just sit on the sidelines and let that happen, watch it all go away."

Schumacher was injured Oct. 7 in a crash in Memphis, Tenn. His leg hurts and he's on clutches, but the 30-year-old driver from Park Ridge, Ill., says he can still work the clutch.

"We told the doctor that it takes a maximum pressure of 150 pounds to work the clutch, and he said I'll be able to do that," Schumacher said. "I know it's going to be painful, but I don't think there's another racer out there who wouldn't do the same thing."

Moving Up: NASCAR truck series driver Randy Tolsma hopes to make his Winston Cup debut Nov. 12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We're going to give it a try, but I'm not getting my hopes up or anything, said Tolsma, who will drive the No. 61 Pontiac for Team Rensi. "This sport has a way of humbling you."

But Tolsma is optimistic, in part because he feels comfortable on the virtually flat, 1 1/2-mile track.

"Homestead is a track where I've sat on the pole and run really well at every time I've been there," he said. "Plus, Pontiac has won there before, so they're really good cars at Homestead."

Chief Changes: Chad Knaus, Ray Evernham's longtime protege who managed Dodge's Winston Cup development program, has joined Melling Racing as crew chief.

The 29-year-old Knaus will direct driver Stacy Compton's No. 9 entry that will switch from Ford to Dodge next season.

"What intrigues me is that we've got such a young organization with so much potential," Knaus said. "Our driver is young, our owner is young, I'm young, and most of our guys are young."

Hooked: Billy "Catfish" Parker, the younger brother of NASCAR Busch Series driver Hank Parker Jr., is attempting to make his first Grand National start Sunday at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Billy Parker will drive a car owned by Rich Rathbun, whose Team Marines program sponsors Hank's cars. The younger brother has won twice this year in the American Racing Association series.

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