Okuma-Sandvik partnership allows Schumacher to return again in 2020

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Eight-time Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher is returning to the NHRA. He will return for six more races.

That’s if there’s six more races in the 2020 NHRA season. There’s no guarantee that the remaining races will be competed outside of Indy.

Top Fuel Dragster pilot Tony Schumacher with the Wally after winning the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Tony Schumacher with the Wally after winning the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals (Photo by the NHRA)

There is a possibility that the teams could compete at Bristol, Tennessee; Madison, Illinois, Ennis, Texas; and Baytown, Texas. That’s if course if the NHRA elects to travel there outside of Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

With this move, Schumacher is reunited with crew chief Mike Green. He has been unemployed after being let go from John Force Racing with their team not competing in the revised schedule.

The Schumacher and Green duo competed together from 2009-2017. They won 27 races together with two Top Fuel Championships in 2009 and 2014.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up again with Mike,” said Schumacher, an 84-time national event winner. “He is very knowledgeable and I’m excited we have the opportunity to race together again. We worked together for so long, and I look forward to getting back into familiar territory with him. We’ve had a ton of success in the past, and I know we can expand on that in this new chapter.”

Schumacher returned to racing in July with the help of Global Electronic Technology. This tome around, he’s going to be working with Okuma and Sandvik Coromant.

Okuma was supposed to be represented on Leah Pruett’s ride for several races. Sandvik Coromant was supposed to be represented on Matt Hagan’s Funny Car for several races.

With the revised schedule, this allows Don Schumacher Racing to keep those obligations.

“Okuma and Sandvik Coromant are very important partners to not only DSR but DSM as well,” said Don Schumacher, owner of DSR and Don Schumacher Motorsports Precision Manufacturing (DSM). “DSM has used Okuma machine tools since 2006 and now runs nearly all of our in-house and customer production on our 16 Okuma machines. Our partnership with Sandvik extends back to 2012. DSM has one of 19 global Sandvik Training Centers inside our building here in Brownsburg, and we rely on their tooling and engineering to fully utilize our Okuma machines.

“These are uncertain times given everything going on with the global COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re doing everything we can to not only to continue to adapt and be flexible to the ever-evolving situation, but also ensure that we continue to deliver upon our commitments to our partners. This new partnership allows Matt (Hagan) and Leah (Pruett) to fulfill Mopar obligations while providing a unique co-branding opportunity for Sandvik and Okuma. Who better to sub-in and represent their brands than the most successful Top Fuel driver of all time? It’s a win all-around.”

Both companies will share equal branding of Schumacher’s Top Fuel Dragster.

“Sandvik and Okuma are very valuable to our organization,” said the second-generation racer. “Their products are crucial components in the preparation and manufacturing of the hundreds of parts we produce at DSM. Our parts and pieces have to be perfect, and that is no small order. We know we can rely on them. I’ve met the folks at both Okuma and Sandvik quite a few times at our Open House and at the race track, and we’ve always got along very well. It’s an honor to be able to represent them over these next six events. I appreciate them offering me this opportunity.

“At those first two races last month, I was surprised how quickly everything came back to me and felt natural. I still had that muscle memory from all of those years on the track. It felt so good to be back in a Top Fuel dragster and to be out there mingling with the fans. This is what I love to do. I’m so grateful that I’ll have the opportunity to be back in a DSR-prepared canopy car, racing with the winningest team in drag racing, and with my old crew chief in my corner.”

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