NHRA Racer Tony Schumacher Talks Shop With Engineering Students During Campus Visit

NHRA Racer Tony Schumacher Talks Shop With Engineering Students During Campus Visit
Tony Schumacher talks with engineering students about his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster during a visit to Cal Poly Pomona.

Students gather around Schumacher's dragster on display between buildings 9 & 17 on Nov. 7.

Tony ?The Sarge? Schumacher and his U.S. Army-sponsored dragster make pit stops at dozens of college campuses each year, but he rarely comes across engineering students who are able to ?talk shop.?

Schumacher, an NHRA Top Fuel drag racer, visited the Cal Poly Pomona campus on Nov. 7 where he spent an hour speaking with a class of engineering students.

?It?s nice to visit a college like Cal Poly Pomona where there is an engineering program that allows me to discuss things other than ?This car is fast?,? says Schumacher, the 1999 NHRA Top Fuel World champion. ?This is the fastest machine in the world, and going over the engineering and aerodynamics is very interesting. It?s amazing how many good ideas I get from the students just from brainstorming.?

During Schumacher?s visit, his dragster ? featuring a 500 cubic inch TFX aluminum hemi engine ? and the team?s specially equipped Hummer support vehicle were on display between buildings 9 & 17. Running on nitro-methane fuel, an NHRA Top Fuel dragster goes from zero to 100 miles-per-hour in just 0.8 seconds. It accelerates faster than any other land vehicle on earth, and starts faster than even the space shuttle.

Schumacher spent another hour at an open meet-and-greet session where he answered various questions ?including a few from President Suzuki, who holds bachelor?s and master?s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a doctorate in Aeronautics ? about his dragster and getting started in the drag racing business.

Schumacher told the president and other students that at the age of 16 he started drag racing on a small track in Chicago, and each year he would move up to a faster vehicle. But he warns students that drag racing isn?t all fun and games.

?It?s not just about driving a fast car, but learning the right way and having the right people around you,? says Schumacher. ?It?s fast, but it?s also very dangerous.?

U.S. Army representatives were also on hand during Schumacher?s visit, which tied in with Government in Careers Week, sponsored by the Career Center.

Schumacher, the son of legendary Funny Car driver Don ?The Shoe? Schumacher, earned two Top Fuel victories this season. He competed in the season-ending Auto Club of Southern California Finals Nov. 7-10 at historic Pomona Raceway, where he finished in the top 10.