wisecracks in the
staging lanes is as
close to competing
with each other as
force and schumacher
get each weekend.
(BeLo W) so, which
In 2012, John
the third family
member to race in
NHRA Funny Car
– fourth including
Robert Hight. Her
older sister, Brittany,
is currently testing
a JFR-run Top Fuel
dragster and could
race it in 2013.
doing a burnout, thinking, “Well, this
could be my last one.” The only time I
ever really thought about the danger was
on my first run after the crash [in Dallas
in 2007]. And I drove that son of a bitch
right out the back door. You want to take
me? Take me. I was over it.
SCHUMACHER Yeah, Blaine Johnson…
he’s who I would have raced in the first
round of my first race if he’d still been
there. I’m not afraid of crashing. This is
what we do. You know what I’m afraid of?
Having to do something else for a living.
There was a time, and it wasn’t that long
ago, when if I could have scrunched my
head down into my shoulders at the
1,000ft mark, I would have. Top Fuel cars
were just breaking in half for no reason.
Oh, the wing came off? We can fix that.
But the car just broke in half, and I have
to get in another one tomorrow? Wait a
minute. That’s different. That could have
happened again and again and again,
because we didn’t know why it was
happening. There’s fear there, but I drive
better with fear. And from what I can see,
so do you. I’ve screwed up races –
everybody has – but when I’ve done it, it
was usually some nothing-special race,
just another run. When I’ve absolutely,
positively had to do the job, I’ve done it.
That’s dealing with fear. You can’t tell me
man, this isn’t going to be good.”
SCHUMACHER My wife was in a suite
that day, two stories up, right behind my
lane. She saw the whole thing. We got
over it. I’ve driven for a long time now. I
don’t know when I’ll quit, but it won’t be
because someone tells me to. It’ll be
because I don’t want to do it anymore.
FORCE You ain’t quittin’. You know you’re
going to climb back in that thing as long as
they’ll let you. If it said, “I’M GOING TO KILL
YOU ON THIS RUN” on the side of the car,
you’d still get in it. You can’t quit this stuff.
When I crashed at Dallas and they put me
in that helicopter, I was thinking it might be
all over for me. I was in a blur – and that’s
before they gave me all the drugs. We
strap ourselves in and wonder where that
next grenade is going to come from.
that a driver doesn’t know what’s on the
line in a big race and that he could screw
it up. That’s a fear much worse than
“I might crash.” There are a lot of people
who choke on those moments. I’ve lived
them. Being a part of moments like that
is my biggest gift.
FORCE No, Tony, your biggest gift was
barely missing that Tree when you went
over the wall at Memphis [in 2000]. I was
there. I saw it. I thought, “How many lives
does this cat have?” When you were
bouncing over by that tree, I thought, “Oh
But when you really are done with
racing – what then?
SCHUMACHER When it comes to the
point where I never get to drive another
racecar for the rest of my life, I’ll always
be able to say that my teams
accomplished greatness. I left nothing
on the table. I’ve beaten people and
they’ve beaten me, but I don’t have to
look back with anything but pride.
FORCE I don’t know what I’ll do. Without
racing, I got no life.