Don Schumacher’s Top Five Most Influential Funny Cars

Don SchumacherDon Schumacher’s a car owner, right? Yea, that’s what he is now. He’s got 6 full-pro NHRA drag racing teams running including his son and Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher.

Before that, Don Schumacher was the pilot of his “Stardust” Funny Car.  Don retired from racing  in 1974 to focus on his family business and it’s said, “a huge sigh of relief was heard from rivals like Gene Snow and Raymond Beadle in Texas, Pat Foster and Don Prudhomme in California and the late “Jungle Jim” Liberman in Pennsylvania.” 

Known as “The Shoe” he was tearing up tracks, especially at match races and even in England where you’ll find several records he set as an ambassador for drag racing across the big pond.

Shoe won the winner of the  1972 Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars,  the 1973 AHRA World Championship, 5 NHRA (including Indy) and 9 IHRA event titles driving his Plymouth Barracuda Funny Cars always called “Stardust”.

Don Schumacher, the driver and mega-team owner who wears all 6 team colored shirts on any given weekend is our next “Top Five Most Influential Funny Cars”

Don “The Shoe” Schumacher’s Top 5 Funny Cars

"Dyno" Don's Mercury Comet was one of the first Funny CarsDyno Don Comet Funny Car

“I have to start off with “Dyno” Don Nicholson with the Mercury Comet, sponsored by Mercury. Those Mercury cars were really the first flip top Funny Cars, full fiberglass body, and chassis made by the Logghes.

Pics from 60’s funny cars

Gary Dyer and the "Mr. Norm" Funny CarArnie Beswick Pontiace Funny Car

“Gary Dyer in the Mr. Norms car and Arnie Beswick with his Pontiacs. Those two were really kind of the first Funny Car people in the business. They took stock cars and cut the rear ends off from underneath them and moved the rear wheels forward. They went from injected cars to supercharged cars. They were on the match race circuit, and they really developed a lot of the Funny Car stuff over the years. I could take credit myself for a lot of that kind of stuff but my cars weren’t one of the top five Funny Cars of all time in my eyes.”

Pics from Pontiac Heaven

Chi-Town Hustler Funny CarChi-Town Hustler Funny Car

“The Chi Town Hustler is one of the top Funny Cars in my eyes. They really developed the smoky burnouts and that part of the sport that makes it a show.”

Pics from Keystone Bison Dragway website

Jungle Jim Liberman Funny CarJungle Jim Liberman Funny Car

“Jungle Jim Liberman. He was just the best showman of all time. If he was alive today, John Force wouldn’t be able to keep a candle lit close to him. If you want to add a sixth one you can certainly add John Force and his cars in there, but of the early Funny Cars and what developed the Funny Cars, those were the guys that developed it and did it and were the most renowned Funny Car drivers and teams in that era.

“There’s so many Funny Cars to choose from but none of them really developed to the point that these other guys did. They really had it.”

Another big thanks to Judy Stropus from Don Schumacher Racing and of course “the Shoe” himself. These stories were done during a race, so we appreciate the time.

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