Top Fuel's winningest driver, Tony Schumacher, has made a career of thriving under pressure. He'll have plenty of pressure to succeed this weekend at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. 

Schumacher will race a dragster featuring a throwback tribute on his JCM Racing Top Fueler to his father, Hall of Famer Don Schumacher. It will be the first time he's raced in Chicago since his father's passing. 

The Don Schumacher tribute will be unveiled at 11:30 a.m. CST on Friday, May 17, during the Celebration of Life ceremony. 

"That's going to be cool as hell, man," Schumacher said. "It just reminds me of the old Snake [Don Prudhomme] car they did last year. I just think it's cool, and obviously, I'm quite looking forward to it. We're going to have Schumacher Electric, which was built in Chicago, and there are so many people that you don't even call employees, man. They're family, and they've been family for years and years, and they're going to be out there, and I think the four or 500 of them are coming, so it's going to be a beautiful thing."

One thing is sure: it won't be one of the yellow Stardust schemes the second-gen Schumacher has come to love throughout his life. The theme will be the 1970 NHRA U.S. Nationals championship-winning car. 



"I got to be honest, I'd probably pick the yellow one, but it's going to be so cool as hell," Schumacher added. "It's one of his cool cars."

About that pressure to succeed... Schumacher is focused on doing what he has done so well throughout his career - winning in the big moments. 

"Well, I definitely don't want to lose," Schumacher said. "It just falls into my wheelhouse 'cause we've always been the ones where if you throw that pressure on us, we tend to perform better, and I think we all do. You drop a little load of extra pressure on it, and you all step up to the plate and play the game. It's going to be fun. It'll be great. 

"I'm excited to get there and see old friends and look forward to going back, obviously, to Joliet for the second year. I wish the track never went away, but it's great to have it back and operating again."

And as Schumacher points out, he's riding with a clear mission.