“I should be fined a million points”

  • Tony Schumacher awaits the verdict on appeal following his hefty $20,000 fine and 50-point penalty from Brainerd, Minnesota, career.
  • With the US Nationals and the six-race countdown approaching, the decision affects other drivers as well.
  • Also, bites from a black widow spider hiding in Schumacher’s motorcycle helmet land him in the hospital over the weekend off.

    The NHRA announced last Friday that it had fined Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher $20,000 and docked 50 championship points after the most recent Camping World Drag Racing Series race, in Brainerd, Minnesota.

    The fines were split into two $10,000 penalties: one for “driving a vehicle that had two safety systems disabled” and one for “bypassing a performance restricting device” during the Lucas Oil Nationals quarterfinals at Brainerd International Race way.

    Point loss affects the countdown to the championship standings. The announcement came a week before the Friday opener of the regular season finale. The Dodge Power Brokers US Nationals in Indianapolis set the field and order of racers eligible for the title.

    spider bite tony schumacher nhra

    A 50-point penalty has dropped Tony Schumacher from eighth to tenth in the points standings.

    NHRA/National Dragster

    The Maynard/Schumacher team is in the process of appealing the decision which, if upheld, drops Schumacher from eighth to 10th place in the points standings. But because of the sanctioning body’s practice of erasing points advantages gained in the first 16 races and separating Countdown drivers in 10-point increments, Schumacher said he is not concerned about the verdict on appeal.

    “I should be fined a million points. We’d get all the news channels in the world: ‘A team loses a million points,’” he said. “What’s the difference? They take them on Monday. Take them all. Put me in 12. I’ll win the championship if I’m supposed to. But I’d like to win it from eighth place, not 10th.”

    He said, “I understand. I don’t take anything to heart about it. I did not do anything wrong. I got in the car and drove it. I don’t think what we did justifies what they did in any way, shape or form. That’s why we went and appealed it.

    “I don’t get it, so you’d have to call anyone but me. I’m not the guy,” Schumacher said. “This is what I know: I know I have seven seconds to get the car behind the other guy. I know you’re not supposed to swear on TV. I know you’re not supposed to hit someone at the finish line. I know when you’re going sideways you don’t have to step on the accelerator, because you’re going to hit something. I know simple things.

    As for the minutiae of the matter, Schumacher said: “I can’t talk about it until after they discuss it. It is under review. We’ll sit down and chat about it. We’ll see what they say. If they want to fine me, fine me. If they want to remove points, let them remove them. If they think I’m wrong, they’ll figure it out that way. I never let the little things bother me. At the end of the day, I can drive a race car, go to Indy, man.”

    “I don’t even care how it turns out, to be honest. It just doesn’t matter,” she said, though he said, “We’d like to have it done before we leave Indy.”

    Whatever happens, he said, he will accept the final decision.

    “So many wonderful things happen all the time,” said Schumacher. “Every once in a while you get some stupid stuff.”

    About that spider bite

    If that was all he had to deal with from the previous race, Schumacher might be fine. But he will show up in “The Big Go” with nasty bites on his forehead and neck from a black widow spider.

    He rode his Ducati to a car show near his home in Austin, Texas. The motorcycle had no handlebars to hang the helmet on, so he left the helmet on the grass. When he put it back on, he said, “I thought the fire ants were hitting me.” A firefighter friend provided him with oxygen and rushed him to the hospital, and an injection of epinephrine neutralized the poison. Based on the appearance of the bites, the doctor concluded that the bites were from a black widow spider.

    Schumacher holds the NHRA record for most wins at US Nationals (10) and most Top Fuel trophies (86).

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