NEW BLUE 10/24/2000 - Boss News Headlines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MIKE DeLILLE 847-778-6444 ARMY CONTACT: ANTHONY MIGLIAZZO 312-220-3146 Schumacher to make return at Matco Tools SuperNationals Park Ridge, Ill. (Oct. 24):

One day after receiving doctor's clearance to drive and three weeks after his devastating crash in Memphis, reigning NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion, Tony Schumacher will return to the seat of his Army dragster at fourth annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions,

Oct. 26-29, at Houston Raceway Park. On Monday in Indianapolis, Schumacher had the cast removed from his lower left leg and received clearance from medical staff to return to NHRA competition as he defends his 1999 Top Fuel title. "With the rain-out in Dallas, it made the chance to get back into the points race that much greater," said Schumacher. "We will make a pass on Friday and see how everything feels."

Schumacher stressed his desired to get back to competition, but also reiterated that he would only do so if he felt 100% ready to go. "We may or may not make all four qualifying runs," Schumacher added, "depending on how my leg feels with the g-forces of a run." "The only way for me to find out if I am ready is to make a pass." Schumacher would also be able to run in the rain delayed O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex the following week. Though the qualifying field has been set and tech closed, Don Schumacher would be allowed to make a driver change.

The rule requires that all previous runs by the original driver be thrown out, but since no cars made any qualifying attempts, Tony Schumacher would be able to have the same number of passes as each competitor. Schumacher is currently second in championship points, 126 points behind leader, Gary Scelzi. Schumacher is scheduled to arrive in Houston on Thursday evening and will be at the track Friday morning to get fitted back into the car that helped him win the 1999 Winston title. That car is also the famed 330-mph car that recorded the fastest pass in the history of the sport.