Yas Marina Circuit, the spectacular new track in Abu Dhabi that is host to the United Arab Emirates' Formula 1 race, has partnered with Don Schumacher Racing, winner of eight NHRA championships and 136 races, to provide two complete Top Fuel dragster teams to be based in Abu Dhabi. The cars will first compete during the inaugural International Drag Racing Festival on March 18-20 at Yas Marina Circuit's impressive new drag racing facility.
In a separate agreement, Yas Marina becomes the first NHRA member facility outside of North America.
"Yas Marina Circuit is extremely proud to be associated with Don Schumacher Racing, the current and eight-times NHRA World Champions," said Richard Cregan, CEO, Yas Marina Circuit. "Drag racing will be a significant and exciting cornerstone of establishing Yas Marina Circuit as a world-class motor racing venue. Our partnership with Don Schumacher Racing, the world's best drag racing team, will help us establish the Yas Drag Racing Centre and our Yas Drag Racing Team as serious contenders on the world drag racing stage."
"What a fantastic opportunity that has been presented to DSR, to build two Top Fuel teams to run in Abu Dhabi at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit," said team owner Don Schumacher, who visited the Yas Marina track last October. "This program began the Monday after Pomona, and for these team members to accomplish what everyone will see in March is just incredible. The support from everyone in Abu Dhabi has been terrific and we plan on building on this relationship in the years to come."
At the inaugural International Drag Racing Festival, the Yas Drag Racing Centre Top Fuel dragsters will be driven by nine-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr., and 2007 Top Fuel runner-up Rod Fuller. The Yas Marina Circuit/DSR Top Fuel project is fronted by team manager Lee Beard, who has won more than 50 races as a crew chief and tuned 10 different drivers to NHRA victories in the Top Fuel and Funny Car ranks. The team leaders for the two Top Fuel cars are veteran crew members Rip Reynolds and Mike Domagala.
The Yas Drag Racing Centre is managed by George Case, a familiar name in the NHRA drag racing circles having managed the ultra-fast drag strip at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., for more than 20 years. Case will have the support of Rashed Al Qubaisi, who holds a license from Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. Case and Al Qubaisi will work with "a world-class team" to design, build, tune and race drag racing vehicles at the Yas Drag Racing Centre.