Tony Schumacher is one of the fastest men on earth. The driver of the U.S. Army-backed Top Fuel Dragster spends his spring, summer and fall traveling all over North America racing 1,000 feet at a time. The 7-time NHRA national series champion regularly covers that distance in less than 4 seconds and carries 330 mph through the timing lights. Its something he mentioned when we talked snowmobiling with him back in 2013, when this article first appeared.
But when Schumacher isn’t traveling or racing (he has his winters off), the speed demon and his family like to spend time at their second home in Door County, Wisconsin, where snowmobiling is a prime hobby. We caught up with Tony this winter (not an easy guy to catch!) and asked him, “Why do you love snowmobiling?” These are his answers:
1. It’s A Great Winter Hobby — I’m gone 200 days a year, but I’m home all winter. That gives me a great reason to find a winter sport. And I am not the cross-country ski guy, my job is about massive horsepower and intensity, so I like snowmobiling.
2. It’s Like A Dragster, Really — I’ve driven every vehicle there is, and believe it or not, a snowmobile is the most like a top fuel dragster as you can get. Now, in a top fuel car, we’re going from zero to 100 in eight tenths of a second, so there are differences. But you know that feeling of the back of the sled trying to pass the front when you get hard on the gas? That slipping and sliding and moving and grooving? That’s what it’s like trying to control a top fuel car.
3. It’s So Much Better Than It Was — It really is a fantastic winter sport, and I’d say it’s 10 times better now than it was when I was growing up on a Phazer and an Exciter. The machines are so much better, plus back in those days you were cold all the time. Now, with the new gear, you’re warm and comfortable.
4. It’s Always A Great Time — I love the smell and the power. Any longtime snowmobiler knows that the smell of snowmobiles right after you start them is arousing – you just know you’re going to have a great time. I can’t think of the last time I got off of a snowmobile and didn’t think that I had just had a great day.
5. It’s A Great Family Sport — My kids love snowmobiling as much as me and my wife do. I’ve got a Crossfire 1000 and my wife’s got an F5 that I like to ride a lot, and we’ve got an Arctic Cat 120 and I have one of the old two-stroke Kitty Cats and a Snoscoot that the kids ride around. I’ve got 38.5 acres up in Door County, and we’ll just ride around on that sometimes and on the small motocross track I have, and we’ll have a great time.