NHRA Silly Season Begins With Force’s Mike “Zippy” Neff Moving To Schumacher Racing!

NHRA Silly Season Begins With Force’s Mike “Zippy” Neff Moving To Schumacher Racing!

(Photos by Mike and Jeff Burghardt)  Yeah, it is that time of the year, the Silly Season in all of motorsports, the time when crew chiefs and drivers consider better deals, better positions, more money and the intangibles each professional racer has gotta consider in a successful career.  Well this is a Big One – with the announcement today that John Force’s personal Crew Chief Mike Neff is leaving him!

In preparations for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season well underway, DSR owner Don Schumacher announced changes to the Don Schumacher Racing team roster.

Accomplished tuner Mike “Zippy” Neff joins DSR as crew chief on the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster of eight-time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher. Neff had prior success at DSR winning the 2005 championship as crew chief on Gary Scelzi’s Dodge Funny Çar team. Neff’s initial stint at DSR was from 2001-’07 before joining rival John Force Racing where he helped earn the 2010 NHRA Funny Car crown with Force. He also won one Funny Car race in 2009 as a driver/tuner.

Former U.S. Army crew chief Mike Green, who guided Schumacher to 27 event titles and championships in 2009 and ’14, will remain at DSR. Green’s guidance on safety and performance projects have been vital to the organization’s success.

“We welcome Mike Neff back to the DSR family,” team owner Don Schumacher said. “We know Mike will be a great asset to DSR and feel he will help the Army team run for a championship in 2018. Mike knows DSR and we know his talents as a crew chief.


“Mike Green will continue to play an important role at DSR, including working with all seven of our teams. Mike developed the enclosed cockpit dragster that all the DSR cars and others in the sport run. Mike’s passion for the sport will help make the DSR cars safer and perform at a higher level next season. We thank Mike for helping us win two NHRA championships with Tony and the Army.”

It was a lackluster season for the “The Sarge”, since there wasn’t a U.S. Army Top Fuel championship in the cards for the first time in four years for eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher.

The Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster driven by three-time champion Antron Brown will be tuned by Mark Oswald and Brad Mason in 2018. Brown enters the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with 49 career Top Fuel victories.  A rumor going around is that Brian Corradi, co-crew chief on Brown’s dragster is leaving DSR, moving over to John Force Racing.

“Mark is a very talented person. He can drive, tune, fabricate and do many, many things on these race cars. He is an asset to DSR and this is a great opportunity for Brad to move up as he has been waiting his time to move into the assistant crew chief seat.”


DSR also has promoted NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car car chief Dustin Heim to be Rahn Tobler’s (right) assistant crew chief for the NAPA Dodge driven by 2016 champion Ron Capps. Heim has been at DSR since 2009.

DSR’s seven race teams amassed 25 wins, 22 runners-up, 19 poles and one Traxxas Funny Car Shootout win last season. They will begin the 2018 season with preseason testing near Phoenix on Jan. 31, 2018, before the 24-race NHRA season begins on Feb. 9 at Pomona, Calif. Last February, DSR’s Leah Pritchett and Matt Hagan swept the nitro titles at the historic NHRA season-opener.



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15 thoughts on “NHRA Silly Season Begins With Force’s Mike “Zippy” Neff Moving To Schumacher Racing!

  1. LB Jackson

    Force must be a huge pain in the ass to work for, Neff is one of the best. Or it was only about the money.

  2. j christopher

    d s is a p…k always was and always will be he alone has ruined drag racing if he wants to win he buys the whole team to bad his good drivers dont quit on him and go elsewhere we wil see if brian can put force in to another championship if rumors are true

  3. Kenny Brown

    dsr racing is a big money pit do you ever see don put any money back into racing hell no he is a taker and always will be he only cares about one thing and one thing only money his son is a spoiled rotten brat that s why Allen Johnson left if it wasn\’t for him he wouldn\’t even have that many championships i love it when he loses

    1. Jason Jackson

      All you will ever see is Don Schumacher putting money back into racing, DSR is Mello Yello drag racing. Without his teams & money investment in racing, there would be half of the amount of pro fessional drag racing cars, did Don shit in your Cheerios?

  4. j christopher

    dont know how old you are so i will let that slide and i dont like boxed cereal but ask any one that raced in the 70s d s still a typical rich guy he could pay the national debt just watch his face when one of his 7 plus teams loses hagen is another al hoffman cry baby don likes them he controls them like i said once a prick always a prick he played starting line games caused a lot of broken parts and guys just getting started to give up

    1. Jason Jackson

      Check your calendar j christopher, the 70s were over fifty years ago. Without Don Schumacher Pro Drags are just a shadow.

      1. D. S.

        Are you serious? You need to stop smoking that weed and go back and look at drag racing history. People like Big Daddy, Don Prudhomme, KC spurlock, Eddie Hill, Kenny Bernstein, John Force, just to name a few.. were the backbone of the NHRA. Back then it took guts and hard work to win a race. Now pricks like Shumacher and Kalitta just throw money at a car and the small guy can\’t compete anymore. There used to be a time when a car owner drove the car, tuned the car, towed the car to the track and worked during the week to pay the bills. Now, if you don\’t have millions, you can\’t compete.

  5. Art Ist

    So Mike Green is demoted to Medlens safety spot? I wish Tony would have retired after his last championship.

  6. Brewster J.

    NHRA is dying but I still love it. 70s were the golden era but sad those are over. Nitro cars have become the sport of kings. Joe Six-Pak doesn\’t have a prayer. Sure do miss the 70s. 32 car field. Now barely 16. A DNQ is rare.Nitro cars have too much power. They cannibalize themselves before the finish line. A clean pass seldom happens.

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