Second generation drag racer Travis Shumake made his first passes in a Top Fuel dragster Tuesday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park following the U.S. Nationals.
Shumake, who purchased his Top Fuel dragster lovingly nicknamed “Judith Light” in the spring of 2023, made three pulls down Indianapolis Raceway Park, with support from crew chief Rob Flynn and the Scrappers Racing team. Shumake gradually progressed with his first pass to nearly 200 feet and his second to about the 400 mark with tire smoke that had Shumake shutting the car off. On his third attempt, Shumake made a planned 600-foot shut off but at 3.939 seconds and 254.90 mph it was enough to count towards his Top Fuel license and eclipsed his career best 3.967 pass in a nitro Funny Car.
“Tuesday’s session was exactly what we wanted. It wasn’t just about seat time, it was about understanding the car and some of the new technology we’ve added,” Shumake said. “As an owner, I see and hear things differently now, including the engine. Nothing feels better than turning around in the shut off area and seeing the powerplant in one piece.
“This car is fast. We’re slowly seeing what she’s capable of while giving me some extra seta time in preparation for next season,” continued Shumake. “It’s nice to take things slow because we can. I didn’t want to get out of the car, but they said it’s not safe to sleep inside the cockpit.”
Shumake’s “Judith Light” dragster has a strong line of former drivers and owners including Blake Alexander and Josh Hart who each had two wins in the dragster and Mike Salinas who bought the dragster from Hart with the intention of his daughter racing it before making the decision to build a brand-new car. The dragster is now fully customized for Shumake’s 6’ 4”, 200-pound frame.
“Having the driver’s compartment completely rebuilt for my giant dimensions really changed the experience,” said Shumake. “It’s a tight squeeze but it’s the most comfortable and safe I’ve felt in any car.”
Despite roots in the nitro Funny Car class from his father, national event winning Funny Car driver Tripp Shumake, and mother, Susie, who was a staple at events and was inducted into the Arizona Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Travis Shumake is paving his own path by taking on dragsters.
Shumake made his NHRA competition debut when he drove Randy Meyer Racing’s Top Alcohol Dragster in the 2022 season. Shumake competed in four national events earning a No. 3 qualifying position at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte and a career best semifinal finish at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania. In addition to the new racecar, Shumake also purchase a truck and trailer this week, displaying his commitment to the drag racing dream going forward.