SHEHEEN: The Greatness of Michael Schumacher | SPEED SPORT

Ralph Sheheen

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Steve Matchett and I have been colleagues throughout our days of working motorsports telecasts for SPEED Channel.

Just lately, we had the chance to catch up and I requested Matchett, who claimed two world championships whereas working with Michael Schumacher and the Benetton Method One crew, what separated Schumacher from different drivers.

He informed a narrative concerning the 1994 German Grand Prix on the Hockenheimring. Throughout observe, Schumacher returned to his pit stall after working roughly a dozen laps and instantly informed the crew one thing was improper with the automobile.

Matchett mentioned the crew checked the automobile over and located nothing. Schumacher returned to the monitor and ran some blistering laps, however upon returning to the pits he once more informed the crew there was one thing improper with the automobile.

Schumacher then ran laps within the backup automobile. As he exited the machine, he confirmed one thing was positively improper with the first automobile.

Later that evening whereas the crew was performing an everyday engine change in preparation for the subsequent day’s race, it was decided that one of many handful of studs that bolt the engine to the chassis had a hairline fracture. It wasn’t damaged however in some way Schumacher might really feel it. That’s how linked he was to the automobile. Outstanding!

– I requested Matchett what was the most-challenging nook for an F-1 engineers to take care of. He mentioned one of many hardest was the hairpin at Monaco.

“Groups would spend thousands and thousands of {dollars} on simply this one race a yr,” Matchett mentioned, “attempting to develop the wanted elements to get their vehicles to barter such a good nook.”

Thousands and thousands of {dollars} for only one flip!

– Dr. Jamie Meyer, the brand new president of Efficiency Racing Trade, tells us this yr’s PRI Present has gotten the inexperienced flag. The occasion will happen Dec. Sep 11 contained in the Indiana Conference Heart in Indianapolis.

Once I requested how many individuals are anticipated for the present, Meyer answered with out hesitation, “65,000.” Be sure to register early at You received’t wish to miss the return of the business’s most-important commerce present.

The occasion begins with the standard Grand Opening Breakfast on Dec. 9, and yours really would be the host.

Whereas getting ready for PRI, be sure that to study concerning the new PRI Membership program. It’s the proper approach to present your dedication to the racing business. There are too many advantages to this new program to record right here. SPEED SPORT is a proud member of the PRI Membership Program.

– Pleasure is constructing in northern California, not just for the return of the NASCAR Cup Sequence to Sonoma Raceway, however for the return of followers to the hillside as nicely through the June 5-6 weekend.

The annual West Coast Inventory Automotive Motorsports Corridor of Fame induction dinner offered by World Broad Expertise Raceway was the brainchild of West Coast NASCAR chief Ken Clapp. The dinner has turn into the spotlight occasion away from the monitor through the annual Wine Nation NASCAR weekend.

This yr’s extremely anticipated occasion will happen June 5 on the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif.

Because the host, I sit up for the induction of a bunch of legendary racers together with Rick Mears, Tommy Kendall, Tom Gloy and George Snider.

Tickets are nonetheless accessible from

– It was very unhappy to listen to of the demise of Darrick Dong, the longtime director of motorsports for PFC Brakes. Dong and I received to know one another nicely on a wide range of pit lanes all through the world of racing. He was all the time pleasant and stuffed with useful data for this inquisitive reporter. RIP Darrick.

– For those who have been a racer or race fan who grew up in Northern California as I did, Baylands Raceway Park meant racing. Whether or not you have been into dash vehicles, drag racing, bikes or boats; the whole lot raced there.

So lots of the sport’s legends raced at Baylands — Don Prudhomme, Steve Kinser and Kenny Roberts to call a number of. Sadly, like Riverside Int’l Raceway, Ontario Motor Speedway and Ascot Park, Baylands was one other California pace palace that was closed as a result of the land was extra priceless as actual property.

Thankfully, for these of us who attended races at Baylands and for individuals who love racing historical past, the monitor’s story has been informed in a brand new e book by former SPEED SPORT contributor Dennis Mattish.

Mattish joined forces with David Vodden, who was the final supervisor, promoter and monitor announcer at Baylands Raceway, and Stephen Justice, who raced at Fremont Drag Strip on the Baylands property, to maintain this distinctive historical past alive.

The hardcover coffee-table e book is packed stuffed with pictures via the years, together with Humorous Vehicles, dash vehicles and flat-track bikes

If you need a duplicate, contact Mattish at

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