|Back when Dorsey drove for Roush Racing I was a fan, but I am sorry to say that in the 1994 – 1995 Trans Am seasons, he was one of those guys who was a threat to Tommy Kendall winning yet another race. Is it obvious yet that I am a Roush fan???? No disrespect of course, Mr. Gloy and his outfit deserve every bit of credit earned. Besides, without Schroeder, Simo, and Borkowski knocking on Kendall’s bumper, the racing would not have been as good as it was.|
Driver Bio: The Ford Mustang’s 25th anniversary was in 1989, and there was a lot more to celebrate thanks to Dorsey Schroeder. It was his rookie season in the SCCA Trans Am series, and he drove the number 25 “Anniversary” Mustang for Roush Racing. Six wins and 12 top five finishes in 14 races earned Dorsey his first professional racing championship, and also made a major contribution toward the Ford Motor Company wining it’s first Trans Am manufacturer’s title since Parnelli Jones did so in 1970. The next year he won the IMSA GTO driver’s title in a Mercury Cougar. Schroeder also contributed to the nine year winning streak of Roush Racing and Ford Motor Company cars in the Daytona 24 hours. He won GTS class in 1992 with Robby Gordon and Wally Dallenbach Jr., driving a Mustang. Dorsey began road racing at age 18, the first year he could get a competition license. He turned pro a decade later, carrying a winning record that included 18 national Formula Atlantic victories.
At the 100 year of Ford celebration held over June 12th through the 16th, I had the opportunity to interview Dorsey and let me tell you do not find many drivers these days are as nice, personable, and as real as Dorsey. Thank you sir for such a great conversation:
IOM: What are you up to these days?
DS: Actually I started a restaurant and bar on the water in the Ozarks, it’s a theme kind of thing called Dorsey’s Pit Stop. “Pit stop” obviously because it’s about racing and also because we do a tremendous amount of barbeque and steaks, and so forth. It’s a passion that I have had, other than racing, all my life, you know cooking and entertaining. We startedit in May of last year.
IOM: Does this mean that you are behind the kitchen cooking?
DS: Well yeah, every day, 7 days a week.
IOM: How did you get started in Motorsports?
DS: My father was a car dealer and he dabbled in racing. I was at tracks at probably two years old. I my first car was a quarter midget that he bought me when I was about five, I guess. I tootled around and wrecked it a few times. So you know, I was kind of brought up in the racing community. Him being a car dealer, it was a natural thing. I turned into a gear head pretty early.
IOM: What was your first professional ride?
DS: My first real professional ride that I got into was Sports Renault. In 1985 when SCCA put that class together, Renault heavily backed it. The cars cost $10,000.00 in kit form and if you won a pro race it paid $10,000.00. That was a good pay back. Without question, the best I have ever seen in my racing career. I had at that time already been racing for 14 years, running Formula Atlantic and Formula Vee. They were not paying anything and I was not getting anywhere. I believe the concept of the spec series, you know where the driver is the difference. I was one of the first ones to buy one and ended up winning the pro championship in 1985. We won like six races that year and ended up making $70,000.00,…… I mean my God….(Laughing).
IOM: I know that you have a long extensive career in different types of series, which was your favorite…. out of everything you have driven, IMSA GTO, SCCA Trans-Am, ALMS?
DS: You know the IMSA GTO car was the most awesome car I think that there ever was. That is before they (IMSA) started putting regulations on everything. The Cougar that I ran with Roush, actually it was Lee White that built that 4 cylinder 2.5L Ford SOHC engine. It was basically a Pinto motor, with a 1000 hp. It took big steroids pills….. the thing was a monster…..
IOM: One of my favorites……
DS: (With a huge smile) Ohhhh, that thing was fast, I mean we had a thousand horsepower in qualifying. It had the same wheels, tires, and brakes that the GTP cars had, yet we did not have the down force they had. Thussss… we were faster than they were in a straight line. That was a MONSTER, that was the funny car of road racing.
IOM: I know that you drove for both Jack Roush and Tom Gloy….
DS: Yeah, Trans Am was also a lot of fun to drive. It really went through a lot of changes from where it was when I started in 1989, when I won the championship, to where it has evolved to now. The cars are no where near as good as they used to be. Tthe SCCA kept changing the rules to try and make the sport a little cheaper. In 1989 the car was a real Hot Rod, had a lot of horsepower, good weight distribution, a 51.5% rear weight distribution, whereas now it has a 50/50, so it does not hook up as well. They were a lot faster then, I mean those records we ran back then were very cool. When I got into Gloy’s car coming from the situation with Roush, it was completely different car by then. It had evolved to a new car and you had to learn to drive it differently. Through the three or four years I drove for Tom, it switched from a conventional four link rear suspension to a three link. When they (Riley and Scott) made that change, again you had to adapt that driving style to suite the need. So, they were all fun in their own way, but the cars have gotten slower and heavier…. I don’t like that (Laughing).
IOM: Who was the better owner Jack or Tom?
DS: You know that is a funny question, because you knew with Jack right away, that going in, there is no question that your performance level had better be at the top. Tom, on the other hand, was around a lot more than Jack. Jack because of the Winston cup was not at all of the races. Tom was at every single race and there is no more competitive person on the planet than Tom Gloy. He wants you to win every single session, a practice session, a qualifying session, and a race. If you don’t, he’s chewing on ya. It took a little while for him and I to see eye to eye, that I am trying my best and that I want to win just as bad as he wants to win. But there were some pretty intense moments with both of them, at one point or another (chuckling).
IOM: Any chance that behind the wheel again, either back with Dyson or Champion any time soon?
DS: I don’t think so. The whole thing right now with racing has changed around, Dyson’s car, the old Riley and Scotts, are a blast to drive. I love that concept, the old Ford V8 in the back. You had to grab those cars by the scruff of the nut to make them go fast. You had to slide them around. The counterpart to that is what the Audi (R8) became, you know a computer driven car with a driver in there. I call them the dummy, because you are much stupider than the car is. You cannot do what the car can do. I disagreed with that, I did not like driving it. But… I am glad I got to drive the Audi, because it the closes to a Formula One car that I will ever sit in. I was disappointed from the standpoint of, all the things that I learned to do with a car driving wise, were not any good in that car (R8). It has traction control, it has anti-lock brakes, the computer tells you when to do things and how to do it. That, from the purist standpoint, took away what I liked about the Dyson car (Riley and Scott). I mean the Dyson car did not have any of that stuff, you had to make that car go fast. No matter how good any car was, you could not compete against Audi.
IOM: I guess that is the difference between American Engineering, German Engineering, and the almighty dollar…..
DS: Yeah and how far you want to go with pushing the limit of expenditures. No one really knows what the Audis cost, but they had to be into the tens of millions of dollars, whereas a R&S was half a million dollars. It certainly is not apples and apples.
IOM: Now for the realist questions, what do you drive daily?
DS: Laughing) You won’t believe it. I drive the most raggedy old nasty ’84 Dodge pick up truck….
IOM: You’re kidding me….
DS: No, a 4WD pick up truck. It is out of necessity, because I go to the restaurant all the time. We do a lot of wood smoked BBQing, so I use to literally hall trees around…… cut down hickory trees then throw them in the back. It’s all beat to death, I go hunting with it and tear it all up. It is an embarrassment, a total embarrassment.
IOM: Anything else interesting in your garage?
DS: No, not really. I sold all my neat stuff. My garage is comprised now of a multitude of pieces of the cars that I driven over the years. I’ve got stuff from my old Datsun days, pistons lying around, Cosworth pieces, all this nostalgic junk lying around. I don’t have a really cool car, although I am thinkin’ about getting a Mini. I am all excited about the new Mini. I think it is hot!
IOM: What is your favorite Ford production car?
DS: I had a 5.0 L Mustang convertible back in ’89. Through Roush we tuned it up a little bit. It was an awful neat car, a pretty serious car. I’ve had a lot Ford’s over the years. I had a ’56 Thunderbird…. those are pretty neat. I like hot rods, street rod stuff. I could see myself going that way. I’m also looking for a ’69 Boss 302, which I think is the most stylish/coolest looking Mustang there ever was. If I could find one of those, I would put that on the street in a minute.
IOM: One of my favorites too….
DS: I’ve actually been looking for one of those for a couple of years know. A guy down the street from me owns a Boss 429. That is a bit outrageous for me and the wife to drive around in. The 302 would be the ticket, I would like to clean up one of those. I talked to Jack (Roush) last night and I asked him if he has one, he said no, I asked him if you see one through JR’s Garage, I am a serious buyer (chuckling).
IOM: Last question, and I think that you have already answered it, what is your favorite race car that you have driven?
DS: Ummmm…. I think that Cougar was the coolest car I ever drove. I was neat from the standpoint that you could run the 6.0L V8 injected in it, like we did in the 24 hours….. a lot of ponies. Or you could run that turbocharged thing….. that was a monster. They did not limit our boost, at that time. 1000 hp in a car like that…. Few people ever got the experience to see it run or even drive anything like that. At that time in GTO, you had the factory Mazdas, the factory Nissan twin turbos, the factory Roush cars. Those drivers at that time, I think were the best damn drivers in the world, PERIOD! The Audis were there with Stuck. That was serious factory hot rods back then and that was pretty cool.
IOM: Thank you sir for all of your time.
DS: Thank you.
It was truly an honor to sit down with Dorsey. By far he is one of the nicest, most personable guys in the business. If you ever run across, I am sure that he would not mind shootin’ a little #$%& with you.