In Memory Of

Terry Chandler

September 27, 1951 - July 4, 2017
“Helping people is one of the most important things in the world to me – my daddy, John R. Gray, was an extremely giving man, and I learned from him how important it was to bless the lives of others. That is why this means so much to me. I feel very fortunate to be in this position.”

Chandler/DSR Funny Car to Promote Make-A-Wish Charity

An unprecedented alliance was finalized Jan. 14, as NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car team sponsor Terry Chandler, along with team owner Don Schumacher of Don Schumacher Racing, announced that they will soon debut a brilliant Make-A-Wish paint scheme on their Dodge Charger R/T in 2014 with the intention of raising awareness for the non-profit organization.

As announced last October, veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr., a nine-time national event winner in the series, will pilot the Chandler/DSR Funny Car in 2014.

“For me, this year is about giving back, and I thought a long time about how we could do that,” said Chandler, a co-sponsor on the DSR Funny Car last year with her brother and then-driver of the Pitch Energy Dodge, Johnny Gray, who has since retired from full-time racing. Chandler, a passionate fan of drag racing, opted to fund the team on her own in 2014.

MAW2“Being out here with my brother and nephew racing as a family has given me so much joy, especially last year when my brother and I were able to dedicate the season to the memory of our daddy, John R. Gray. That was very special, and now I’m so proud to be able to do something special for a group like Make-A-Wish. We hope that with Tommy driving this car and every person on our team believing in this cause and caring so much, we can raise awareness for Make-A-Wish and make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Last year, being out here with my brother and this wonderful team and seeing them win four times – each one of those wins was a wish that came true for me. Hopefully, our Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger will inspire people and bring a little joy into the lives of children who need that so much.”

The debut of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger at the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 6-9, will mark the first time that Make-A-Wish has been involved in NHRA drag racing.

”Having prominent placement on a DSR Funny Car is a marketing opportunity that has great appeal,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “We are grateful for the commitment of Terry Chandler and Don Schumacher to help us grant life-changing wishes to every eligible child.”

MAW1For DSR team owner Schumacher, introducing an esteemed foundation such as Make-A-Wish to NHRA is an honor.

“It’s very exciting to have Make-A-Wish on the DSR Dodge Funny Car that Tommy Johnson Jr. will be driving for us this year. Terry Chandler selected a great organization to feature on our Funny Car,” said Schumacher.

“Make-A-Wish has granted wishes for thousands of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions throughout the country, and DSR plans to help Terry provide awareness of those efforts so even more kids and their families can be helped through challenging times.

“Terry and her brother, Johnny Gray, have done so much over the past few years to help children across the country and around their homes in New Mexico. Everyone at DSR is proud to be able to help them in any way we can.”

by Drag Illustrated | January 14, 2014

“The roof hatch comes up every time I get out and every time I turn around and look at it, I see the coordinates, so I know she’s always there. She’s a lasting impact on our team and she’ll be with us forever.” - Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Photo: Article:

Doug Chandler to continue late wife’s sponsorship of two Funny Cars

When philanthropist and effervescent drag racing supporter Terry Chandler, 65, died from advanced brain cancer on July 4th, the future of her “giving cars” in NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ Funny Car category was in doubt.

Chandler, sister of former Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Johnny Gray, aunt to Shane Gray and great-aunt to rookie Tanner Gray, both of whom race Pro Stock, was bankrolling two Dodge Charger R/T DSR Funny Car entries, the Make-A-Wish flopper of Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Infinite Hero Charger for Jack Beckman.

Now we know her largesse and her commitment to help these two great causes will continue through the 2020 NHRA season. Chandler’s husband of 49 years, Doug, has decided to honor his late wife’s legacy through these two cars.

“Terry loved her teams and I saw how much she looked forward to going to the races and helping the children of Make-A-Wish and our soldier heroes who gave more than anyone could have asked and were helped by Infinite Hero when they came home,” Doug Chandler explained. “Terry lives on in so many peoples’ hearts and mine. I don’t want to see her dream end.”

Terry Chandler’s commitment to giving back through DSR sponsorship began in 2013 when she used Johnson’s team to promote Riley Hospital for Children’s Riley Kids program. This occurred during the biggest drag race of the NHRA season: the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, a Labor Day weekend tradition outside Indianapolis. Chandler’s tradition of supporting this local charity continues this year with Johnson’s car.

Chandler began funding the two DSR teams once her brother retired from driving after the 2013 season; the relationship began in earnest in 2014 through her donation of branding space to both foundations, Make-A-Wish and Infinite Hero with the two racecars. Terry Chandler personally brought ailing children and recovering veterans to the racetrack so they could experience the joy of seeing “their cars” winning rounds, races and setting records. And get away from their troubles.

Both drivers are in the thick of this year’s title fight, with Beckman’s Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T in fourth place (2 wins) and Johnson’s Make-A-Wish Charger lying fifth (1 win), as only two races remain in the “regular” season. Both drivers have qualified for the Countdown to the Championship six-race playoffs beginning after the U.S. Nationals, that will crown the champion in Funny Car at the season finale in Pomona, Calif. November 9-12.

Terry Chandler’s generosity was so great that she was presented NHRA’s Blaine Johnson award in 2015, given for her overwhelming dedication to helping others. Racers and fans alike could look forward to seeing her on the start line when her “giving cars” were racing; she also lined up for Pro Stock competition when Shane and Tanner Gray were competing.

“Terry is such an incredible lady,” said Don Schumacher, DSR owner and a close friend of Doug and Terry Chandler. “We’ll never know how many lives she impacted and how many will continue to be helped with Doug continuing what she started. We miss her every day, but we’ll never forget her smile and her big heart.

“Doug could have walked away from NHRA drag racing and it wouldn’t have done anything to lessen Terry’s legacy,” he continued. “His decision to continue what she started for the next several years shows his love and admiration for what she accomplished. Everyone at DSR couldn’t be prouder of how Terry and Doug will continue to be part of our sport and help countless people over, at least, the next three years.”

By: Anne Proffit | Aug 8, 2017, 9:30 PM