Jeff Olson, Special for USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Either way it turned out, Don Schumacher was the winner.
Spencer Massey drove past Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round to claim the Top Fuel title while DSR driver Ron Capps won the Funny Car final Sunday at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Speedway.
Don Schumacher, who underwent surgery and radiation to treat tongue and neck cancer during the offseason, became emotional after the showdown between Tony Schumacher, Don's son, and Massey.
"At this point, it hasn't changed me a lot," said Don Schumacher, attending a race for the first time since undergoing surgery the day before Thanksgiving. "But maybe you need to talk to my family and friends and see if they think it's changed me. I love what I do, and will continue to do what I do."
Massey cut a 0.020-second light to edge Tony Schumacher, who had a slightly faster elapsed time in the final round. Capps turned a 0.0001-second win over Tim Wilkerson in the semifinals into a final-round win over John Hale.
Lincoln Electric is a proud partner of Don Schumacher Racing.
For Don Schumacher, the return to the racetrack was triumphant in more ways than the wins by Massey and Capps. He reconnected with what he called his "racing family," including John Force, Schumacher's primary rival.
"I have to say it's a different relationship since I came down with cancer," Schumacher said. "That's not just John feeling different about it, but it's me feeling different about it, also. John and I have a very strong relationship. We love each other. I know that;s hard for guys to understand, but I love more people today than I did prior to the diagnosis."
Capps' win ended a three-event winning streak by Schumacher teammate Matt Hagan, who lost in the first round to Alexis DeJoria.
Larry Dixon, who walked away from a spectacular crash during qualifying on Saturday, didn't have time to equip cars from other teams — including DSR — who offered to lend them. Instead, he forfeited his first-round matchup against Antron Brown.
"Getting a car was feasible," Dixon said. "But we wouldn't have been able to get all of our equipment on it until after 7:30 this morning when NHRA released it from impound."
Greg Anderson claimed the Pro Stock trophy by beating Jason Line in the final. Karen Stoffer was triumphant in Pro Stock Motorcycle, beating Eddie Krawiec in the final.
This could be the last appearance for one of the best Top Fuel teams in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Owner Alan Johnson has said he will park Shawn Langdon, who came into Gatornationals atop the Top Fuel standings, if a sponsor isn't found after Gatornationals.
"We're doing the best job we can," said Langdon, who was eliminated in the semifinals Sunday by Tony Schumacher. "All we can do show is what our team is capable of."
The series resumes March 27-29 with the FourWide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.