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Randy Hagerty

Editor's Note: Randy Hagerty has had many highlights in his drag racing career. He was the American Hot Rod Association Pro Stock World Champion in 1985 and 1986. He set the record for 500-inch engine Pro Stocks, a record which he held for 5 years, until Sept. 1991. He was among the racers in the running to break the 200-mph barrier for doorslammers. Two years in a row he was invited by the NHRA to make exhibition tours to Japan. He set the track record at Fuji Speedway in 1991. In 1991 he switched from Pro Stock to the Pro Modified class, and finished in Top Ten in Super Chevy Series Pro Modified championship points. He won the California Pro Mod Championship in 1992. He concentrated mostly on his business pursuits, but returned to Comp Eliminator and Pro Modified racing.]

The Pro Modified class has some new swagger. Or does it? Maybe it just has newfound attention from more fans and the NHRA.

With speculation about the 2003 season swirling among this group of professional drivers who uncomfortably wear the "exhibition" label at NHRA's party, DRO buttonholed driver Randy Hagerty at the Las Vegas race and found out the secret of artful negotiations . . . as well the Pro Modified class' connection with Pro Stock cars, Pro Stock Trucks, gunslingers and even plagues and hurricanes.

DRO: What do you know about the NHRA's deal for Pro Modifieds in 2003 and beyond?

HAGERTY: We've heard four or five years. It's still going to be an eight-car field. Money hasn't been discussed yet. That's all for speculation. Negotiations were fluttering back and forth.

DRO: What about the concert series that features the rock band Slur?

HAGERTY: It will bring new blood and sponsorship to our classes. It can't hurt.

DRO: How do you feel about the fact Pro Modified once again -- and maybe for the next five years -- will continue to be an exhibition class on the NHRA side? And that Pro Modifieds will not be under the POWERade umbrella?

HAGERTY: It is a little bit disheartening. It doesn't give us as much satisfaction or doesn't fulfill our needs business-wise. We feel we're being slighted a little bit because our cars operate on a professional level. The caliber of the drivers and the caliber teams justify that.

DRO: If you're making enough money from your sponsorships and supplementing that adequately with purses, do you care whether your class is considered a "pro" class?

HAGERTY: My sponsors do. It's necessary for them to have that prestige of being a pro class so they feel there's a justifiable return on their investment. It gives validity to what we do. We operate as pro teams. Some of us have been around long enough that we remember when it was called Top Sportsman or Outlaw Pro Stock. The names have changed, but the game's still the same.

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