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DRO: What's the status of the body for the 2002 season?

WB: There's an issue about modifying existing molds. For us to run this body the way it is now we're going to have to build a new mold. That's a cost of about 50 grand. Now we have the body already and the changes we made cost about five grand. So NHRA wants us to build another mold just to have the same body. That doesn't make financial sense, in my opinion. That's what's wrong with the entire sport of auto racing, they have rules that are, in my opinion, kinda dumb. It's stupid to spend that kind of money when you can do it a cheaper way. But the issue is a financial one. It's not whether the body is legal or not. We are racing it, so obviously it's legal. Whatever happens next year, is next year. We're not really concerned about it right now.

DRO: Much is said about your relationship with John Force. Tell DRO about that relationship.

WB: You know a lot has been made of things that are perceived to have been said by me. It's interesting because I've said a few things negative about him off the record. But very few. Like once or twice in my career. There is nothing that you can show me that has ever been printed or said on TV that's really been that negative about him or his team. Why? Because I haven't said it, because I don't believe it. The worst thing I ever said on the record was way back in '97 when I implied that the way I don't let him intimidate me is when I go up to race him I just have in my mind that all he is is an overweight old truck driver. That was fun, that wasn't bad. Stuff like that rubs some people the wrong way but that's more their problem than mine. The fact is I think John Force is a tremendous champion, he's a hell of a competitor and he's successful because he does it the right way. He spends his money on his team, on his business, he hires the best people he can hire. He's not out here to get rich, he's out here to race and win championships. And that is why he is where he is. I got to say that every time we race him, I've got to dig deep, the team has to dig deep, because to beat that team you've got to beat the best. And that's the hardest thing to do in this sport.

DRO: Time is running out on this year, CAN you win the Winston championship?

WB: Four or five or six races ago, I was asked the same question. At that time, my answer was that in order for us to have a chance, Force would have to lose in the first round three or four times and we'd have to win three or four races. Then maybe it would be a possibility. Well, we've won some of those races and he's gone out early. I've knocked the point lead he had when I was asked that question down to about 240 points. It's not impossible. It's still our goal, certainly. Still, 244 points is a lot. I mean a lot, especially with four races left. Is it realistic to expect us to do it? No! We can't count on them going out early. It's very uncharacteristic of Force's team to lose in the first few rounds. When they do go out early it's usually a surprise to everyone. We're going to do everything we can to put ourselves in a position to win several more times this year, but honestly it is so hard to win these races. We are not going to give up until we know the point chase is over. But even then, if there are races left, this Matco team will still be going after the win. We can't control the point standings or the outcome of races. All we can do is our best, try to win races, and try to win the championship. We'll continue giving it everything we have and see where we are at the end of the year.

DRO: If you don't win the championship this season, then when?

WB: Well, in my personal timetable, I was going to win my first championship back in 1990 and would of won it several times by now. Seriously, if we don't win it this year, obviously next season will be the next opportunity and that's when we'll try to win it.

DRO: We've talked about your relationship with Force, tell DRO how you get along with other drivers.

WB: Well, I get along really well with all the drivers that I have respect for. And even the couple that I don't respect their ability, I am still friendly with. So that's most of them. I think I get along with most of them as well as any of them get along with each other. So it's not like Bazemore is extra friendly or not friendly. It's a tough business out here. But there are guys like Tim Wilkerson, Ron Capps, and Dale Creasy who are friends and you talk to on a regular basis. Then there are guys like Scotty Cannon who always makes sure he comes over after each time he runs you to talk about the run. Also, there are guys like Frank Pedregon who you laugh and joke with at every race. Then there are a few that you only talk to once or twice a year. It's weird, but that's just the way it is. Force and I get along pretty well, believe it or not.


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