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DRO: Would your life change much if you ended up being the NHRA Powerade Champion?

DH: I don't think so. I feel obviously that's my goal and that's everybody's goal out here. We're just working hard at it and I'd sure be satisfied about my racing career if we could win an NHRA Championship. I think if we could win an NHRA Championship it would substantiate a lot of the IHRA championship's that I've won.

I think that's what we need to do, I'm not going to be happy until I win the Championship and I think we're building on things to be able to do that. Jeez everybody asks "Why'd you get rid of Dick LaHaie?" You know, it didn't exactly work like that. Dick and I are now friends, but didn't know there was a problem there. The first year he worked for me we didn't qualify three or four times; we didn't run very good. Next year we started running okay, I think. The problem is out here there's a lot of people who would stab you in the back; (someone will) pay a buck more or five bucks more to come over here. You have to have a dedicated group and it didn't work out; like I said we're friends now. I think it's probably like my Dad -- as soon as I didn't work with him all the time we got a long better. Same with Dick, I'd talk to Dick and he'd give me advice or I could ask him a question. He's obviously very smart.

DRO: You seem to be a very focused and driven individual. Is this the fun in your life or is there another part of your life where you really let your hair down?

DH: You know the problem is when I first started racing when you just go and race your car, then racing your car is fun, you know, going down the track, that's fun, pulling the parachute - Woo Hoo! That was fun, now its not fun anymore. The only time that's fun is when you turn the win light on; you beat Bernstein, you beat Dixon, you beat Kalitta, those guys who are tough. The only time it's fun is when you beat these guys and the only problem is you don't do that every week and so for as many times when it's really fun. There's a bunch of times when it feels like someone just socked you in the gut, and you just feel like this really sucks but, overall it balances out.

The fans, that1s probably the main reason why most everybody out here does this, 'cause it's so much fun talking to fans. They come up, "Oh man, that was so awesome you know," and they're happy to be here. They have fun coming out talking and getting an autograph and that's what is fun, the fans and winning - that's the only thing that's fun; the rest of it is a lot of work.

DRO: Is there another part of your life that you would call particularly fun? Your home life?

DH: Oh sure, my kids, they're great. We go boating and jet skiing and airplane flying. My kid's got a Junior Dragster and we go out and run that, so it's a lot of fun and it's a lot of work. Between what I do in my shop, the racing team and everything there's just only so much time. The one thing that cuts out is time when I want to do something that I want to do. There's not a whole lot of time to do that, there's not a whole lot of time to go to sleep. There's just not a lot of time to do the things that I want to do. I try to look out for my team, for my employees at my shop, I look out for my wife and my kids. That's a lot, that's taking care of a lot.

You gotta be focused 'cause the only way to be good is to be focused. A lot of people come over and say, "Oh that Bernstein, he's not very friendly." Well, I think that Bernstein is a pretty focused guy and they probably take him not being very friendly when he's trying to concentrate on something else. I think that's part of it. I try to be as friendly as I can until the helmet goes and when the helmet goes on, I'm mean, you know. I am mean when the helmet goes on.

DRO: It seems like a ritual when you're strapped in, just before the engine is fired.

DH: I'm just kind of moving around. If the belts don't feel right, you kind of move around and try to get the belts to feel comfortable and I'm just getting pumped up, when I go up there to the starting line. That guy there in the other lane, he's trying to steal food from me, he's trying to kill me -- well, that's exactly the way I feel about it. There are a lot of people out here that are my friends, but when you go out there racing, there's nobody that you want to beat more than one of your friends.


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