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If you had to hire one guy to work for your team, who would it be?

Hmmmmm . I don't know. Really, I don't think we're in need there. Certainly not for my Top Fuel team. Maybe, just maybe the Funny Car team, but I'm pretty happy with the group we've got now. We run good and so much of it is based on our team.

Keith (Adams) heads up the maintenance on the car and he does a great job. I have no worries at all about that aspect of the team. He always makes sure the car is serviced just right, and this allows me to concentrate on the little details, which count for a lot in the way the power package works.

How about sponsors and the fact that Winston may or may not get out of drag racing in a few years?

When we first started out racing, we had a policy to make sure that no bill was older than 30 days, you know, one that we owed. We didn't want any history of burning anybody. I've seen that stuff happen with a few other teams and that hurts them, maybe more than they know. That's hard morality to live up to when you're not rolling in money yourself.

So, when a Winston comes a long, it made our racing life a lot easier in many respects. However, because of this monster created, you also need a lot more money to keep it rolling and with that comes increased responsibility. By 2002, Winston will be picking between NASCAR and NHRA because the new legislation dictates that they can have only one base of marketing operations, not two. Either way, I'm constantly working on sponsors, with the only thing different is that where I think of sponsors every day, I think of the race car 24 hours a day.

Finally, it's been four years since your brother Blaine passed away. Your call in getting Gary Scelzi in the driver's seat was damn good. If Blaine had lived, do you think he'd have done as well as Gary?

I really think their success would be about the same. Both of these guys are so super competitive. They didn't just want to okay; they wanted to get out there and kick ass. As far as skills, they both have the knack. You either have the knack for racing, that mindset, or you don't. Both Blaine and Gary have it, and I think mechanically, so do I.

Scelzi photo by Joel Gelfand


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