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DRO: You're most associated with Pro Modified, but now race Nitro Coupes. Any thoughts of going back to it?

Pro Modified? I look at the class as part of my career, but in my past. I view [my career now in Nitro Coupe] as stepping up from Pro Modified. I probably have more 6.20s in my Corvette than all the Pro Modifieds running today have combined. The only other thing I can say is that I never liked the name Pro Modified. It just sounds, oh I don't know, too laid back. It doesn't really capture the cars. I like what they do with the boats, "Thunder Boats." Now that's a name!

DRO: The biggest point of controversy in your old class this season has been the 100-pound penalty for the IHRA Pro Mod blown cars. Your opinion.

The blower guys versus the nitrous guys at IHRA? Well, after what I've told you, you can guess I'm hardly surprised. People have come up to me and said, "There's trouble in paradise.' I guess meaning IHRA. I sit back and watch and watch and the truth eventually came out for me. [President Bill] Bader has demoralized these guys so bad. It's nothing personal, but I guess they expected more from him.

I will say that the nitrous guys are utterly clueless about the blown cars. They have no experience with blowers and don't know what they're talking about. It's like a guy who has dual quads and sees a guy with a fuel injector. Then the guy with an injector sees the nitrous set-up, and figures that's the way, and then the nitrous guy sees the blower cars, and says that's the way to go. It's ridiculous.

DRO: How about NHRA including Pro Modified in its Competition Eliminator program? What do you think of it?

I'm a little surprised about it. I gotta say that I'm speaking strictly as Bill Kuhlmann now, but the NHRA Pro Stocks and trucks are boring. I like Top Fuel and Funny Car, the ultimate speedsters. You go the next step down and put that style of power, blowers and injectors, and put 'em in a door car, and then you go put 'em in Comp. I don't know about that. If it was me, I wouldn't want to be a minnow in their ocean. These cars are pro cars.

The future of nitro coupes looks good. The fans love them, the track owners love them, and the parity is good. They are relatively safe, no fatalities, and they run in the low sixes at well over 220-mph. Fun deal.

DRO: Are you happy with the way the rules are now constituted with Super Chevy? If you were free to adjust the rules, what would you do in Nitro Coupe? Also what about fives in one of these cars? What's the prospect of that happening?

I'd like to see them loosen the rules up just a bit. Sure, we'll run fives, if not this year, certainly next. However, if you want fives in a Nitro Coupe, the rules need to be loosened up. If I wrote the rules? I'd put a limit of 60-percent nitro on the cars instead of 30-percent like now. Overdrive is no big deal, just run the cars fat and safe. Watching Tom McEwen was a real education with that '57 Chevy nitro burner of his. He said he ran it at 80- to 90-percent and made a ton of dates with very minimal damage. Nitro is very forgiving, just run it rich and fat. The header flames from nitro cars are great for the crowd, but that comes from so much fuel that the pistons can't burn it all and it comes out the pipes. Flames usually come out at about 65 to 75-percent, not at 50 or 60-percent. The problem that Nitro Coupes have is the MSD 44 magneto; it flat burns the fuel. It's extremely efficient. (We run single mag, single fuel pump).

DRO: What's the future hold for Bill Kuhlmann? How do you see yourself at this stage of your career?

I just want to keep progressing. I want to go out of racing knowing I always had one of the quickest door cars in the world. I want my name linked with that kind of performance, that kind of stature. I've worked hard at this for 15 years. I want people to know me without any of the fanfare. I guess you could say I want to be taken seriously.

I'll tell you what. One time, I went to that Houston Super Bowl of Drag Racing for Pro Stocks in late January or whatever, and I had this new kid with me helping me out. You'd see all these big 18-wheeler tractor/trailers and then my little truck and trailer comes in. I know, and it goes unsaid, that my car is the fastest car on the grounds and it will be the fastest when we Ieave. I love it. And I told that kid, "That's who you're riding with."

Gary Rohe is the 2 time defending NMCA EZ Street Champion with a record time of 8.471 at 160 mph. His Mustang is equipped with Mike's Fordglide transmission available now for:


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