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DL: A major portion of the time it's track conditions, weather conditions, we missed a little bit. We don't go up there at any time with the thought in mind, "God, I hope this thing goes down the race track." We're pretty confident it's going to go down the race track. When it does something, we normally go back and, say this clutch malfunctioned right there and that's what caused it to do this or we dropped a cylinder here at this race last fall; we'd a qualified number one and were the quickest car by far, a couple three runs we were low, the eliminations first round. Second round we go up there, he steps the gas and puts a cylinder out. Same thing happened in the final this year. So stuff like that, you're not quite sure why it did it, and you try to make adjustments so it won't do it again.

DRO: You're not going out there to set low ET every on every qualifying pass. You want to know what the car is going to do -

DL: That's right. We want to see what curve it's going to throw us, what these new tires are going to do, what the track is like. It's like -- we qualify on new tires, we're scuffing them in so we've got scuffs to run on Sunday. Last year, I put a new set on every run; didn't bother me. But you have to change with the times. I mean that's something I feel very forceful and feel very blessed, that over the years that a lot of the stuff that we have -- I've been in it so long that I was on the leading edge of all the stuff that came along.

I've never been afraid to change, because I feel that is going to make it bad, so a lot of the guys get stagnant and say, "Oh God, it worked so well last year and we have to stay with this." I mean our car hauled ass last year, but we started this year with a totally complete, I mean a complete different engine. I mean, we just said OK, we've run that. We know that one worked good and this engine seems to run so much nicer.

DRO: Not hurting parts?

DL: Didn't last year. Just a nice working combination.

DRO: Everybody's head seems to be in the right place for a shot at the championship.

DL: Well, you know, it's real early, but we already gave it a hard run at it last year and we're not going to let up this year. There's nothing I'd like better than to be able to bring the championship to Snake and for Larry; it would be very rewarding for me.

DRO: Are you ever going to retire?

DL: I've tried to since '91. I took off a couple of years, came back in '93 and when I left Kalitta's, I didn't think I'd ever work again but they find me. Nick Boninfante said, "Listen, we've got this opportunity to run Don Garlits' car, would you be interested in just making the calls and not having to live with the car?" And I said I may think about it, but probably not. About a month or so later he called me again and he said, "You know this could happened. You'd just fly in on Thursday and fly out on Monday."

I said, "Let's give it a try and see what happens." And we stumbled a little bit here and there. We didn't have the right chemistry and I had to let a couple of guys go. It was pretty hard. Nicky and I were good friends and we still are good friends, but we come back and put it together in '99. He was a player, won 4 races, and then he fired me -

DRO: But in terms of retirement do you see yourself doing this -

DL: Well, when I got fired, I kept thinking, this is pretty easy, I don't have to go to work for the Snake. I could just put my feet up, you know, and then I thought, well, here's one last time, maybe I'll just see what happens here. Snake and I kept talking about how long do we want to do this, how long do we want the contract, stuff like that. I don't know what I'm going to do.

I've got the rest of this year and another year on the contract with the Snake, which could end tomorrow. Who knows? We are all just taking it on a day to day basis, because the way people are dropping around us, it's amazing. Snake just turned 61. I was 60 in January. So weve got to start looking at when are we going to do this or when are we gonna do that? Or if we're gonna do this. Snake tells me, if things continue on the way they are, we can do this until we're 70 years old. Well, maybe he can, but I don't think I will.


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