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Not that it was hard for me to give up being a crew chief, because I had realized a long time ago that I had to let something in my life go: the farm, the family, or the racecar. The racecar was the only thing in my life that I could even afford to let out of my hands. So, I had got over that, I can't do it all, I knew that. But we just had to get over the fact we had both been our own bosses. And once we did that, we won Norwalk, we runnered-up in New Hampshire, and we won Rockingham at the next three races in a row and that's what put us ahead in the points.

We were so busy racing, and it was harvest time for me, that we hadn't really thought about the points. It didn't even make me nervous or bother me at all until we went to Shreveport for the last race and I thought, "Wow, this can make it happen, you've gotta' do it right here." And it kind of made me nervous with all the rain and losing the qualifying sessions and postponing the race, but at the same time you can't worry about things you can't control.

DRO: You talked about almost quitting and now you're the defending champion again, so what are your thoughts on quitting now?

MT: You know, I've been around a long, long time and I've had questions for about 10 years about when I'm going to quit, but that year was actually the only time I've even thought about wanting to quit. I keep hoping one of these days I'll wake up hating the sport of drag racing, that's the way I want to quit, and that's the way it's best to quit. I've known a lot of people who truly wanted to keep racing, but financially they just couldn't and that's really hard to quit that way.

The way I feel now, I don't know. I don't know when I'll quit. I would like to keep going and I have no more thoughts of quitting. Obviously, when you do well you want to keep going, but a lot of people tell you to quit when you're on top of your game, but I don't know.

I look at drag racing as being one of the biggest luxuries in the world. It doesn't control your life -- well it does, but it doesn't mean life or death -- especially when you think about what our country is going through. I get very intense at work about trying to get things done, but ever since September 11th rolled around, I take a deep breath when things go wrong and think about how I've got it made. I mean, I'm still breathing air, I'm going to see my family at night, and I get to race a Funny Car. Life is good.


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