DRO: Like triple-A
PR: Exactly, and
I don't think that's a slam to anybody because
if you get two equally pitted teams and drivers,
whether they are at this (NHRA) level or this
(IHRA) level, they are probably going to put
on a pretty good race and I think it's a good
place to be to get some laps. There is certainly
more spotlight over here, there's more at stake
most of the time because it costs so much to
run over here, so I think it's (IHRA) a good
place to learn how to do it; I think that more
people ought to take that mindset.
There are some guys over here that probably
should go to IHRA. Now that's not against anybody
in particular, but I've had that conversation
with some guys that keep wanting to come over
here, but you know IHRA is a good place to cut
your teeth. If you can race on some of their
tracks -- there's nothing wrong with their tracks,
but racin' at night, racin' under some real
extreme conditions, more than we ever do over
here -- if you can do that and feel comfortable
there, then it's time to move up. So I think
there's certainly a place for both.
I've told Bill Bader and I've told the NHRA
guys that Top Fuel is bigger than NHRA or IHRA,
Top Fuel is bigger than both of them... it's
bigger than life, but to have both of those
sanctioning bodies is necessary for us to race
or we'll go back to the old "Broadway Bob" deals
and those Saturday night things that were crazy.
DRO: With 32 dragsters.
PR: Yeah, and
maybe not get paid. This is much more fun!
DRO: What's your
opinion of IHRA President Bill Bader?
PR: I really don't
have problem with him. He's brought IHRA to
another level, there's no question about it,
with the Hooters involvement. Shoot, I'm old
enough that I can critique people and I've done
that a little bit, but it's always been constructive
criticism. I certainly don't have any problem
with him. Look, IHRA put me where I am today
only because they offered a venue for me to
race at. I've been very luck with my years with
Clayton (Harris) and without Clayton I wouldn't
be here doing what I'm doing today. So, it really
didn't have anything to do with Bill Bader.
I think they have a good organization. I just
wish that they would pay more attention -- and
I'm only talking about Top Fuel here -- I really
wish that they would pay more attention to the
racer's comments because we only want the best
for them, because when they succeed we succeed
and vice versa.
So I really don't have anything personally
against Bill Bader, I've known Bill for lot
of years and his wife Debby and my wife are
very good friends and he's done a very good
job over there, but certainly I'm an old drag
racer so I gotta beef, I'll never be satisfied,
ever be satisfied, but he's OK.
DRO: Is there
much of a difference between the per round cost
of running NHRA versus IHRA.
PR: If you are
talking about actually what it costs to run
the car, the car only, none of the peripheral
expenses...no. You know the 25-percent over
crap didn't mean nothin', you could blow stuff
up if you had 18-percent over, that didn't mean
anything, that was a handicap. If anything the
25-percent overdrive was probably easier to
blow stuff up because you had to compensate
for that blower by putting more compression
in it and more lead in the mag and when you
do that - it don't like that, it's not happy.
DRO: Is the $200,00
points fund payoff in IHRA better or worse than
the $400,000 for the POWERade championship.
Is it easier to make money running a car in
a series that pays $200,000 and have a shot
at the championship?
PR: The $200,000
deal, no question, it is easier... and I gotta
qualify that by saying, not that it's easier
(but) it's not as hard, I wouldn't say that
it's easier, because nothing is easy. I won
the IHRA championship, I'm sure you can ask
(Clay) Millican and Peter Lehman and they will
tell you the same thing -- it ain't easy. Even
if nobody lines up besides you for every round
it's not easy because you've got to continue
to go down the track.
If you are talking about "dollar for dollar,"
which one do you get the most bang for your
buck...I would say if you can win the IHRA deal
for $200,000 you've got a better chance at doing
that than getting that $400,000 away from Larry