AS: It's a little different from a long time ago. There were very few races, compared to how many there are now. If you were leading the points, you wanted it to be a short season. If you're struggling, you want it to be a really long one. Being on the road as much as we are, I don't know how the Top Fuel guys and Funny Car and Pro Stock guys do it, 24 races a year. I really like being at only14 races. So it's a bit of a struggle, trying to get points and not many races, but by the end of the year I'm pretty worn out mentally and physically and I'm ready to end it. Toward the last couple of races, no matter where I am in points, I'm ready for it to be over. But being a one-time world champion just doesn't have the ring to it as saying "two-time world champion" or "three-time world champion," so I'm not going to lighten up on it at all.
DRO: CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE, BEING 10-TIME CHAMPION, LIKE FUNNY CAR'S JOHN FORCE?
AS: Oh, gosh. That'll never happen with me. I've already faced that fact. I'm not going to be here long enough to do that.
DRO: WHY NOT?
AS: I want to have kids one day. Traveling is great, but being away from my family. (From Columbus), I called my mom and . . . I heard all these people in the background and I asked, "What's going on?" She said, "We're at Ricky's house" -- that's my brother -- I said, "Who's there?" And she started listing everybody in my family. That was Father's Day weekend, and they're all there having a barbecue. I could hear the water splashing, they're laughing, and I'm like, "I want to go home." So that's what makes it hard. It seems like anytime there's a gathering or wedding -- I missed my10-year class reunion -- anytime anything's going on, I'm at a race. I'm not complaining about my job. This is where I want to be. If they told me, "Look, we're going to have a family barbecue next weekend and you can choose do you want to go racing or do you want to go to the barbecue?" I'd be racing. But it still doesn't change how I wish I could be there, too.
DRO: YOU THINK YOUR MALE COMPETITORS DON'T HAVE THAT SAME SENSE, THAT IT'S A GIRL/GUY THING?
AS: It's hard on me, and my husband doesn't understand. He could be away from for five months straight and he doesn't miss his bed, he doesn't miss his house. I do. I want to go home. And when I get home I don't want to go anywhere. I want to sleep in my bed, I want to sit in my yard, sit on the back porch. He's so bored with that. Even if he's on the road for two weeks straight with me, the day we get home he wants to go. "Let's go fishin'. Let's go to Florida." I'm like, "Hell, no - I'm stayin' home." That's a debate we usually have.
DRO: DID YOU EVER ENVISION A DAY WHEN YOU'D BE MARRIED AND YOU'D BE HAVING THAT SORT OF CONVERSATION?