DRO: Other than the driving aspect, are you happy with making the switch?

Summer: Totally. Totally happy. I only wish that I had done it sooner, a lot sooner. When I built the last Camaro, the one everyone saw earlier this year, all that kept me from building a Pro Mod was I didn't have another $5,000 at the time. That was all it was. I just had no way of coming up with it for the body, so I went with the Pro Street deal again.

When you race like me, people don't realize we just don't get a car that you put a motor in and go. We've never had a new car like that until this '57, which basically was a bolt-in deal. But even with it we had to reconfigure the chassis because it was not a proven car. We've had to do everything ourselves; we've done it the hard way.

DRO: If it wasn't a proven performer, why did you buy this particular car? Did you just get a good deal on it?

Summer: Yeah, cheap. It was actually one of the most expensive Pro Mods ever built, but Mike Castellana and his guys couldn't get it to work. Well, they did sometimes, but it was always hit or miss, so he just wanted to sell it fast.

The car just had a few little things wrong with it and I feel like we've found those things and fixed them. I was told by Ron Santos once that if a car has integrity, you can make it go down the track. This car has integrity.

DRO: Who built it?

Summer: The chassis was originally built by Tim McAmis, but Tommy Mauney and Shannon Jenkins have both worked on it. And I did some things that I didn't tell them about because they didn't agree with it, but I had a theory and it worked.

DRO: Care to share any of those theories?

Summer: Nope. I haven't even told Shannon some of them.

DRO: So, will we see you racing the '57 in 2003?

Summer: Well, I've got a lot going right now. I've got a '68 Camaro, a Mauney car, and a Vanishing Point car that's a brand-new '63 Corvette, all back at the shop right now waiting for us. The Mauney Camaro, he did the frame and mounted the body and did the pedals, and now I'm taking it to K&B Racecars in Kentucky and he's going to finish it for me.

DRO: It sounds like things are up in the air over what you'll be doing next year. Are you even sure you'll be running IHRA Pro Mod next year?

Summer: Yeah, I love IHRA.

DRO: But can you afford to run a full Pro Mod season?

Summer: Well, I hired Wendy Tysinger from Tysinger Promotions in August to help with a sponsor search. We'll see what happens.

DRO: Do you feel like you have something to prove by going to Pro Mod?

Summer: Well, right now the question has always been about that car I bought. The question was, had I lost my mind, because that car had not been down the track but a handful of times. And that's the thing; I want to prove that I know what I'm doing.

And I love driving that car. Everything fits me perfect. It's like it was made for me. The car doesn't know I'm a female, just like it doesn't know it's a Chevrolet.

DRO: Finally, I know you saw Pat Musi's comments earlier on Drag Racing Online about you not being a real racer. What was your reaction to that?

Summer: I felt I was not deserving. But nothing surprises me from that bunch over there, and they know who they are.

DRO: But did it hurt your feelings?

Summer: I wouldn't say that. There's two people there who can't stand me and they don't think women have any place in racing. But you know, I don't see it that way, and neither does Laurie Cannister, or Rhonda Hartman, or Bunny Burkett, or Shirley Muldowney. We're not out here just to mess with men's heads. We're out here because this is what we love to do and there's no rule stating that women can't race. All I can say is they better get over it because I'm going to be around for a long while.

It's an open field over here, so if they want to come on over and race me, come on over. All these people have said they're going to leave Pro Street and go to Pro Mod, but where are they? I'm the only one here.

DRO: In comparison, how have the IHRA racers reacted to your presence?

Summer: They've been real good to me. I've known lots of them for years and been friends with them, too. There's been no bad; it's all good. So far, there's no Pats or Tonys here.

I just want to race. I want to come here and be everybody's friend and leave as their friend. I don't want to play any games, no psych jobs, no badmouthing. I just want to race, do the best I can, and go home with the same amount of friends as I came with. I don't want any trouble; I just want to have fun, because if it's not fun, I'm not interested.


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