DRO: Was it tough making a transition from driver to the TV booth? Do you still stomp your foot down when the green light comes on the Christmas Tree?

MD: No, I've kind of gotten past that. It was definitely a transition.

This (television commentator) is a great job, you couldn't have a better job, but it's still a job and I never looked at driving a racecar as a job. Trust me, driving the racecar, even when I wasn't working on it, towards the end, when sponsor and promotional ties tied up your time. I never considered it (driving and working on racecars) a job. This is a job.

DRO: When you're doing your work for ESPN does NHRA suggest topics for you?

MD: NHRA is really pretty much hands off. I mean the two years that I've been here, I can think of two times that they came in here and said we need to watch this deal and usually it's from a safety standpoint, so they really never came in and said 'You have to do a show this way, you have to promote this guy.' They've really given me free rein. I can pretty much say what I want.

DRO: It seems like you guys have gone into some of the sport's personalities, dealing with airing their dirty laundry in some ways. Was there ever any interest in dealing with Tom Compton's DUI arrest?

MD: You know, it came up, but it was never really an issue. To us, it was never really part of the show, not what we're trying to do.

DRO: But you weren't told to stay away from it?

MD: No, we weren't told. I think it was discussed. You're probably asking the wrong person. I'll be honest with you, I never thought of it as being a story for our show. I mean, it's a story, but I don't think that it fits into our show. I mean we don't really deal with dirty laundry. We look at the rumors and hearsay, and I always try to get back-up, because I've been in this sport all my life and the rumors go crazy, and the Tom Compton thing was no difference.

My opinion on the Tom Compton issue is I haven't seen the police report and I'm the kind of guy that wants to see everything in front of me, so if I'm going to comment on it. . . 'cause I don't know all the facts. Obviously there are times you say, well, maybe you didn't have all your facts; you find out later. But for the most part I've been able to, and everyone on the show has been able to back up the rumors with fact. We don't put it on there until we've found out whether it's true or not and that's the same thing as the Tom Compton thing; to me it didn't really fit in with the show.

DRO: Is there anything on the ESPN show that you would like to do differently than is currently being done?

MD: Well I'm still learning how TV works and it's been an education to me. To answer that question, when you're a driver and you're on the outside looking in, you ask how come they did that? How come I didn't get in this shot, I did better than that guy and that guy got more TV time. Well, now that I've done it and see how a program is structured and how you do things and how you're limited to a certain amount of time and limited by what amount of programming you have for the week, then you start to understand that, how you can and can't do certain things.

I'm still trying to just perfect what I do and do it better. We do have a team. Sean Murphy is the producer who is very, very good, and he is willing to try different things all the time and he's not afraid to. We do something new and we look at it and sometimes its terrible and other things come out and you say, hey, that's really good. As far as things that I would like to see, I don't know, the sport is so hard to cover for TV, to capture what is live and I think we do as good a job as you can.

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