By 1998, shortly after Bader took over IHRA, Peaco left for Summit, where he expanded its motorsports involvement to include at one point the national series' sponsorship at IHRA and three national events with NHRA, as well as e.t. programs on both sides of the fence and primary sponsorship of 13 cars on six teams.

DRO sat down with Peaco shortly after he returned to the IHRA fold and he described what it means for IHRA's future.

DRO: What made you want to take this new job?

Peaco: Here was a company that was basically out of business six years ago, but I saw Bill struggle and work at it and then I watched the deal with Clear Channel go through. I saw the progress they were making and though they weren't where they needed to be or where they wanted to be, I thought I could have a positive impact. I thought I could if I had the flexibility of Bill not micro-managing me or not having to look over my shoulder all the time -- which he never did at Norwalk -- but I knew he was very hands-on with everything.

I believe in my heart that the only thing holding IHRA back is that Bill is too tied to the inner workings. Bill puts deals together and does cross promotions and gets tracks on board. He's a big picture guy. He's the TV deal guy and the guy coming up with the next trick deal. He's a promoter and that's what he does best. I thought, 'Well, you're not doing any of that.'

He recognized that and at Milan we had a real big conversation where I thought, 'Well, this is coming to a point in time where I'm going to have to stop telling him what's wrong or do something about it.' So everything came together at the right time for me personally.

DRO: When did you actually make the agreement to join IHRA?

Peaco: We were talking about it from Labor Day on and I was actually at the last three IHRA races in uniform volunteering my time just to make sure the contingency department took care of itself, and I worked with the manufacturers until they got their new director hired. I was not looking at that position as a position for me, though.

DRO: Had you already resigned from Summit at that point?

Peaco: We parted ways around Labor Day and I knew for a variety of reasons that that wasn't where I needed to be.

DRO: Do you see part of your job to be a "lightning rod" to take some of the day-to-day scrutiny and criticism off Bill Bader?

Peaco: We're all going to be a part of that. I'm certainly going to get my share of strikes as he gets his, but the reality is now you take Bill away from the everyday rigors of running the competition side or running the racing side of IHRA. Now he gets to do the more important things such as selling more tickets and improving our facilities.

Aaron Polburn, who is the VP of IHRA, he's the marketing director and he's going to oversee marketing, which basically is the web site, Drag Review magazine, advertising, and all those departments that are functions of marketing. David Thompson is the director of sales and he gets all the sales folks to report to him. Debra Tobak, who is our financial director, has folks that report to her and she handles that part of the national events as well. So now Bill has four people he can go to instead of 15, and he's got four people that can manage and lead their departments instead of having to do everything himself. Basically, we took a company that had a horizontal flow chart and made it a little more vertical.

As long as we're on top of our game nothing is going to change as far as how IHRA runs; in fact, it should get better. The service should get better and the attention to detail should get better because everybody is responsible for their own area. Then we're being held accountable by the Clear Channel group.

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