DRO: Do you anticipate
homogenizing more Pro rules with NHRA?
Peaco: We started to homogenize some rules this year (2003). Top Fuel has been addressed. The Alcohol Funny Car guys from some respects are pretty unique the way they are set up to IHRA, so I don't know that I would homogenize that class. I think that class is pretty solid. There will never be a standard Pro Stock rule. There is a unique look and feel to IHRA Pro Stock and they have a unique look and feel at NHRA. You have to have some differences, or you might as well be the same.
The Pro Mod deal is a separate entity. That has been homogenized by NHRA, not by IHRA. They are following our rules, which is what they probably need to do right now, but let's be honest, I think they will probably come out with their own set of rules unique to NHRA cars that are going to follow that schedule. That is how you grow your own base of cars. There will be NHRA Pro Mod cars and IHRA Pro Mod cars, and the teams that are well funded may be able to bounce back and forth between them. We're going to run our show with basically what makes sense for us.
But I think there is some standardization that is good for the sport. The LED bulbs that NHRA introduced are what we are going to go to next year (2004). That will be the standard bulb from the first race.
DRO: Are the tracks responsible for installing and setting the LED systems up?
Peaco: No, we're going to bring them. We're going to make the initial investment, and we will run them at every national, divisional, and bracket finals. I think what will happen is that tracks will slowly introduce them. I know there are some tracks that have already got an order in for LEDs. I think they see it as a wave of the future. Incandescent bulbs will fall by the wayside until technology comes out with something that will be better than the LEDs.
The only issue with those is to try to slow
them down the appropriate amount. NHRA is still
getting a tune up on that and we'll be playing
with them as well until we find out what's right
for our Pro and Sportsman guys.
Ultimately it wouldn't make a lot of sense if we slowed the bulbs down three-hundredths and NHRA did it only one-hundredth, because then we haven't homogenized anything. So there should be some working order in making some things standard in drag racing.
DRO: What can be done to improve IHRA's Top Fuel show?
Peaco: Well, I think they're struggling based on what you and I know, but not on what the drag racing fan knows. When I sat in the stands in New England those fans didn't care if the car went 4.90 or 4.50; they didn't know what the difference was. We're judging it by NHRA standards -- 'Why aren't these guys going 4.60s?' -- but these guys don't have to go 4.60s; we want them to be competitive.
DRO: I agree about the speed, but it's not really competitive when you know who's going to win in the long run.
Peaco: Is anybody
going to stop Clay (Millican)? Probably not,
he's got the depth, the team, the talent; he's
the Green Bay Packers of yesterday and today.
He just dominates. But by the same token he's
out testing and trying stuff and he has the
ability to do things that a lot of guys can't
take a chance on. They can't go out and test
with their motor or their A parts and Clay can
do that. To tell you that Clay is not going
to run away with it, I can't do that. Because
that team has a desire to win. If you have that
kind of desire, I'm sure that Clay and his team
could put a Pro Stock car together and be just
But we made a rule change in Top Fuel that
I think by the end of the year people were just
getting up to speed with. Their racing got a
lot better and a lot tighter towards the end
of the year, but most of our teams just don't
have depth. They have parts, but not depth of
parts. They have knowledge, but not depth of
knowledge. Those guys, for what they are doing
and what they are doing it with, they are probably
doing a better job than most NHRA teams on a
dollar-for-dollar, race-for-race basis.