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So what have you been doing this year, other than seeking new sponsorship?

Skuza: That’s basically all I’ve been doing, just trying to put programs together to get back on the track. That, and just spending time with my family and doing things around the house that I never had time to do. Now my boy’s in first grade, so I’ve kind of been Mr. Mom with him. My wife went back to work; she’s a nurse. So I’ve been getting him off to school, giving him baths, the kind of stuff that I was never able to do before. That’s the one good thing about this year.

Fifteen-year-old Dean Skuza poses with his first car, a 1971 Dodge Challenger.
(Photo courtesy of

How much do you miss racing?

Skuza: It wasn’t apparent to me until probably about midway through this season. Everybody takes everything for granted, you can’t help it, until it’s gone. The racing was no different for me. I knew I loved it, I knew it was all I wanted to do, and it’s probably my only passion in life in terms of career. But I didn’t realize how much of a passion it was until I didn’t do it for a year.

Do you stay in contact with NHRA, at least periodically?

Skuza: Periodically, sure, I think everyone does, especially when you’re talking with sponsors that maybe want something other than just the car. I mean, if they want kiosks or some kind of fan interaction display at the tracks, you have to talk with them because all of that has to go through the sanctioning body and has to be organized as such.

Are you surprised at all at how difficult it is to find sponsorship given your past success and relatively high profile among drivers thanks to your TV experience?

Skuza, shown here grabbing some lubricating refreshment on the set of Popular Hot Rodding TV, said his stint as a TV host contributed to the busiest period of his racing career. (Photo courtesy of

Skuza: Yes and no. I think you can look at any motorsport or any sanctioning body and you could probably name four or five drivers with good track records that had to sit out or struggled at times. I think it just goes with the territory. That’s why, no matter what you do in life, everyone looks at job security but I think that’s a term we should just throw under the rug, because I just don’t think it exists. I mean, when my dad was a kid everyone thought you should get a job with a big company and you’d be set for life, but that’s about the farthest thing from the truth now.

With the sour economy we’ve had, I’m not saying companies aren’t spending, because they are, but the ones getting involved in motorsports, and drag racing in particular, the smart ones at least, realize it’s a three- to five-year program. Unfortunately, in the past year-and-a-half or so, that’s just a period of time that many companies weren’t really willing or able to commit to, just because of the uncertainty of the economy.


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