what have you been doing this year, other than seeking new
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
Fifteen-year-old Dean Skuza poses
with his first car, a 1971 Dodge Challenger.
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.
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.
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 deanskuza.com)
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.