sponsorship dollars are very important, but what about the
purses at NHRA? How important is prize money to a team like
Skuza: It could be extremely
important, but as it sits, it isn’t. Right now, if
you do the math there’s just no way you could survive
on prize money. But it’s not just NHRA; if you look
at motorsports across the board I’m not sure there’s
any where you could get by on prize money alone. It’s
almost always been dependent on corporate sponsors. You see
on the Internet message boards all the time, people saying, ‘Wow,
look what 40th got in Cup!’ and ‘Why can’t
drag racing be like that?’ But that racing is x amount
of times more expensive to do and I’m telling you,
if you put a pencil to it, it’s not all that different
in terms of proportion.
But if you look at the way our sport has escalated over
the last 10 or 20 years, I’ve got to agree with the
general consensus that the prize money hasn’t grown
with it. I mean, how about this? The prize money hasn’t
even covered the cost-of-living increases, let alone the
leaps and bounds the sport has taken. I understand their
[NHRA’s] standpoint in they’re trying to grow
the sport, but there is no sport without cars, and boy, with
the way the economy is right now it sure would be nice to
have a good increase [in prize money].
about next season then, is it realistic for us to expect
you out there?
Skuza: Yeah, it is. We’re
very close with a number of companies, and to be honest,
I thought we would’ve had something by July or August.
The companies that I’ve been talking to happen to be
finalizing their budgets extremely late, which is fine, but
it usually takes months to get things ready.
We’re in a good position, though, because we’re
turn-key ready. If we went to contract today, I could be
ready to race next weekend. That’s how quickly we can
react. No, we won’t be spit-shine polished, but we
can be there and we’d probably qualify the car. I firmly
believe that. So, we’re poised and ready to go. I just
wish we could get something finalized so I could sleep a
you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice, who
would be calling the shots on your tune-up?
Skuza: Brian Corradi. Right
now he’s been kind of working part-time with Jim Dunn.
He goes to all the races and advises Jim and oversees the
crew there. It works out good for both of us because it keeps
him on our payroll and Jim helps out so we each get a good
deal on the value of Brian Corradi himself. Plus it keeps
Brian actively involved with what’s going on at the
track and keeps him ready to go.
you looking forward to the 2005 season?
Skuza: I’m looking
forward to getting back out there, but what I really want
to put across is that I want to get back out there the
right way. I don’t think I ever want to race again
like we did in 2003, even though we did enjoy some success.
Trying to do it on a shoestring is a big, stressful deal
and not the way we want to race and not the way we want
to present ourselves.
With a plain, black paint scheme
in 2003, Skuza managed to make a good showing , but it
was always apparent that he needed more corporate aid
to keep up with the front runners in the class. (Ian