DRO: I always
picture you as raucous and fun.
like that part. I enjoy this. I have fun at
this. I feel very blessed to have this. It's
something I've preparing for all my life.
DRO: How much
of that exuberance was the real you before and
how much was WWF?
allowed me to do anything within good taste.
It allowed me to be vocal. With the deal I have
today, I'm going to be the same guy. I'm not
going to change me. I'm not going to turn into
Corporate Jerry. I don't like that. I get more
out of a guy who's doing an interview who shows
some emotion -- it's really coming
him -- than the guy who's doing a scripted,
canned thing. Our sponsors want to be mentioned.
I think there's a right time to mention your
sponsors and a time to tell your story. If you
figure out a way to make the two intertwine
where everybody's happy, then it's great. But
I think the fans will pay more attention to
your sponsor if they gravitate toward you, if
they like you. You're showing emotion. You get
out of the car and you're still feeling it.
You're trying to relate that to them, what it
was doing and why it was doing that, and if
a guy gets mad and says a cuss word, yeah, we're
human. Nobody likes to lose. I think John Force
is probably the master at that. But I don't
think it's masterful. I think it's just John
showing his real self. John just does John.
And Jerry Toliver just does Jerry. I don't try
to be anybody else out there. Just me. I like
projecting my feelings. Fans are not dumb. Don't
think they don't know when you've got a scripted
fans of all kinds appreciate someone who tells
it like it is.
hundred percent of these guys aren't going to
like me. But that's OK. I got 'em wound up.
I'm here to put on a show. We're showmen here.
Look at Dale Earnhardt. The Intimidator. He
was a bad guy, a guy who didn't take any guff.
He just knocked people off the track. The Guy
in Black. And the fans really loved him.
DRO: When will
NHRA figure that out?
think NHRA has figured it out. I think some
of the things that happened between Force and
me back in 2000 was part of that. That was all
real. He'd get wound up, and I think somebody
seriously challenged him for the first time
in along time and he took notice to it.
DRO: How fun
was a blast. Halfway through the season I had
to pinch myself and say, "You really are leading
this thing. You have a shot at this baby!"
DRO: What happened?
wish I could say exactly what happened -- we
lost our tune-up. We ran out of some clutch
disc parts. We truly think that's what turned
it around. We ran out of clutch discs at Sonoma
and we DNQd. And that's when the whole program
turned around. We won only a couple of rounds
after Sonoma that year. What really upset me
. . . losing first place to Force was one thing.
I got over that part. The last race of the year
we lose to Ron Capps by a round and a half.
Really upset me. I went into Pomona leading
him by a half a round, and we just spiraled
down. I really wanted second place bad.