DRO: When the
Skoal Funny Car didn't produce the desired results,
did you resent the fact that you took the fall?
(Prudhomme) involvement in the company, which
is in the background- she's a huge part of that
company- plays an awfully big role behind the
scenes and she does a great, great job. The
way they treat their people, as far as taking
care of them and paying their bills and all
of the financial end of Prudhomme's organization,
could not be any better. It's a premier [operation]
out here. Now, that being said, sometimes when
it comes time to make a change in personnel,
how that's done, I mean I was on the cut list
and I'm gone from there. He used to come in
all the time [and say,] "We've got to get more
people. OK, who do you want to get? We want
to build our team. We want to get more people,
a brain trust. This is not about firing anybody.
Oh, by the way, you're fired."
DRO: Is there
a missing component somewhere?
Ace: I don't
know that it's a missing component. But there's
a component there that really muddies the water,
and it's the guy that owns the place.
your relationship with Don Prudhomme?
OK. We talk. It's business. When our deal ended,
did I like it? Was I happy with it? No. But
did I like the position that I was in there
when it was going on? No. So probably all in
all, it was best for everybody that it did end.
Or something needed to change.
DRO: If you
had wanted to stay there, what would you have
liked to see change?
Ace: I would
have liked for him to stay completely out of
the Funny Car trailer and have no influence,
no pressure, of him coming in and telling you
that the sponsors want to win a championship
and we have to win and we have to qualify and
we have to do this and we have to do that. I
know that's our goal. But you coming in and
beating on me every day and telling me, "We
have to do this," is that helping any? No. What
it does is make you make bad decisions. You
go up there and you really want to do this,
but you know you've got to go down the racetrack.
You know it'll go down the racetrack, but it's
not going to run as good as it could.
likes to get fired. Does the stigma of that
Ace: That really
doesn't bother me, no, because in my opinion,
anybody out here that counts knows the situation
and knows how it is. So they either take me
for what I am or they don't.
DRO: How did
you and Doug Herbert get together? Who approached
I knew that Doug was looking and I said something
. . . and he called and we talked about it.
I flew down there (to Cherryville, N.C.) and
we talked about it. There were a
of other things going on right at that time.
DRO: Such as?
were some other deals in the works.
DRO: Were you
under contract to Bob Gilbertson?
Ace: I only
went over there with Gilbertson for the last
three races. Nicky Boninfante is the crew chief
over there. He's a good friend of mine and he
needed some help. I told him I'd go with them
for the last three races, just to see if I could
help 'em. They wanted me to stay over there
and do that deal. I like the guys and everything.
It's just that they're not really serious about
the deal and what they need to do. That really
wasn't a consideration, per se. That AT&T deal
was floating around, and numerous people thought
they had that in the bag. And there were numerous
people who thought if they get that deal, "We
want you." So I mean it's a wait-and-see game.
Well, I waited until the first part of December,
and Doug was in a position that we're either
going to do this or we're not. So OK, let's