DRO: So you've had a "this-is-fun-again" feeling?

Ace: I had time from when the Prudhomme deal ended to sit down and look at my entire personal position, financial and otherwise. I needed to make a decision: What do I really want to do? Do I really want to do this anymore? Do I want to hang it up? Go play golf? Goof off? I'm not, excuse my French, shot in the ass with gold nuggets. But we're OK. More is better, but we're OK. So I was at a crossroads. If I didn't enjoy this, I wasn't going to do it. With all that being said, do I want to walk away on these terms, the way it is? Maybe not. This came about with these guys. I didn't know how it was going to do, but I said I'm going to try. We went over and we tested. We spent a week running the car. At the end of the week, I said I've enjoyed this week. I'd get up in the morning and I'd look forward to going
out there, because this is what I want to do. I want to make these changes. It's rejuvenated me. I feel way better. It is a fun thing. I didn't think I could be that way again. We're just getting started. If we can progress, it's going to get better yet.

DRO: When was the last time you had this feeling of excitement?

Ace: I guess something that sort of blew me away was we were in the winners circle in Phoenix with Capps' car last year and I was told, "This is what you get paid to do." I know what we get paid to do. I understand all of that. But this moment right here, there's people who go through life who never get here. So you know, you're in the winners circle and you have to enjoy every second of that because it's going to last just a little while. And it's sort of like a low blow. "This is what you get paid to do." When you can't even come into the winners circle and enjoy it, why are you doing it?

DRO: Did Prudhomme say that to his drivers, too?

Ace: Oh, I'm sure no. He is very loyal to his guys. Larry is like a son to him. Larry worked for him through the years and ended up going into the dragster. Now, the personalities and lifestyles amongst them, Larry is not at all like Snake. Now, Capps is exactly like Snake. And Tommy's somewhere in between. Capps is a good driver. I love Ron. It's not fair to him everything that's going on. It's a very secure position, and it's very financially rewarding.

DRO: It seems like Doug is always positive.

Ace: Doug wants to go out here and he wants to enjoy what he's doing. You asked earlier about the business and the kids and everything taking his mind off of this, and my reply was I think sometimes that's good. Cruz Pedregon, I saw him -- he was a good driver and then he got into he was going to become more focused and more involved and more everything, and he went right in the tank. Doug has the ability to take one hat off and put the other one on and step right in there and become focused. When you hit the switch and you start, Doug's ready to go.

DRO: Do you see that in very many successful drivers?

Ace: I think that the guys somewhat have to do that, to a degree. Sometimes you can look at it and say there are distractions and they're not paying attention to what they're need to be. From my own experience, and I did that for a long time, trust me -- sure there are going to be days when you're off, but when that engine starts, you're there. I don't care if you've been off for a winter stretch or a week or from yesterday to today. You could make mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes as a driver. But you can't make a lot or you're not going to be there. I think Doug does a good job, as far as letting the team do what we need to do, being here, his involvement. He'll come in and look and throw his two cents in and be out of there. That's good. He has to become involved. If it's not doing what it needs to be, then it's his call. Just like Prudhomme. If it's not doing what it needs to do, you've got to make a change.

Click Here for the second part of the Ace McCulloch interview and more on his career, Don Prudhomme and drag racing.

Previous INNERviews

Marc Meadors 3/17/04

Jerry Toliver — 3/9/04
John Force
— 2/10/04

Cover | Table of Contents | DROstore | Classifieds | Archive | Contact
Copyright 1999-2004, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source