DRO: If you had to predict the final Top Fuel standings, what would it be? Can you give me a 1-2-3?

Ace: [Long pause] I've looked at this long and hard. Doug finished ninth last year. The best he's ever finished in his entire career was seventh. Not counting ourselves short, but with the experience and ability of all of these other teams, in my opinion, I'd have to say that the Army car is No. 1. Kalitta's cars are going to be right up there. Now they've got three cars. Are they going to finish 1-2-3 or 2-3-4? I don't think so. But they're going to put a couple of cars up close to the top. I think Bernstein is going to be in there.

DRO: Where's Dixon going to go?

Ace: There's 18 cars. You sit here and think it should be easy to finish in the top five. Look at their third car with Grubnic now. That can be a tough car. If we could finish in the top five or six, I would be happy. Anything better than that, I would be ecstatic.

DRO: What would you do if Doug Herbert up and won the championship?

Ace: I would've thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It would be gratifying to me if we can be respectable and not tear it up.

DRO: There's a lot of professional pride that goes into that. And a lot of money, considering the new oil down rules.

Ace: There's issues with that. I understand where they're at. If we're out there blowing this thing up and tearing it up, then you need to make some changes. But when you get in the middle of the summer and you get on a race track that nobody can get hold of, and on Sunday they're going to drive it to the other end to get the win and it's spinning the tire and it blows up. Is that our fault? No.

DRO: Paul Romine made that point last summer.

Ace: I told Capps, "We want to win the race. But when you go out there on Sunday and it comes loose and you pedal it, you keep pedaling it until it blows up, A.) You don't win the round anyway, B.) You've blown up all your stuff, and C.) You've got a penalty on top of it. If it goes out there puffing smoke and it ain't goin', shut it off. We're not that good today. We'll come back and try it tomorrow or next week.

DRO: I hope Prudhomme respected that.

Ace: We always had a respect for each other. Lynn and Linda, my wife, are very, very close friends. Were Snake and I prior to this, did we go to dinner? No. When I went to work with him, did I? Yeah, we did. It was more because my wife and his wife said, "We're going to dinner." OK. Snake, we've been through a lot of years, and he knows how far he can push me. So he used to push. We've gotten into it before. We got into it in Chicago. It came relatively close to an ugly scene.

DRO: Really? The spring race or the fall race?

Ace: Let's see . . . it would have been the first race from '02. It didn't come to blows, but he knew when I stood up it was time for him to shut up. And he did. He backed off and he cooled down and said, "Don't get mad, now." We've had our ups and downs.

DRO: Would you have hit him?

Ace: Would I? In a heartbeat! Sure I would.

DRO: Would he have sued you or hit you back?

Ace: We would have probably rolled around in the dirt. I don't think there'd have been a lawsuit. We're both from the old school.

DRO: Think you could still take him, huh?

Ace: Always could.

DRO: That's why he has that respect for you.

Ace: He knows where to stop.

DRO: You've given him credit for plenty, but you certainly have to give him credit for being smart.

Ace: He still ain't cool.

Previous INNERviews

Marc Meadors 3/17/04

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

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