DRO: Was that
upsetting to you at the time?
No, because its hard to say what POWERade
would have done, but I definitely think we piqued
their interest in the sport.
can NHRA do to make drag racing a bigger sport?
Some of the things Ive learned in the
last three years just sitting in the bleachers
and listening to the fans are what they want
to see on the track, and whats missing,
and the personalities of our sport, and what
we need to do to make our sport a bigger entity.
I think the best thing weve had over the
last two years has been the Force-Bazemore rivalry.
Every time that heats up, NHRA does their best
to put it out and I dont understand that.
If I was them, Id even encourage it because
its something that transcends the actual
race and makes people want to watch a particular
run more than another one. When Force races
Bazemore, whether you like John or you like
Whit, theres a reason to watch outside
of just two cars going down the track. There
are personalities involved and if you think
somethings gonna happen, youre
gonna want to watch it.
Now, if John Force, he may be John Force, but
if he had berated my crew chief and put his
hands all over him like he did to Lee Beard
in Memphis, Id have kicked his ass from
one end of that shutdown area to the other.
Hed have lost one round in the points
because hed have been in no shape to drive
the next round. But all these guys want to do
is make up; I dont understand. Whit wants
to be nice about it and act like John Forces
friend and I dont think the fans want
to see that. I think they want to have rivalries.
Instead of just watching eight pairs of cars
in the first round, there needs to be a reason
to watch the fifth pair. The fans want to see
two guys who may not like each other very much
go to the line and see what happens.
I also think a lot of drivers have taken the
politically correct stance of appeasing their
corporate sponsors a little bit too far. I think
by now the average fanand this is something
I heard in the bleachersby the time the
driver gets out of the car and mentions every
sponsor thats ever given him a nickel,
the fans have already quit listening. They just
turn it off. I agree we have to take care of
our sponsors, theyre why were out
here, but you can take it too far and the fans
just dont pay attention any more. They
just wait for that sponsor role call to end
and then they start listening again to see if
he has anything good to say.
But they usually just get out and say what
a great honor it is to beat that team and we
were just lucky, etc. etc. The fans dont
want to hear that. They want to hear someone
say they brought their car out to win and they
feel just sick to lose to that so-and-so. They
want to hear some passion.
are your long-term goals in the sport?
Obviously we want to win some races and a championship.
My ultimate goal, though, is to get out of the
seat and become a team owner of a couple of
these things. I dont have any romantic
notions about being a racecar driver. For me
its always just been a vehicle for business
I mean its great to hit the pedal, dont
get me wrong; its a feeling I wish everyone
could experience, but for me Im more excited
about the business side and the opportunities
it can present. So Ill probably just drive
for about three more years and try out a second
team, maybe a third team, step out of the seat
and put someone else in the car and take care
of the business side of the sport.
what can you say about the rumor that wont
go away, that the Vandergriffs are going to
buy Atlanta Dragway?