Kurt and I would always pick on the one that
lost the race because he was late all the time.
How come you cant have better reaction
time? How come you did this? How come you did
that? We didnt know any better;
we had never driven one of these things you
know. So finally, after years of this, Warren
said, Thats it! Im tired of
listening to you guys tell me how easy this
is, why dont I do this, and why dont
I do that? Im sending both of you guys
to Roy Hills Drag Racing School. Youre
going to get in these cars and youre going
to see just how hard it is to drive these damn
things. And also that should help you to tune
these cars better because youll see it
from both sides and if you see it from both
sides then youll understand whats
going on with these cars.
So, it was his idea to send us to Roys
school. It was back in 91, 92, or
93. I should remember the year, but thats
when he sent us. We went a week apart; Kurt
went the first week, I went the next, and both
of us from the day we came home from that school
knew we wanted to drive a Pro Stock car. Hes
what started it all. We probably both had somewhere
in the back of our minds maybe the hope that
someday we would drive a car, but it wasnt
a priority. But ever since we went to that school
we got the bug and it wasnt a matter of
weeks when Kurt got out of school he went and
found him a ride. He just had to do it. He got
a ride from the Scrimner brothers and another
ride from Jerry Haas or somebody the next race.
He just begged, borrowed, or stole and got rides
in each race and thats how Kurt got started.
DRO: Did you
start looking for a ride right away, too?
Well, I just couldnt do that. I was working
on Warrens car full time and I didnt
have the leverage to do that. I kind of had
to bide my time and hope that one day I would
get the opportunity. My hope was that one day
I would get the opportunity to drive Warrens
car; that someday he would retire. He was getting
on up in age, even back then, and many times
he said that he didnt want to do this
any more and wanted to put someone else in the
car. That went on for years and years when he
I kept thinking that could be me, and I finally
came to him and told him, Look, I want
the opportunity to do this or to take over for
you when you pull out, but I know that youre
not going to consider me if I have no previous
experience when it comes time to make that decision.
Somehow in the next couple of years I need to
start getting some experience.
I asked him if it would be all right for me
to be doing some of the testing of his car when
we go out and make some test laps, so he could
stay in the shop more, where he is more valuable.
He kinda agreed to that, but as the years
went on it never happened. Time just went on
and Kurt had become a full-time racer by then
and I came to the conclusion that there is already
two here and theres not going to be three.
And I had heard Warren say for years that he
was going to quit driving, but I finally realized
hell be in the grave before that happens.
So I finally decided that if I do want to try
this, at least see if I can really do it, Ill
have to go elsewhere to do it.
I met my wife about the same time and her father
Troy Humphrey raced Pro Stock part-time. He
had Ricky Smith and Mike Bell driving his car
for a couple of years each. When I married Kim
he offered me an opportunity to come drive his
car. That would have been in 98 when Mike
Bell was still driving his car and Troy said
hed run two cars with him in one and Mike
Bell and I both drove for about a half of a
season in the other one and then Mike moved
on somewhere else and I took over Troys
car. That was my opportunity, thats where
it started and hey, Ill be the first to
admit that when I started I stunk. I wasnt
any good at it.
did the decision come to put together your own
A couple of years later, I raced for my father-in-law
a couple of years and we just couldnt
find any kind of sponsorship and we couldnt
race but six or seven times a year with the
budget we had and we couldnt compete.
you at least qualifying?
Sporadically, not every race, but I was qualifying
at some. The next year I was qualifying most
of the time, but not able to win any races or
anything like that. Then the last year of the
arrangement with my father-in-law we joined
up with Mark Pawuk and ran a second car for
Mark. Troy still had his truck and trailer and
I drove the car, but I actually helped Mark
and that was when he brought in Rob Downey as
his crew chief. He kinda brought me in
to bring Rob up to speed faster. So for a year
I helped Mark and drove Marks second car.
That was 2000 and we did not win a race, but
we did get three or four runner-ups. So I could
see that I was progressing and getting better.
I told Warren the day I walked out, that if
I go and see that Im not cut out to do
this, Ill be back knocking on your door
within a month wanting my old job back and Ill
be satisfied the rest of my career working on
I didnt have any success to start with,
but I could see that each time I went somewhere
and got in a car I progressed. If I hadnt
seen that progression, then I would have bailed