do you like best about drag racing?
Oh, the competitiveness and the family that's
out here. Every one of my competitors is a
family person to me.
do you think is the worst part of drag racing?
Our inability to excel in the sporting world
to where we should be on pretty equal footing
as NASCAR. We were years ago and we should
have found a way to maintain that position.
We really have to work real, real hard to
be able to continue to grow in the sporting
world and take this sport to the next level.
the biggest difference between NHRA drag racing
today and when you were a driver?
Oh, the professionalism of it today. It's
a much safer sport. Yes, it's faster, its
quicker, bigger crowds. But the professionalism.
Corporate America being out here. What corporate
America expects out of the teams, the drivers,
the owners and the facilities and such. It's
totally different today than it was back in
the sixties and seventies.
there were no guardrails between the fans
and the cars. Those facilities that you ran
on, it's a wonder more drivers weren't killed
or injured during that period.
Well, every sport has progressed and this
sport has certainly progressed also. Yes,
there were a lot of things that were very,
very dangerous back in the old days that we
didn't perceive as danger. It was a different
world back then, a different United States
back then, certainly different facilities.
Everything is so much safer and
today than it was back then. It's really remarkable,
but I think we all see that in our lives from
when we're teenagers to where we are in our
fifties, you see big changes in the world,
but fortunately, that continues on. We've
see big changes in NHRA drag racing and I'm
sure that will continue on.
you seeing this as a transition period right
now in drag racing?
I think you have the teams and NHRA and the
sponsors working harder today than we ever
have in trying to pull the sport up to the
next level and elevate it. The teams are working
hard with NHRA, and NHRA is working hard with
the teams, with these task forces that they've
put together, with the groups of owners and
crew chiefs and such to be able to continue
to take it to the next level.
you agree with Don Prudhomme that Top Fuel
cars are unsafe as they are currently designed?
They are not unsafe. We need to make them
safer. These cars do incredible things as
they go down a racetrack. And it's a unique
vehicle that has been built out of small changes
over a number of years that allow these cars
to go as quick and as fast as they do down
the racetrack. We need to make the cars safer.
Darrell's death was a horrific tragedy, but
I knew really it was a freak accident, that
something came into the cockpit and it impacted
him and it killed him. Blaine Johnson, that
was again a freak accident where there was
an opening in the guardrail for a turn off
and, we've progressed where there aren't those
openings any longer -- that was a freak accident
that killed Blaine. We need to focus on what
we can do to protect these drivers more. We
are focusing on that. I do not consider these
cars unsafe. If I did, I'd be gone.