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Through aggressive racing, a winning history, and a reputation for speaking his mind, Scotty Cannon has become a genuine legend in the sport of drag racing.

The six-time IHRA Pro Mod champion made quite a splash when he made the switch to nitro Funny Car racing in 1999 and won the NHRA’s Rookie of the Year title. Winless after five seasons in the fuel coupes, however, Cannon returned to Pro Mod action last year, where he met with mixed results. He looked like the Cannon of old early on, but struggled somewhat in coping with mid-season rule changes before returning to contending form as 2004 waned. The biggest change, though, was made in the cockpit, where Cannon’s 25-year-old son Scott took over the driving duties.

In December, DRO sat down with Cannons Sr. and Jr. at their lakefront vacation home in South Carolina and discussed, among other things, sponsorship woes, Scott’s future, Wes Cerny, Jim Jannard, John Force, and a surprising career aspiration for the Mohawked one.  

What is the general plan for Cannonball Racing in 2005?

Cannon: Well, we’re open to any suggestion from any potential sponsor or investor. The way I look at it is, whoever is paying the bills is the boss.

The first thing is that Scott is going to be doing the Pro Mod deal as the driver and he’ll be using a new Jeffers racecar. Larry Jeffers is furnishing the car and we’re going to see if we can help sell him some cars. We’ll be at the NHRA race in Gainesville, no doubt, and depending on sponsorship we’ll see how things go and how many races we’ll make.

What body will be on the car?

Cannon Jr.: It’s a ‘53 Corvette.

Cannon: We intend for it to be red, but if a sponsor wants it purple or any other color it makes no difference to us. My intention is to run both circuits. Now I know that sounds hard to do, but I could’ve done it this year (2004). Like I say, it’s going to be sponsor related. The bottom line is that we need to come up with some funding to run for a championship, which I think we proved we could toward the end of the year. We were out of this thing (Pro Mod)
for five years and we came out hauling butt, but they changed the rules on us in the middle of the year -- and they changed the rules on everybody, so I’m not complaining -- but it took us longer to adapt after being away from it so long. But in those last three races (Dragstock, Las Vegas, Phoenix), with Scott driving the car, the worst we finished was runner-up and the car was fully IHRA-legal and the blower was running at 20 (percent) over.

So, it’s going to be a shame if we have to sit back and not have anyone fund this car. I’m not bragging, but it took us only a year to get back up to speed. It’s not a matter of whether we’re going to do it or we hope to do it; it’s already happened. It’s just a little bit heart-breaking to know we’ve got a combination that can run up front and here we are probably without a sponsor because maybe I didn’t do so good.


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