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Are you (Cannon Sr.) going to be doing any driving next year (2005)?

Cannon: The deal with Scott, that’s my first priority and the reason why is that will benefit both of us and if we can tie a sponsor on it will just ease on through the system. If I was to wind up right now with a fuel deal it would be great, and I’m definitely pursuing those avenues right now, but from a Scotty Cannon point of view it really has nothing to do with him (Scott).

It’s not so much about him driving a Pro Mod just because he’s my boy, but I’ve already been there and done it and I kind of left it, and I came back. And it really wasn’t my choice to come back. It was a business decision based on how much sponsorship money I had
left with Oakley last year. In my eyes I didn’t think I had enough to run a fuel car team efficiently. I could’ve tried it, but I don’t think it could’ve been done without stumbling and being butt-broke at the end of the year. But I knew I had enough money to run the Pro Mod car and at the same time I could see him ready to get in the car.

My first choice was to put Scott in the car. Well, that didn’t set too well with Oakley. It didn’t set bad, but they would rather have me drive. And it wasn’t in any way a bad decision on their part. If I was in their position I’d have made the same decision -- maybe. But my outlook was, he’s young, I’d already seen him drive, I probably had the most confidence, but when you go into negotiations with someone and you’re talking about your own kin, I don’t say they look at you like you’re trying to blur things his way to make him look good, but he almost had to prove himself more because of that.

It’s going to be harder for him to get a deal unless he proves himself than it is for a guy off the street. I know that sounds stupid, but if you think about it, if a guy walks in and says he can do this and drive that, they may take a chance and say they’ll try him out. But if he tries that, and it doesn’t matter if it’s him speaking or me speaking or some public relations guy, they’re going to be saying, ‘Well, he just thinks he can do this just because his daddy did.’ With me having done so good in the past in Pro Mod, they look at me and say, ‘Well, you were so good, why don’t you drive?’ And I think that’s what Oakley did. In my opinion we would’ve been better off with him driving because we make a good team. It makes me dig deeper, makes me work harder, just makes me want to win more.

Has Oakley shown any interest in continuing as Scott’s sponsor now that he’s had at least some success?

Cannon: To be honest, I’ve approached them about that but I haven’t heard any response back yet. I hate to see them disappear from the class, especially because it wouldn’t cost any more to sponsor him to drive the car. The stars and moon have lined up now, we’ve got a hot rod that’s proved it’ll run and he’s batting almost a thousand, so I think they bailed out at the wrong time. Actually, I was told that if we found another sponsor they would come on as an associate, and I deal with Jim Jannard himself, not with Oakley, but I know them all because it’s a tight-knit family.

In 1999, with backing from Oakley, Scotty Cannon joined the NHRA Funny Car circuit and finished 11th in points on his way to the Rookie of the Year title.


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