What do you think is the main attraction for the racers to attend the World Street Nationals?
CW: My personal opinion is that they want to be a part of the biggest all heads up drag race in the world. One can be the world champion in another series, but the fact remains that one hasn't won the "big dance" until they win in Orlando. How important is the prize money? I've said many times that if a person does not have fun at an event they are probably not coming back regardless of how much money is paid. We pay all 32 qualifiers in our top two classes and the cash prizes are posted for first round winners and up in the other two classes.
What do you think is the main attraction for the fans that attend the World Street Nationals?
CW: I can tell you this: I've seen almost 90% of our crowd stay for a late finish, but I've never seen very many at all stay to watch the pay off. For the spectator, it doesn't matter. The final could be for $10,000 or 10 cents—they just want to see a great race. And we are blessed year after year with the best cars and drivers one could wish for.
Have you ever given any thought to scheduling more than one Street Nationals per year?
Does it bother you that so many promoters some in your own state try to copy the World Street Nationals even down to copying your exact rules?
CW: I really don't have any comment on that other than to say some feel that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and others feel it is as chicken-shit as it gets. Usually another track operator or promoter ends up changing the rules anyhow because they are worried about car count and want to open things up to as many as possible. But, at least for now, if it isn't in Orlando it isn't the REAL World Street Nationals and we are going to work as hard as possible to keep it that way. Personally, I pay attention to OUR promotion and event.
Are there any real “bankable” stars in street-legal racing?
CW: All I can say is that if there are any "bankable" stars in this niche of the drag racing market they are here every October at the World Street Nationals. Just look around you the next time you are in the middle of the pits at the race. Virtually every hardcore heads up doorslammer racer is here. And if they aren't here they probably want to be.
Why hasn’t your event and other big “street legal” races attracted more of the mainstream drag racing companies as sponsors?
CW: First of all, we have not been using the term "Street Legal" for this event in a while. We keep "street" in the name for the sake of consistency. This is virtually no holds barred heads up doorslammer drag racing. We have had some limited sponsorship in the past and we still get a little help from time to time. Mostly from Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels. In all honesty, I see some of the other "non-HRA" series with what looks like a ton of sponsors. We don't have a huge staff to cultivate and maintain a constantly changing group of sponsors. The spectators are our main sponsors. Our manufacturers midway though is growing by leaps and bounds.
You had imports as a class at the World Street Nationals few years back, but you dropped them. Why?
CW: We ran them for about three years. There were some impressive little cars for sure, but there did not appear to be any growth pattern to the 4- and 6-cylinder classes. The typical World Street Nationals fan went to the rest room or the refreshment centers while the import classes were running. We found the same was true when we ran a motorcycle class for several years. It would appear the imports and the motorcycles do best when it is a stand-alone event for them. And, have you seen the pictures of the bikini contests at those import events?