What is the situation with Norwalk Raceway Park and its future as an IHRA venue?
Polburn: Right now Norwalk is in the last year of their contract and right now (track owners) Bill and Billy (Bader) are, as they would put it, looking at all their options, which they should. Am I confident one way or another that they’ll be back? I should be, but again, you never know. I would hope to think that we would be back there again.
But if we weren’t? I can remember the day when IHRA lost the heart and soul of this company called Bristol Dragway and we did just fine.
How soon do you expect the issue to be resolved?
Polburn: Real soon, because my mistake was that I put them on the schedule for 2006 assuming, just assuming, that they would be there. My mistake, I should not have done that but I never anticipated that they would, you know, look at the options. But God bless them, that’s their right and I think when they do we represent a pretty darn good option, especially in lieu of the fact that Bill owns 25 percent of the company.
If, for whatever reason, Norwalk did decide to switch sanctioning bodies, do you have a Plan B for the schedule? Where would you like to see a new IHRA national event?
Polburn: We wouldn’t have to replace that date right away, but if we were looking at places Tulsa would always be my first choice because we do big business there and
they’re so close to having a national event facility.
We’ve also been working with Mike and Frank Tedesco and the people in Pittsburgh and we basically gave them a letter of intent that said if they were willing to put X amount of dollars into the facility and build it to national event standards that we would bring a national event to Pittsburgh, which would be a wonderful market for us.
I would say that those are the most likely places on the near side, but I’d love to do an eighth-mile national event somewhere, but again you’re looking at markets, venues, and facilities. Nationals are just so difficult to have because they’re so big and cumbersome that there are only so many facilities you can hold them in.
There are still racers not happy with traveling to the Edmonton event, but is it here to stay?
Polburn: It’s a great event with fan participation, racer participation, but is it tough on the teams? Yeah, we all understand that. But it is what it is and we have a national race there, we’re loved there, it’s a huge event for us, and it’s good for IHRA so we’ll continue going there.
What else can you tell us about what’s in store for IHRA next year?
Polburn: I hesitate to say only because this is the stupid silly season and anything I say could be taken out of context one way or the other and right now is when we make so many sponsor presentations. You know, our success is predicated on what we do in the next three months. People may not believe that but it’s absolutely true. What we do between now and early or middle January will determine whether we are successful or have a horrible failure in 2006. So I’m a little leery about letting anything out at this point in time. I will say our whole object is growth and we’ll take that one step at a time.