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By Ian Tocher
January 24, 2005


Click here to read part 1

Scotty Cannon amassed six IHRA Pro Mod championships before making the leap to NHRA Funny Car action in 1999. After five winless years in the fuel coupes, however, Cannon returned to his Pro Mod roots last season. Here, in part two of a lengthy interview conducted in December, Cannon recalled the past and looked ahead to the future.

How did your relationship with (Oakley CEO) Jim Jannard begin?

Cannon: I made a comment one time that I thought I might like to drive a fuel car and I think it was Bob Frey who put it in his column that I wanted to come run there (NHRA) and somehow or another Jim got word of it through the loop. From what he’s told me, he was a big fan of mine in Pro Mod and followed what I did pretty closely.

Well, he came to Shreveport, Louisiana, at the last IHRA race that year (1998), and him and his wife just walked up and we got to talking. He asked me how I was running and we were qualified about 12th at the time, but I told him we had just come from a match race and I still had the match race motor in, but I’m fixin’ to put my hot rod motor in. So he said, ‘So you think you can put your number-one motor in and go to number one?’ and I said, ‘Beyond a doubt.’ He said, ‘You’re that sure,’ and I said, ‘I know I can. I’ll be number-one before the weekend’s over, one way or another.’ And I never knew what he was like then, but oh, he liked that. That probably sold him right there. And I went out the next time and I shook and pedaled, and still went to number one. So he came back by again and said, ‘Well you did what you said you were gonna’ do.’

Always a fan favorite, Cannon’s popularity as an IHRA Pro Mod driver carried over to his NHRA stint.

Did you have any idea who he was at that time?

Cannon: Never had a clue. He was just some guy I was talking to at the track. Then he starts talking about sunglasses. Actually, I think I started talking about his sunglasses, he had the round Oakley glasses on, and I said I’d sure like to have a pair of those. I had some cheap pair on, I think he even made fun of them. We were actually just shootin’ the
shit and he said, ‘Well, you need to be wearing Oakleys,’ and I said, ‘Can you get me some?’ and he said, ‘Well, you probably could say that.’ So I asked if he was some kind of salesman for Oakley, I had no idea he owned the place, and he said, ‘Well, let’s just say I can get you some glasses.’ So I go back and tell my guys, ‘Hey, we’re probably gonna’ have some bad sunglasses next year. Some guy from Oakley just said as long as we put a sticker on the car we’d have all the glasses we want.’

He (Jannard) told me when he got back on Monday that he was going to FedEx a box to my shop in South Carolina and it’d be there Tuesday. So we went out to eat that day and when we got back sure enough there was a box there. I figured I’d maybe get a shoebox, but this thing was big enough to put a motor in. There was probably 50 pair in it, and I thought, dadgum, this guy must really have some good connections.


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