a spectator sport, how do you see NHRA drag racing as a
benefit to your SMI company?
smith: I like to make money
and I believe that drag racing will make profits for my company.
That's why I have an interest in buying the NHRA.
do you think of drag racing's potential for growth?
Smith: Well, let me answer
that question this way. If I were to be able to get a deal
done and purchase the NHRA I would also probably invest around
$100,000,000 -- it could be more or less than that number
-- in improving the facilities and making them more attractive
to fans, racers and the press. I like to make the companies
that I buy grow.
[Editor's Note: As a comparison, $100 million was roughly
NHRA's 2003 total revenue.]
you think that drag racing could ever compete with NASCAR?
Smith: No, they
are two different animals.
you were able to buy the NHRA, would there be any immediate
changes in the organization?
smith: If, and I stress
if, I'm able to buy the NHRA naturally we would try to improve
the company. We would go in and try to make things better.
One of the first things I would do would be to enlarge and
improve the marketing department.
Also, there wouldn't be any doubt in the racer's mind who
is in charge. You can't let the players run the game.
Would we see a change in the format of the racing? We've heard
that NHRA might at some time split up the Pros and Sportsman
and run them separately.
Smith: I really
can't comment on that but I will tell you we have had some
meetings on that subject.
What about a change in personnel?
not. I buy a lot of businesses and one of the things that
I don't do is change or get rid of the personnel. I have no
intention of running anyone off. Employees are the most important
assets a company has.
One last question, Mr. O. Bruton Smith. What does the "O"
smith: "Oh my goodness."
I gotta go now.