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As 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.

What 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.]

Do you think that drag racing could ever compete with NASCAR?

Smith: No, they are two different animals.

If 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?

Smith: Absolutely 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" stand for?

smith: "Oh my goodness." I gotta go now.

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