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So if this works out okay, do you see it becoming an annual event?

Howard: I’ll probably do an annual thing. What I plan on doing is next year having Fuel Funny Cars. Next year might be a little different; I might pay $200,000 to win—winner takes all. I’d like to find out how many guys really have confidence in themselves.

I’ve not run this by anyone yet, you’re the first one I’ve talked to about the $200,000 winner-take-all, eight-car shootout, but I think it’d be a big deal. That’s an awful big payday in drag racing. And between qualifying and racing, that’s five rounds these guys can use this as a test session and maybe pick up $200 grand as well. They usually pay to test somewhere and I may only have an eighth mile here, but they can still pick up some things they need to know.

Did you need NHRA’s “blessing” to put on the Top Fuel race?

Howard: I’d have done it without, but I have to give credit to Bill Holt for all he’s done to help make it happen. To be honest with you, originally they [NHRA] weren’t going to allow us to set eighth-mile records, but the more they thought about it they realized it wouldn’t be anything but good for the sport.

Which support series will also be racing?

It’s invitation only for a 16-car field in Outlaw Pro Mod, 32 cars in Outlaw 10.5, and 16 in Limited Street. I’ve also got a 32-car field for EZ Street, 6.0s and 7.0s all run, Stock and Super Stock, and then I decided to have a bracket race. I couldn’t leave my regular guys out. And we’ve also got jet cars and fireworks for Saturday night, so we’re really gonna’ put on a show for the folks.

We’ll have to do some organized parking for this, without a doubt, but I’ve had 700 cars here before, so I know we can handle it no problem. And the place will be open so the fuel teams can come straight from St. Louis at the national event there. They can come in and park and use the facility at no charge, if that’s what they want to do. I just need for them to notify me and I’ll have an ambulance on crew and the track staff and they can test for free. I just appreciate them coming for the fans.

What does the future hold for George Howard?

Howard: Next year, I’ll probably have a series of some kind. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be yet, but I can tell you it’ll be a little different from any other series ever, and it’ll include nearly every kind of drag racing. And I want to get out around the country; I want to get out of the southeast, get out of this window a little bit.

I want to incorporate some old muscle car stuff, some old Pure Stock type racing, I’m going to have a bracket race that’ll pay $5,000 a day to win, some 10.5 stuff, probably some Pro Modified stuff, and I’ll probably have car shows and swap meets, too.

But the big thing I’m going to have next year is a real low ticket price. You come in for the weekend and it’ll be 25 bucks. You can race, you can spectate, you can enter the car show, you can set up in the swap meet, whatever. No matter what you want to do it’ll be $25, that’s the most money you’re going to spend at that racetrack. I’m going to roll the clock back and make it affordable to more people. I want to put some fun back in drag racing.

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