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
support series will also be racing?
Howard: 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.
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.
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.