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What other changes are we likely to see in Super Chevy?

GUSTIN: You know, there hasn’t been one year that we haven’t changed something, subtle changes usually. I guess our biggest change was back a few years ago when we switched from the Pro Modifieds to the Nitro Coupes. That was one idea I will take credit for and that I’m real proud of. It took us a while to get it all sorted out, but fortunately it works real well now. They’re really exciting cars.

I drove the fuel Funny Cars back in the ‘60s when it all got started and these cars remind me of those cars, you know, short wheelbase, they can be pretty erratic, but overall we have a great safety record with them. We had the one incident with (Bill) Kuhlman where he had a crash and a bad fire and of course we’ve had a few bang the wall from time to time, but they’ve actually been pretty darn safe, nothing like what some people said they would be when we first brought them out.

Are the Nitro Coupes booked in advance or can anyone with an appropriate car enter?

GUSTIN: It is a booked-in show that we have, but it’s a competition series for the guys we’ve booked in. We have a points fund for them at the end of the year and these guys are all very serious racers. It’s not a whole lot different than some other circuits. I mean, you take the NHRA circuit and the top 10 or whatever, they get their appearance money, however it works, and it should be that way because you can’t break the show. You’ve got to have those guys coming back from race to race.

The reason for us doing this is, these bracket racers to us are king. I mean, we’ve got to have them; they are the base root for having an event. We want every one we can get; we cater to them. It’s the largest segment of all of drag racing, the bracket guys, and we want all of them to come, but if we said, ‘Okay, it’s just an open competition show,’ what happens if 20 (Nitro Coupes) show up and we spend half a day getting everyone qualified? Then those guys (bracket racers) are left sitting in the pits or in the stands or in the staging lanes; they never get any track time.

So we tell the Nitro Coupe teams, ‘Look, we only want eight of you, but we also preach that we want top performance out of every one of you. No excuses; if you don’t perform, you’re out of here.’ It’s just the way we run the business. And I know what it’s like because I spent a lifetime in that environment. If I didn’t perform well with my cars, they didn’t book me again. Simple as that.

The other thing that makes it important is that there’s a lot more to do at a Super Chevy Show than just watching cars go down the track. You can check out the car show, the midway, the swap meet, so we don’t want to keep those people in the stands for five straight hours. We want them to see a really exciting show, but also take in everything that goes on around it. That’s what makes a Super Chevy Show what it is.

Do you follow other forms of racing, too?

GUSTIN: Every form of motorsports, from Formula 1 to IRL to World of Outlaws, I kind of know what’s going on. I don’t have time to go to a lot of other races, but I pay attention to them all.


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