So talking about cooler conditions, this year (2005) you started off by winning the Winternationals and another event after that. How would you sum up this year — was it to your expectations? 

SK: No, not at all. We ended up eighth overall and we only had two good races really and they were the ones we won. Towards the end of the year we started to get a handle on it - going rounds — a couple semis here and there but overall it was a big disappointment if it hadn’t been for those couple of races. 

What was the reasoning about going to funny car in 2006? 

SK: Well it seemed that with four dragsters (including Hillary Wills’) that it was a bit of overkill and my dad has kinda been itching to have a funny car for a few years now. Really it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other and seeing as we lost our major sponsor for next year we’ve got a couple of associates coming with us. 

Was that Mac Tools? 

SK: Yeah, it was Mac Tools. They are going to stay on the other car but their deal with Jesse James really didn’t pan out for a second year like they thought it would as far as their sales of that merchandise. So that was the main reason why they couldn’t afford to go with two but they could do one. Then we said, well, why not — let’s do something different. 

So who is building that car? 

SK: Murf McKinney — same deal. I have Johnny West and Larry Myer — they are my two crew chiefs on it — and Jim (Oberhofer) is going to work on Hillary’s car.

I’ve known Johnny for 25 years and the same with Larry also — we’ve known each other for 35 years now. So I think its going to be good.  

So you said you have three test sessions before the Winternationals. 

SK: Yes — we test Las Vegas, Phoenix and then back to Las Vegas. We’ll probably do at least two of them if not all three of them.  Yeah — who knows?0 We’ll just have to play it by ear to see how many of them we go to. 

Have you got a major sponsor for the funny car? 

SK: We don’t have one.  

Are you still looking for one? 

SK: Oh yeah, absolutely — you are always looking for new sponsors. At the moment we’ll just run it under Kalitta Air. 

Just on a personal note, you run a marina in Florida, don’t you?  — You don’t have any association with the company (Kalitta Air) of late. 

SK: No — we moved out of Michigan to Florida in 2000. I had my own airline, Trans-Continental Airlines, since ‘93 and I sold the company in 1999 and then moved to Florida a year later. The company had DC-8s and 727s.  

So do you guys have routes to Australia at all? 

SK: No; we sold a couple of cars to these guys (Rapisarda Racing). I’ve known Jim Read (not on a real personal level) for about 20 years. I’ve known Glen Mikres (driver for Santo Rapisarda and now crew chief — Ed.) for 25 years and he worked for us at one time.  

We sold Santo a car back in the early ‘90s, and with Glen working for Santo the deal came up for selling these two cars. With the sale of the two cars the opportunity came up to come over here to see the country and to drive the race car and on balance I said sure. 

Is there anything you would like to say in closing? 

SK: Yeah I want to say that everybody has been very, very nice. I wish half the people were as nice in the States as we’ve found everybody here to be. We’ve had a blast and it would be nice to come back and see it when it wasn’t quite so hot.  

Well, thanks for your time. 

SK: No problem. 


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