Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 2, Page

Is that the biggest change in the class from when you were dominating in the early ‘80s?

REHER: I don’t know. That’s a hard question to answer. I mean, outwardly, that’s the first thing that’s different and probably that escalation in expenses caused many of the other differences that came as a result. I mean, we got into it in an era where people spent what was kind of a reflection of what we were doing, it was somewhat in proportion.

And I’m not faulting anybody that’s got all the money. I don’t know that if I had a lot of money I wouldn’t do the same thing. But it’s happened in all forms of racing. Now you’ve got Sportsman racers out there where before they had a Suburban and a trailer and now they’ve got a $300,000 motorhome and a $150,000 trailer. It’s just happening straight across the board. I’d say Pro Stock went a long time where it was just three or four people in a group and now it’s taken on the Winston Cup type of approach with the full-time shops and 12, 14, 15 people working on a full-time program. So yeah, that’s a big change.

So this inevitably forces some teams out, but is it encouraging at all to see Pro Stock still being taken seriously and growing into such an industry?

REHER: Well, I think that the racing itself, the actual act of doing the racing has advanced, but it doesn’t seem to me that the sport’s position in our fan base has changed a lot. The cost and the technology and all that has escalated, but we’re not racing in bigger stadiums; it hasn’t by any means had any kind of NASCAR metamorphosis.

I’ve been involved with NASCAR since 1980 and pretty closely involved since 1984, and I can remember when we first worked with Rick Hendrick that we’d leave our trailer at Hendrick Motorsports and it was just a couple of Butler buildings and a gravel parking lot on top of a hill. Then I was watching a 1984 tape of the NASCAR Richmond race on ESPN Classic and back then they were averaging 30-second pit stops and all the crews were wearing blue jeans, they had board stands and that plate they used in World War II for making temporary runways, a lot of the guardrail was made out of that, and they’ve advanced to where they became a major player at the stick-and-ball level.

But the drag racing kind of, from what I see as attention from fans and media, kind of stayed where it was. Winston was doing a pretty good job in the mid-‘80s when they were with IHRA/NHRA, when they were also with NASCAR, they were promoting every form of motorsport they were in. I think from my standpoint, I mean, I can’t give you official statistics, but I am a person who’s been going to the races for 35 years and we’ve gone along kind of flat in that respect.

That doesn’t mean that there’s not a business here, and we work hard on our business, but another reason for pulling back on the Pro Stock is we’re going to continue doing the engine development stuff. We’re not going to be going to the races, but that’s going to give us more time to work in the shop on more new products that are going to be good for our customers, the sportsman guys who have always been the backbone of Reher-Morrison. They’re kind of the backbone of drag racing. I mean, whether you’re watching Top Fuelers or not, there wouldn’t be a Jeg’s or a Summit if it wasn’t for the Sportsman racers. But that’s true for all forms of racing. I mean, if you want to talk circle-track racing, all those Friday and Saturday night dirt tracks and short asphalt tracks all over the country are the only thing that permits those manufacturers to exist, they sure don’t exist because there are 50 Cup cars in the world.

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