Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 4, Page

  Well, the fact is that there aren't any foreign cars. Most of the cars that we are talking about are built in the U.S. by American workers. This strange idea that these cars aren't American-made because they don’t' say Ford or Chevy or Mopar on the front is ludicrous.

One last thing about classes, I've heard rumors that IHRA  may be thinking about allowing turbocharging into Pro Modified. Any chance of that?

Polburn:  We are considering it. I went to Mike Baker and said, “Mike I think this would be cool, but you're the guy that has to monitor it. You're the guy that has to come up with the rules to make it worth while, so it could be either your heaven or your nightmare.”  So Mike has  taken that project on to see if that's doable and, without committing to anything, we think it is doable. So, I'll put all the pressure on Mike Baker and if he can come up with the rules, I would love to give it a shot. 

   More and more now, we hear the upper management and CEO's of racing sanctioning bodies refer to racing as entertainment and less as racing. How does this philosophy affect your employees in the basic operation of your sanctioning body now?

Polburn: That they think they are in the entertainment business?


Polburn:  They love it because everybody understands that our future depends on a ticket buyer. That ticket buyer wants to be entertained and so whether we add a music element or whether we add another nitro element -- I keep using the word content, but that's really what it's all about -- the more entertainment content we can add to a particular show at a responsible price, is the way we are going to grow our business. Actually, with us now being a part of Live Nation, what we originally thought perhaps might be a negative has become a huge positive.

  If you look at the IHRA national events as an entertainment program does it alter the way you run the race? Do you have any problem changing the traditional way a drag race is run to make it more entertaining?

Polburn:   Live Nation and its CEO, Charlie Mancuso, and Evan Knoll know we’re in the entertainment business. We all feel there is no reason why we can't conduct a more entertaining race than we do, But that doesn’t mean we are going to change the eMax series into a circus.  I still hear it from the racers; “I know you're going to turn this  (IHRA national events) into match race madness. I know you're going to have a 48-car jet car eliminator. I know you're going to have stunt men crashing into each other." And it makes me laugh. They're giving me ideas for another series.  It's not going to be another eMax series, so we will always be in the racing business, but there's no reason we can't take racing and turn it around to make it more entertaining for the fans.

  You mentioned Charlie Mancuso. Obviously he was with Clear Channel. Did he move to Live Nation?

Polburn:  Let me just explain. The Live Nation deal has been portrayed everywhere and portrayed wrongly. The IHRA was a Clear channel company. Clear Channel spun off their entertainment division to a brand new company (Live Nation).  So, we now have nothing to do with Clear Channel anymore. We are a brand new company, with a brand new CEO, a brand new president. So anybody that was with Clear Channel Entertainment before, is with Live Nation now.  Charlie Mancuso was president of Clear Channel Motorsports, he's now president of Live Nation Motorsports. We were a part of Clear Channel Motorsports and now we are a part of Live Nation Motorsports. People still think we have a Clear Channel connection, but the fact is we don't. We are a completely separate company.

  So, there is no cross over on the administrative level between what goes on at Clear Channel and what goes on at Live Nation? 

Polburn: None. Zero. Although we pick up the phone and ask for favors from our old Clear Channel buddies. 

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