Volume X, Issue 10, Page 102

: But it seems that the ADRL still goes to new tracks every year. Why is that?

KN: To answer your question, we’ve gone to so many different tracks for two reasons. One, because we had to, and second, because we’re trying to find the tracks that best suit what we do from a business standpoint. For example, it’s very hard for a track to partner with the ADRL if they don’t own their concessions, since concession sales is such a huge piece of revenue generated at ADRL events. You know on Saturday alone at Houston Motorsports Park, they did over $187,000 in concessions sales and if you talk to their food and beverage manager he’ll tell you -- but I’ll quote from him directly: “I’ve worked events from Pomona to Gainesville and everywhere in between, and that was the largest food service day I’ve ever done.”

So it makes a lot of sense for a track that owns their food concessions to have an ADRL event from a profit perspective. If they don’t, it’s an obstacle, but there’s still some great financial benefits and minimal risk involved in holding an ADRL national event.

: Since basically you’re a neophyte in being a sanctioning body president, and you’ve just been dealing with track owners and operators over the last three years, how is that working? How is your relationship with those folks?

KN: I think there’s a lot of apprehension initially because we do so many things differently. For instance we are a pro-only show and we give away tickets. There’s a track owner/operator that is now desperately trying to get an ADRL national event, but two years ago, when I wanted to go there, they told me there’s no way you can run a drag race and entertain people with only, at the time, three classes of cars. I guess their feeling was if you don’t have six hundred cars at a drag strip, you can’t have a national event. Well, we have proven you don’t need that many cars to put on a great spectator show.

: Is the ADRL getting the respect of the track owners and operators now?

KN: I think that’s the biggest obstacle we’ve had to overcome. I think people think I take it too personally sometimes and maybe I do, but it’s only because my staff works so hard to put these events on. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, between the events, from the time we get there until the time we leave, and there’s so many things going on in other markets while we’re at events, all leading up to a successful race. I just will not be treated like a second-class citizen anymore. I mean, we are still relatively new, still have a lot to prove, and we are by no means near the top of the mountain, but we work hard enough and I am not going to have my staff or my racers treated like second-class citizens by any track owner/operators or their staff.

You’ll notice when our schedule is released in the fall, that there are a few tracks that had 2008 races that are off the schedule for 2009 and it’s not because of financial considerations; it’s not for any other reason than that this organization is not going to be treated like a second-class citizen. The ADRL is my baby but it’s also the passion of a lot of other people, and that includes our racers and their families and wives, and everyone involved in putting one of these races on. So we’re going to go where we’re wanted and are treated fairly and respectfully for what we bring. Fortunately, there are a lot of tracks that do want us. For the tracks that didn’t treat us with the respect I feel we deserve, no hard feelings, I wish them the best of luck, but you know what? They can pick up a free ticket to an ADRL event near them.

: (Laughing) Do you see any more significant changes coming to the way the ADRL is run?

KN: I think that for us to continue to grow and for us to realize our true potential, we need to add some key staff members in some key areas. A lot of people don’t know, but the American Drag Racing League right now has four full-time employees. That’s it. Now those four full-time employees, myself included, work a lot of hours and do the work of forty employees, but for us to continue to grow, there are a lot of areas of this company that are going to need a lot of attention. 

I think that first and foremost from a competition standpoint, Bubba’s (Bubba Corzine, ADRL Director of Competition) done a great job as a part-time employee, but our goal is to have Bubba as a full-time employee for 2009. I think the biggest change for the ADRL is going to be having more bodies involved.

And I think that you’ll be shocked at a few of the new tracks we’ll be going to next year. We know that we have to continue to grow, and as we continue to grow, we seem to outgrow some of the facilities that are currently on our schedule. The reason we’re not going back to a few of the facilities we went to this year was good old-fashioned disrespect.

: Any chances of you raising the purses for 2009?

KN: Funny you should ask. I just came back from a meeting in New York City with the Al-Anabi people and we are indeed going to raise the purse in all of the classes significantly thanks to those folks. You can read all about it on the ADRL web magazine.