Volume X, Issue 5, Page 86

: With the success of the March Meet and the Reunions, these events are held up for comparison.

GIBBS: Those events are fine, but if it was easy everybody would be doing it. We have seen different nostalgia groups come and we have seen them go for a variety of reasons, but it is certainly not a gold mine. Certain tracks have done better at it than others, but I think that the perception of a lot of people is that the money just comes rolling through the front gate and it stays in somebody’s pocket. They are not out there the other fifty-one weeks of the year when you are trying to keep the facility from being taken over by the weeds.

Running a racetrack is a difficult thing. You don’t see a lot of new ones being built and you see some of the old ones going away. It is a tough deal to keep these tracks open. A lot of the racers can gripe about rules, they can gripe about money and other issues, but when you get right down to it, probably one of the biggest problems they face is just simply having a place to race. You can have one of the nicest hot rods in the world, but if you haven’t got a place to run it then it’s not going to do you much good. The racers and the track operators need to work together to try to keep the places healthy and alive. A place to race is a major issue, particularly in this part of the world.

: In your extended experience in drag racing what is it in a drag racer’s behavior that has remained constant over the years?

GIBBS: I don’t know if it has remained exactly the same, but I think that many of them are focused basically on their own situation, their own pit area, their own class. I think it is kind of hard for them to see much beyond their own particular set of needs. However, there are a lot of conscientious racers out there that have probably run different categories that maybe have a better perspective on the overall thing rather than somebody who has run one class for their whole life. To run one of these things successfully you need to be a fanatic, you really need to be consumed by your car and trying to kick the other guy’s ass, and I think that is what probably drives most racers, especially in the heads-up categories – they want to win, beat the other guy and beat him bad, and that has probably always held true.

Sometimes it would be nice if they could stand back a little bit and realize that the guy with the smaller class car, the slower car, has his set of needs too, and his interests may affect what you do for everybody. But overall, drag racers are a great bunch of people. I’ve made my living off of drag racing and dealing with drag racers and I’ll take them over just about any group of people I have ever run across.

: What do you think your legacy will be? How would you like to be remembered?

GIBBS: Well, I hope it’s a while before they have to start thinking in those terms, but, well… the guy did as good a job as he could, he tried to be fair, he tried to help out the cause, leave the sport a little better than it was when he showed up. I think I have accomplished quite a bit of that over the years – I don’t think there’s a whole lot of guys who would have me on the “bad guy” list. I guess just basically that, hey, the guy – he did OK.

: Two last questions, what kind of music is there in your iPod?

GIBBS: I don’t have an iPod yet, but there’s some country, older style country like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash kind of country. Some classical too, certain classic music I love just listening to. Nice music, Forties music, Fifties music. I just like good music.

: If you could have or drive any kind of racecar what would it be?

GIBBS: Oh boy, I don’t know. For me to personally drive? I don’t know, I think I have lived my life without being in the racecars. That’s a tough one, but it’d probably be something I’d put one of my grandsons in and let them make the choice of the class. I really love them all; there’s lots of good cars. I am in awe of the current cars, the technology that goes in to it. I still have a soft spot for the cars of the ‘60s. I guess if I could get in one car and make one run down the quarter mile it’d probably be in Art Chrisman’s Hustler 1. You know, blazin’ the tires from start to finish. I’d do it one time and then retire.

Check out Part One of the interview here.

 

Recent Stories