: So what was your budget in 1989?

NB: Geez. I want to say my budget was something like $450,000, something like that.

: You couldn’t win a world championship with that now.

NB: Yeah. We were taking money home from it too. I didn’t add that into it when I told you the money. We won $20,000 to win that race, so when I put that into my account… Whew. I wrote out checks to everybody, all my vendors, all the guys that were supplying us.

: Did you tune the cars?

NB: Yes. Well, Nicky Jr. Me and him were co-tune-up guys. Always. I had this big box and I handed it to him when he was like fourteen years old, I was like, “Okay, it’s your turn.” And he went and tuned it up and burned it up! I did tune it for two years when Nicky quit for two years over a little squabble we had over women and stuff like that. I didn’t want him to get married, and he didn’t want to listen to me, so he left me. He left me. So I’m like, “What the fuck do I do now?” I was leaning on him all the time.

So in  the beginning of the year in California, I rolled the car into a buddy of mine’s big yard in Southern California, like a big construction yard and he let me keep it there. I pulled in, I unloaded it, and I went through everything. I stood there, and the crew took the whole car apart. I went through each thing and made sure it was the way I wanted it now, since Nicky wasn’t with me anymore. And then I went and tuned it for two years, and we did pretty good. We finished eighth and ninth those two years in NHRA.

: What do you think about the spec rules they have now for fuel cars?

NB: Ah, I really don’t like it. I think that safety-wise, with the thousand foot thing, it’s the other way around. I think that’s a good thing. But it’s an unlimited class. Why are they telling me I can’t do this and that? You know, I can see doing certain regulations because it gets totally out of control, money takes over. I think that’s the only reason they should make the rule. If no one else can afford to do it, then I think there needs to be a rule made. Like, it was getting crazy with three spark plugs and all that. Yeah all right. But I don’t think they should limit the nitro or anything like that. I really don’t.

: You think thousand-foot racing is a good thing?

NB: Yeah, I really do. I think it was a good move. And you know, if they get to making longer tracks and want to move it back up to quarter mile then, my opinion, my feeling is they’re gonna blow them up real bad if they’re going that far again. There’s just no reason. Let’s face it: what are we talking about, 25, 30 mph? Who the hell cares? You know what I mean?

: We (Burk and DRO) lobbied hard for the thousand foot. We get a lot of hate mail for it now. I tell them, “I didn’t write the rules; I just made my opinion known.” As a spectator, or even as a racer, I don’t have any problem with it.

NB: It’s good watching. I think it is great.

: They ought to turn the scoreboards off.

NB: I was in on that! Remember I told you how good it was for me in the old days? If the track couldn’t hold it, they‘d shut the scoreboards off and start yelling.

: Fans can’t tell the difference between a 6.50 and a 6.20.

NB: Yeah.

End Part 1

In the next part of the interview Nick talks about his relationship with Wally Parks and Steve Gibbs, the future of the IHRA, nitro, Chevys and other things you can’t miss.