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DRO: How would you feel if NHRA came to you and said, “Look the funny car bodies are unrecognizable to anybody but you guys. Next year, we’re going to make you guys have body lines that are recognizable as that brand.” Would you have any trouble doing that?

LB: It’s just the expense of changing our current funny car body airshell that you buy from either Roush or Metalcrafters. It’s about $40,000 for today’s autoclave carbon fiber bodies, so you take that, you have to mount it, put the sheet metal work in it, a square on it, windows in it, paint on it; by the time you get a race-ready body today, you’re looking at sixty, seventy thousand dollars. Each team has about three bodies or so, it would be a huge expense to say “These things aren’t recognizable, they need to be changed,” so again, it’s not the right economic things to do.

DRO: Without a GM presence, and with Ford being the only ones supplying their own bodies….

LB: That’s a minor problem.

DRO: But do you see guys running their bodies longer now, instead of having a new body by Roush and designed by GM engineers every year, a new Pontiac….

LB: You’re not going to see that development because it’s such an expensive thing to do to design a body, to build the molds and produce the body. It’s a very expensive thing to do. Team owners aren’t going to fund that out of pocket; it’s always going to be funded by the car companies. So you’re not going to see a lot of body development. The fact is, the quality of the bodies being produced today is so good that they can be run multiple seasons on the same body.

DRO: So we’re not likely to see as many small changes that they’ve made in the wind tunnels, to try and make them faster. We may not see that kind of development any more?

LB: You don’t have that kind of development any more just because of the economic situation with the car companies.

DRO: Let’s talk nostalgia for a minute. Fast Jack Beckman got out there and turned her over at Sacramento. How do you feel about nostalgia drag racing? Does it appeal to you at all?

LB: I really don’t have an opinion about it. To be honest with you, me personally, I enjoy the high technology end of the NHRA drag racing, and when I’m not involved with that, I have other passions in life, and I do those rather then looking at the nostalgia drag racing. Not saying anything negative about it, I understand that the guys involved with it, and I have some very close friends, guys like Jerry Ruth, and they have a ball doing it. It’s a lot of fun doing it. So I don’t really have an opinion on it.

Don Schumacher, who had left the room, returns.

DRO: Don, where you having a DRO Meeting?

DS: No it was Ray Alley (PRO President)

DRO: Was it about a PRO meeting?

DS: [Laughing] Well, if we have a PRO meeting, all it is is a bitch session in a conference room. We’ll screw all this other stuff, I’ll rent the room and buy the coffee and doughnuts, and we can all go bitch to each other, then leave and go do our thing.

LB: Did you tell Ray Alley that his opinion shouldn’t even be on the table? That he represents PRO and….

DS: Well, I told Ray Alley that from the day that we( PRO) hired him, that he’s not a team owner; he runs the board, and that’s the way it is. He certainly needs total discretion to make decisions when he needs to make a decision, but it’s not something, it’s an opinion in. There’s safety things that he looks at and he needs to be able to make a decision that something is okay or it isn’t okay. And if he’s unwilling to do that, if he has to come and get board members to do that, why do we need him?