« PREV. PAGE NEXT PAGE »

DS: With the impact of the economy, everyone is working real hard to control the costs, and I would have to say that in the last six to nine months, since we went to a thousand foot, costs have stabilized and not increased as it has in the past. We all continue to invest in technology and new things, that’s research and development; we leave that out of it. But as far as pulling a race car up to the starting line, yeah, you have some labor increases and I have workman’s comp increases, insurance increases, those things have gone up, but overall our gas costs have gone down, our diesel costs have come down, hotel costs seem to have stabilized because of the softness of the travel industry. So, yes, it’s kind of stabilized, and three million dollars, depending on the assets you put together. That’s not going to include a hospitality program, that’s not going to include a show car program, that’s not going to include a PR specialist. It’s not going to include some of the things that are included in some of these programs.

DRO: Okay, I want to get each of you to answer this one for me. Given all that we’ve talked about, where do you guys want to race? Do you want to stay at the thousand foot or go back to the quarter mile?

LB: Thousand foot.

DRO: When you’ve been able to talk to your peers out here, do you feel that most of the teams would rather remain on the thousand foot, or would they rather go back to a quarter mile?

LB: I believe the majority of teams out here want to stay thousand foot.

DRO: Okay, now the $64,000 question: Can you give me a percentage figure, or even a dollar amount that it has saved the average team owner by not racing quarter mile?

LB: It has to have saved us in engine parts, probably fifteen to twenty percent in just raw engine parts, because you get more runs out of the crankshaft, out of parts.

DRO: That’s a significant savings.

LB: Yes, but the reality is that as time goes by, the scientists that we call crew chiefs have and will find more ways of producing horsepower, and the cost, part-wise, is going to return to what it was when we were running quarter mile.

DRO: As one very good HOF crew chief said when they made the original rule change, “Two or three months and we’ll be throwing bombs at each other again, so it doesn’t make too much difference.”

LB: So it may be just a temporary savings for a temporary period, I don’t know.

DRO: Would you be able to continue to show savings of tire use and engine part use, or are you going to continue to step it up until you wear them out again in the same amount of time?

LB: When you’re in a sport that success is based on winning, when you’re a crew chief, you can’t focus in on the expenses, you focus in on the success, and you let the team owner worry about the expense.

DRO: Do you miss being a crew chief on a car?

LB: I miss it because I’m a very competitive person. We were racing in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, and I remember the year prior to that, final round, and I’m there with Antron Brown, and I look over at Alan Johnson and Tony Schumacher, and we’re getting ready to start our engines, and that feeling you have, that I brought forth my A game, he brought out his A game, let’s see who’s the best here. That’s a particular high that’s hard to describe, and even though we’ve won a total of, what, six races this year, four Funny Car wins and two Top Fuel dragster wins and I’ve been right there on the starting lines, I don’t get that same high. I have a feeling of success and I’m very proud of the organization, but I don’t get that same high that I got being a crew chief.

DRO: Gentlemen, I think we’ll wrap it up with that. Thank you both.

DS. Did you get everything you need? Do you have any more questions? No? Well then, I guess we are done.