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LB: I don’t feel that shortening the track to 1,000 feet has affected attendance at all. Did it when the change was made? I’m sure it did, because there were and are some hardcore that want quarter mile. Well, we all get hardcore about diets or drinking water, or whatever the heck, and we all fall back into our old patterns, as I’m sure the hardcore fans have accepted and returned to the sport as they could afford it. We’re in real tough economic times.

DRO: Do you feel that NHRA’s investment in PR programs -- I think they have two now -- to try to promote the sport and bring in new sponsors have done the professional teams any good at all?

LB: Well, I know that the United Association program [Prudhomme’s new sponsor for 2010] was put together by NHRA and IMG.. I know they’re working on a lot of other things right now. The last thing that any of us want to see right now is Kenny Bernstein to not be out here come 2010. Hopefully something will happen to where Kenny is able to return to the sport. And we need more teams out there. More sponsored teams that represent their sponsors, that represent the sport at the highest level … if the IMG guys can help Kenny or any other team get a sponsor they would be worth whatever they cost.

DRO: Okay. What the NHRA is doing currently? Do you think the money is well spent? Is it working? I mean so far they have delivered one new sponsor.

Don Schumacher: I don’t know how much money they’re (the PR firms) costing the NHRA. We (Don Schumacher Racing) have not gotten results we can measure. Hopefully we will have additional results sooner rather than later, but I cannot speak to it. I am not negotiating with a sponsor through IMG or NHRA right now for 2010, 11, 12. All of my programs, realistically, I put together myself and with my internal people. So I can’t speak to how they’re working with Bernstein or Prudhomme or Kalitta or really any of the other teams out there. Herbert or Wilkerson or any of them. Hopefully there’s numerous things that are happening not only for fuel cars, but also for Pro Stock teams.

DRO: So the answer is….

DS : No, no, no. I can’t speak to it because I’m not involved intimately in that part of it with IMG.

DRO: So, as a group do the nitro team owners sit down and talk about sponsors or problems?

DS: That’s the thing about PRO and out here at the races. None of us (team owners, crew chiefs) wants to share our little secrets, this is coming or that’s coming. So no we do NOT discuss, “Oh, I have two new sponsors that I’m working on now…” Because if you did your phone would ring off the hook. So we do not share that. We all have high hopes and expectations for what IMG is going to be able to do for us. Probably one of the biggest concerns I have as a nitro team owner out there, is that John Force Racing has a separate relationship with IMG as well. So does Joe Gibbs. So when IMG is looking to put a program together for ABC Company and they have a contract with John Force Racing, do they take it first to John Force, or do they take it to Tim Wilkerson or Connie Kalitta or Don Schumacher? I don’t know.

DRO: Let’s talk about slowing down the cars. Tell me, Lee, what would be the cheapest, most efficient way to slow the cars down? Easiest to administrate, to fix. If we need to slow the cars down, what would the solution be? If they came to you, said, “Lee, you’re the guy. You’ve got five teams you’re overseeing, tell us what to do,” what would you say?

LB: First of all, I don’t really believe the cars need to be slowed down.

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