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DRO: I want to ask you about some things that used to be hot-button issues, though we don’t seem to have this issue anymore. Have you heard anything about the shortage of nitro? Since the great nitro boondoggle or whatever you want to call it, have we got any problems now with having enough nitro for everyone to be able to buy it?

DS: There’s been plenty of nitro all along. NHRA signed a new three-year contract with VP from what I’ve read, which makes it a moot point. You know, it’s a shame what happened, and teams are paying way too much today for nitromethane based on what it costs.

DRO: What would you say is a fair price with a reasonable markup to the supplier for a 53-gallon drum of 100% nitromethane?

DS: I believe NHRA should buy the nitromethane and supply it out here because of the cost of the product, concern for the quality, concern for what the supplier does with the product.

DRO: So you think NHRA should buy it and give it to the teams for free?

DS: Not give it, they should buy it and sell it to the teams.

DRO: They should sell it to the teams.

DS: And I’m not going to give out the pricing because I intimately know what it costs from China, and what it costs to get it here to the United States. The teams are paying a lot more for nitromethane than they should be paying for it.

DRO: Who do you think could give me a reasonable number? In other words, you can, I guess, be saying what we should be charging for nitromethane. You and I have had a lot of conversations about this, but like with insurance, I think somebody should say, “This is about what you should pay for it, because this is about what it costs to import it into the States.” Instead of arbitrary numbers. I’m going to put you on the button.

DS: There’s a lot more to it than just import it into the United States. I mean there is the part with Homeland Security, but there’s also the fact that I have a container that’s getting ready to go on the water to come from China to the United States. I’ve already paid for that container. I’ve already spent my money. It’s in a bank in China, 100 percent. So what is that money worth? I then pay for the freight and insurance to bring it over here. Then I pay to ship it from Long Beach, California, back to Indianapolis and I have people handle it at each of those stages.

DRO: I understand all that.

DS: I’m a businessman. I can put those numbers together based on what Schumacher Electric and Don Schumacher Racing feel.

DRO: Okay, I’ll put this one down as a ‘no comment.’

DS: I can truthfully say that $970 a drum is hundreds of dollars more than it should be.

DRO: Okay. Let’s talk about insurance for a minute. For at least the thirty-plus years I’ve been involved in drag racing, many times when NHRA has made a decision, they use the insurance companies as a scapegoat. It’s often said unofficially that the insurance companies are worried about speed, the insurance companies are worried about this and that, so we had to make this rule. I’ve done some insurance company research, and a insurance adjuster, salesman, and racer who was in that business for over twenty years told me insurance companies work off actuarial tables and reality, not potential problems. Do you think insurance companies are putting pressure on NHRA to slow your cars down? Slow the motorcycles down, lengthen the tracks, any of that? Do you really think they’re doing that, or are they just saying, “This is how much your premium is gonna be, given the parameters we have.”

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