DS: My history as a manufacturer in dealing with insurance companies, whether it be through workman’s comp, product liability insurance, or facility insurance, as problems come up, they certainly do come up to you and impact your operations. When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome became a big situation, they certainly came in and looked at Schumacher Electric’s operation and said we need to change the way our people were handling things. Or if you have back injuries in your facility, you have to change the way your people are lifting stuff, so, yes, they have impact in Schumacher Electric in all areas, saying “These things happen, you need to figure out a away to change that because this is going to continue to impact your cost.” So yes they will do that.

They don’t come in and mandate that you have to change that, but what mandates you to change that is the cost of the premium they’re going to charge you! And they do look at Schumacher Electric, my history dealing with them one on one, they talk to you about all those things. They send specialists in, they’ll send doctors in, they’ll send engineers in, come up with better chairs for the people to sit on.

DRO: So you think they are doing that with NHRA?

DS: I can only talk about Schumacher Electric and my experience. I assume, and my opinion would be that the insurance companies certainly have communicated with NHRA in reference to everything out here. The height of the stands, the lighting, surface. Not necessarily the racing surface, but the parking surface.

DRO: Do you think speed is an issue?

DS: I’m sure they’ve talked to NHRA about speed, about everything that can impact that insurance premium. I’m sure there are specialists that have come out and spoken to NHRA management about that. They don’t make them change it, but the premium dollars they’re paying makes them change it.

DRO: That makes sense. Has the cost of racing increased for you guys in the last six months or is it stabilized? Is it still three million more or less for a competitive Funny Car or Top Fuel operation?

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.