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: Is an IHRA race a more balanced show?

JH:Absolutely. Top Sportsman and Top Dragster don’t take away from the Super Gas, Super Comp, or Super Street classes.  What they do is give a racer the opportunity to, if he doesn’t want to do throttle stop racing anymore, race where a throttle stop isn’t needed.  As it stands now with NHRA, if you want to get out of Super Gas or Super Comp, the next thing that you can get into is Comp Eliminator, and Comp Eliminator to a lot of people doesn’t make sense. It’s either that or alcohol funny car or dragster....

: And that’s a giant leap.

JH: That’s a huge leap. So Top Sportsman, Top Dragster is the key and the answer to NHRA, and if they would just pull the plug and make it so that at every national event you’d have the opportunity to run the class, and if they’d open up the field, I think it would really enhance NHRA sportsman racing.

: There seems to be more independent sanctioning bodies other than the NHRA trying to attract sportsman racers. Bodies such as the PSCA, WCHRA, and the Heritage series, plus big money bracket races. What’s your take on that splintering of the drag racing pie?

JH: I think what’s happening is a lot of individuals see the void and the necessity of having a world-class bracket racing program in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster. And in the wake of waiting for NHRA to step up and lead the program everyone’s asking for, different associations are trying to make it happen themselves. So I think it’s just a matter of if NHRA’s not going to do it, someone will.

: It sounds like it’s a matter of taking care of your customer.

JH: Again, everything that we do is customer based. Give the customer what they’re asking for.

: Are NHRA national events still the most prestigious for sportsman racers to win?

JH: Absolutely. You have the almighty Wally and some people have raced for thirty or forty years and never won the Wally.  It’s very prestigious to win it. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the World Finals in IHRA, so I’ve got one of the Ironmans. Very prestigious, that and my National Championship trophy are very dear to me. Those two are still the best. But without a doubt, if you win an NHRA national event, there’s a lot more ‘atta boys’ that come along with that. Not to take anything away from any other championship.

: Do you think that the divisional structure, the seven divisions, has outlived its usefulness?

JH: I think what it does, with the grading points system they have, is it allows the guy that goes out and runs at the divisional level for an opportunity to race at the National level. Because they start with the points at grade eight, which means that the previous year you were at eight divisional races racers that support the divisional level get the first shot at entering the national level.

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