So how has that changed your business?

Kaase: Well, now we’re into that and money-wise probably most of it is in the parts. The labor on it is money, but the parts, it’s all mark-up. So if you do a hundred-thousand in labor and a hundred-thousand in parts, the hundred-thousand in labor is worth a lot more because in parts that might represent only $20- or $30-grand or so that you actually make, but you can make more from the labor. But there’s a lot more that can go wrong, too, and we’re finding everything that can go wrong (laughs).

You wouldn’t believe some of the cylinder heads. If they do manage to get there undamaged, they’re not always perfect. There may be a little imperfection in the casting or something and it may not impact the way it runs, but they’re coming back. It’s tough to please some of these guys, but with the Internet you have to do them right because it’ll be all over before you know it. If you outright did somebody wrong or had a real bad attitude about things, they’ll crucify you online by six o’clock.

But that’s okay, it’s all part of it and it keeps everybody honest. I mean, we’re as honest as they come; if there’s something that goes out of here and it’s not right, it’s absolutely a mistake and we’ll do whatever it takes to make things right.

Would you say your affiliation with Nicholson gave you the confidence and credibility to venture out on your own as a professional engine builder, or did you feel that way anyway?

Kaase: We got a good bit of credit from the stuff I was doing before, but I really met a lot of people when I worked with Nicholson. We started running good the minute I started working for him, but it was one of those deals where I really didn’t bring a lot of information along with me that helped him. What it was is he had good stuff but it would just never stay together, so then we got it to live a little better.

I remember Wally Booth, he took me aside one day and said, ‘Listen, Dyno, he’s a diamond in the rough. That guy’s as good as there is and if you can just get him pointed right and keep everything organized, you’ll do really good together.’ It was just a 30-second conversation, but it stayed with me the whole three years we raced together. And once Dyno did good, I got a lot of credit for it, whether I deserved it or not.

But just traveling around with him was great. We’d go down to Crower and have lunch with Bruce Crower, and we went to Mickey Thompson’s place and he took us up and showed us his secret attic with all this neat stuff. It was cool and something you’d never get to do on your own.

When you opened for business did you start right away building mountain motors?

Kaase: Actually when I was working for Dyno we started building some pretty big stuff for match racing, but really when I quit working for him what really got me into the big engines was doing some stuff in 1980 for Rickie Smith in his Oak Ridge Boys Mustang. They had stuff that Rousch had built, but they kept having trouble with it so they got hold of us and we did some work on it and they started doing a little better and running real, real fast. That was when everybody was getting into the big engines and everything was kind of unlimited and from then on I just stayed with the big engines. The racing was pretty tough, but it wasn’t as tough as 500-inch Pro Stock, the smaller stuff.