: Do you feel that the future of all big "street car" races such as the Shakedown in E-Town, the Big Dog races at Piedmont Dragway in South Carolina, and the World Street Car SuperNationals in Vegas are in doubt? Do you think they will continue to be successful and, most importantly, can they grow in size and stature? 

CW: Look at pictures of the grandstands during some of the events you are talking about. For sure the racing is good, but the spectator crowds are weak. One has to consider in the case of the Shakedown and the Street Car SuperNationals, those events are held at tracks that already have a significant schedule of big events to compete against.  Each big event will take away from the others to some degree. With continued big entry fees and heavy sponsorship, the events may still be worth doing for some time. Will they ever fill the stands with paying spectators? Probably not. In my opinion, having some classes compete on the 1/8 mile and some on the 1/4 mile at the same event is a mistake. Having too many classes that look alike is not good either.

Piedmont is a different story. Local flavor and local heroes make me feel like the Big Dog deal will be around AND be successful for quite a while. And too, this series is promoted by the people operating the track. Jim Turner and Bob Harris have worked hard at the Big Dog Shootout and it shows.

A track operator has to make his promotions fit in with his overall recipe for the season. Usually a "suitcase promoter" -- and I say that with no malice intended -- is only interested in his event and more than likely doesn't give a hoot about the rest of the season.

: As a track promoter as well as the promoter of what has been the premier “street car” race, can you give us a State of the Nation type overview of street car events and why they seem to be losing fan and racer appeal? 

CW: It may not be fair to say they are losing racer appeal. Why? There are a lot of cars out there right now. And one doesn't have to spend a lot of money to become competitive in a class because if they wait long enough a class will be created for them they may be competitive in, at least for a while. If it isn't a new class based on some new, different, or smaller tire, there's always Open Comp, which is nothing more than a bracket race. And, of course there are always the index classes. Index classes are run with both cars receiving a side-by-side countdown of the tree. But, one has to get there first without having a foul start, crossing a strip boundary or running quicker than the index to win. That kind of sounds like a bracket race with both cars having the same dial in, doesn't it? 

Having one index class like Dave (Hance) had at the Shakedown this year is probably the best formula. And, having a ¼-mile index of 8.50 is reasonable. That is quick enough to be exciting and the cars are probably in the 160-mph range while maintaining a good "street" look. I like them a lot. 

Fan appeal? That takes ADVERTISING to get paying spectators. Radio, television, magazines, outdoor billboards, ads on good performance-based web sites, a good track web site, mail-outs, posters in stores, mass text messages, Facebook, etc. etc. Buy what you need for advertising first. Then work on getting the free stuff.

: You have been a lifelong Stock/Super Stock racer as well as a track operator. What is your take on the future of those classes especially in light of the new factory involvement by Ford, Chrysler, and soon Chevy. 

CW: The current crop of factory-built race cars are a plus for sure. It creates brand interest and will probably increase sales of the more streetable versions that are available in the dealers' showrooms. That being said, I'm not so optimistic about there being a bright outlook for Stock and Super Stock in general. I think I know some things that can extend the life of these stock-appearing classes some at divisional and national events. But does NHRA even need these classes? I love Stock and Super Stock. I own two of them now and I’m building another. Doing it more for the pride of ownership than anything else.