: A few years back, Sport Compact racing was touted as the “savior” of drag racing and a class that was going to bring a younger crowd into the sport. Despite the efforts of the NHRA and NOPI, just to name two, the fact is that Sport Compact racing never achieved its initial promise. Why didn’t it work and how do you see the class going forward? 

CW: It was simply too much too fast. NHRA should have stayed out of it and left NOPI and the individual tracks to develop the Sport Compact segment of the sport. We individual track operators can screw it up just fine without their help. 

As it stands now the premier Sport Compact event is in Atco, New Jersey. Joe Sway has a good recipe for his Pan American Nationals and even here in Florida I hear a lot of talk about it. I could be mistaken, but I think Joe has a contingent of cars from Puerto Rico brought in at a significant expense and it's a Puerto Rico versus the USA theme. He packs the place, and good for him.

Where is the class going? I don't know. I know where WE are going with it and it isn't the same deal Atco is doing. I'm going to respect his efforts and I'm not planning on doing a copy of Joe's race. We first tried the "import cars" at our World Street Nationals event back in 1996, and we ran them for a couple of years. The class just had no growth and we quit running it and felt we were just ahead of our time.
Two years ago we invited eight good cars as an exhibition class and they put on a good show. Last year we doubled the win money and opened the show to allow anyone meeting the rules to try and qualify. We had 27 cars show up for that eight-car field. This year we are going "all in" with a $30,000 GUARANTEED cash purse for only two classes and to prove it we stacked the cash on the table during one of Magda Iturrino's radio shows a few weeks ago.

But, our top class is heads-up for $10,000 to win. Those that don't qualify in the Extreme 16 automatically revert to the Super Pro class which will be run bracket style for $5,000 to win. No "putt-putt" cars in this deal either as 10.99 is the maximum dial in. We'll use our World Street Nationals format with free souvenir shirts and tags for all entries, lots of great trophies and awards jackets, qualifier and participant decals payoffs in real cash and we're going to treat the press so good they will be running over each other to give us great coverage. {Ed. Note: the race has been run. See our coverage in DRO.}

: You’ve been an NHRA track operator of tracks on both coasts. What do you see for the NHRA going forward? Could you comment on both the professional classes and the sportsman classes. 

CW: If the number of events isn't reduced we will continue to see a decline in participation across the board. Period!

: Recently one of your fellow track operators, Steve Earwood, who owns and operates Rockingham Dragway, wrote an opinion piece in DRO saying with the cost of track prep skyrocketing he thought that racers might have to get used to less track prep and learn how to adjust. How do you feel about that? 

CW: We have two tractors with track groomers on the back. One of the tractors also has a rotating broom on the front. We have a PowerBoss track scrubber that will vacuum up liquid and has a series of propane torches mounted on it to help "finish dry" the track after a clean up, an Advance Captor track sweeper with squeegee and vacuum, a small fleet of gasoline powered "Billy Goat" blowers, about five "weed burner" torches mounted to propane tanks, a new GMC safety truck with oil absorbent and brooms on it, etc., etc.  We order traction compound five to twenty drums at a time. How do I feel about that? I feel that once again my good friend, Steve Earwood, has hit the nail on the head about the cost of track prep skyrocketing. But, racers don't "have to" get used to anything. I'm afraid the only way to get out of spending so much money on track prep is to simply get out of the business.