: What are you doing here at the Street Car Super Nationals driving a Pro Mod car?

Joe Lepone Jr: For the last seven years I’ve been tuning and teaching people to drive nitrous cars both in the states and overseas. Now I’ve got an opportunity, I met a man named Darrell Hubbard, he’s from Palm Desert (CA). He had an engine and a car and we put a deal together and I started driving again.

: What do you see for the future of races like the Street Car SuperNationals?

JL: This is a lot of fun, you know? I mean, there were 24 racers who didn’t qualify for the 32 car field. The thing I like is the fans here. I’ve been to a lot of different places in the last thirty years, and Las Vegas has great fans. They (track management) do an excellent job of promoting the track, safety, and track prep. I’ve got to give him (Chris Blair) a lot of credit for the level of organization at this racer and (promoter) Mel Roth puts on a really great show.

: What’s the last year you ran an NHRA Pro Stock Car?

JL: It was ten years ago in 2001. I drove Larry Morgan’s Pro Stock car at the NHRA race at Memphis.

: What is your take on the current situation and health of the NHRA  Pro Stock Class today?

JL: I don’t think it’s going to be around for long, to be honest with you. I was offered a deal two weeks ago to drive and tune a (NHRA Pro Stock) car and I turned it down. I think that, in the ‘90s, Pro Stock was Pro Stock, but with the NHRA (and I probably shouldn’t be saying this) we had Oldsmobile and Pontiac and Chevrolet and big money coming in. But now it seems like Ford is the only manufacturer directly involved in Pro Stock now. (Ed note: Chrysler does have two factory-backed Pro Stock teams) , they (NHRA Pro Stock teams) are driving cars that are five years old. There is no Pontiac, there is no Cobalt, I really can’t see any future for it. I think NHRA’s keeping it where it is now has almost destroyed the class. In 1990, we wanted to go with fuel injection, but NHRA didn’t like that. You can’t even buy a car without fuel injection now! I’m not downing Pro Stock, I think it’s amazing. They shift those cars at 11,000 RPM now! That’s an amazing feat, and I’m not taking anything away from Pro Stock. They’re the cream of the cream when it comes to running eight-cylinder engines. But I’ve been in the stands at Indy this year and Charlotte, and when the Pro Stock comes up, the stands empty. I think Pro Mod will be the next Pro Stock.