(Tim Marshall photo)

:  Why do you think Pro Mod will replace NHRA Pro Stock?

JL: Because when Pro Mods come up, the fans are into it. There’s lots of diversity, you’ve got blowers and turbos, and yeah, they (NHRA) are trying to have parity. You’ll never have it, but that’s fine too. NHRA has to pay attention to that issue in the class. They’re in the tower, they see the stands. I like Pro Mod now. There’s a great difference between driving it and tuning it. I get to feel my work now and I’m enjoying it. It’s impressive.

: So would just allowing the use of Electronic Fuel Injection in Pro Stock really make a difference?

JL: No, no. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that when they (NHRA) tried to put a cap on fuel injection, there was no reason to do it. Basically, Bill Jenkins summed it up. In Pro Stock, he told me, “We’re racing Harley-Davidsons.  Two valves per cylinder and a carburetor. I don’t think you could even buy a carburetor equipped car in 1993 or ’94. Unfortunately, I think the NHRA (being) on the West Coast is all about Top Fuel and Funny Car and I think they always have been. That’s never really going to change.

: With the cost of a Pro Stock motor and car, that also makes it a pretty expensive deal just to have a car that can even qualify for a sixteen car field then.

JL: It does. Look at Victor Cagnazzi’s program. He’s a good businessman. He took one of Greg Anderson’s guys (I really shouldn’t say this but I don’t care), he took one of Bill Jenkins’ guys, he took one of Stevie John’s and he took someone else and he started his own deal Mike Edwards hired Frank Iaconio when he started his own engine program, where did he go? Maybe he got one of Cagnazzi’s guys. That’s basically how it all went down.  On the other hand there is V. Gaines out of Colorado, the guys working for him are his guys. He’s been racing in Denver for a while and has got his own engine shop. Right now, you run Pro Stock by taking someone else’s engine guy and you start there. Jegs’ deal, and I don’t know how much fact there is to this rumor, but I heard he spent $250,000 for an engine. That’s not a bad investment, because all you have to do is take the engine apart and send the heads to Alan Johnson, have him digitize them, and then make you as many sets of heads as you want. Then you’ve got a good starting point.

: How do the Pro Stock engines of today compare to the engines you had when you were driving and racing with Bill Jenkins?

JL: The technology today is so much different. The first Jenkins motor I had made 980 horsepower, it shifted around 8700, 8800. Now they’re making 1500 horsepower engines that shift at 11,000. That’s an awesome thing, 11,000 RPM in 500 cubic inches.