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: You raced NHRA for Wally Parks, AHRA President Jim Tice, and IHRA founder Larry Carrier. Which one do you think treated the racers and fans the best, and did the most to make drag racing a major league sport?

RL:I think each one brought something different to the table at different times. Larry Carrier, he brought it to qualifying, we never knew when we would run. We might run two pairs at night and in the morning and four pairs right at noon and we’d just sit there. But Larry Carrier would say, “All right. All the funny cars gonna run at 11 o’clock and all the dragsters run right after.” Or vice versa. At least then, when our sponsors asked us what time we were going to run, we could tell them. If you think about it, why didn’t NHRA come up with that? It took IHRA to do that. And then of course what can you say about the NHRA? They’re the most successful “HRA” going. So whatever they did wrong, it evidently didn’t affect them much. They must have done more right than wrong, I guess. Each one brought something different to the table.

: What did AHRA’s Jim Tice bring?

RL: One thing about Jim Tice, when we raced for him, we were all paid. They were all bought in shows.  A lot of times it was like that with IHRA when Larry Carrier first started. But with NHRA, the biggest thing they brought was, I feel, television time. That allowed us to go get sponsors to make this a more profitable business than what we were doing.

: is there any racer who, over the years, you wanted to beat more than any other racer?

RL: I don’t think so. I think they were all the same. Of course, whoever was the big guy at the time, that’s who you were gunning for more, and I hope that I was one of those guys, that guys were gunning for me.  But to me, when you put it on the line, it didn’t matter how many or what you came to the track with, you run what you brung and hope you brought enough. And I guess if you didn’t, you go back home and bring more next week. That’s my mentality.

: You’ve had a really amazing career. Is there any one thing that you’re most proud of?

RL: I would have to say that, having been in the field as long as I have, surviving the good and the bad. I feel that no matter what you do, there’s going to be good and bad, and if you enjoy what you do, it’s a lot easier to survive the bad times. The good times are always easy to survive no matter what you’re doing! But like I said, I think just being in it as long as I have is a pretty good accomplishment.

: For most of your career, people have known you for working with and racing funny cars. But you’ve great success with Top Fuel too, Do you have a preference?

RL: Not really. I think there’s a certain mentality about being successful no matter what it is, whether it’s running a funny car or dragster. Yes, I have more experience with a funny car, but I don’t think it would take me long to figure a dragster out. And now they have the computers, so if you pay attention to the things we have at our disposal nowadays, it shouldn’t be that hard to do.

: Your switch from dragsters to funny cars: Was that strictly a money issue?

RL: Basically yeah, in fact I already had a brand new dragster built for the next season when I decided to go funny car racing. What made me decide to go do it was that we would run our dragster one or two times a week, and these funny cars, they could run four or five times a week if you wanted to. You could run twice as many dates. At the time, that was how we made a living, by match racing, so that was my reason, at the time, to build a funny car.

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