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: Are you a big supporter of the NHRA museum?

RL:  Yes I am. I think it’s a great thing. My daughters even bought me one of them plaques up there. They were trying to sell 1320 of them. So yes, I think it’s a big deal. I think preserving our drag racing history, someone has to do it. And who else better than NHRA? They were on the ground floor of almost all of this.

: In racing the Heritage Series, do you still get the same enjoyment and fulfillment from winning and running a 5.63 and being the quickest car out there? Does that still do anything for you?

RL: Oh yeah, that’s why I still do it. I like the competitiveness. I always had, I feel, first-class equipment, and it was up to me to get the results. And at time I did and at times I didn’t. This is no different. I’m fortunate enough that I have the equipment and at this point in time we have the quickest time. Like I said, the reason I like it is the competitiveness. I don’t think I’m a follower, trying to out think everybody. Anyway, that’s what drives me, I guess… to try and be the best.

: Is there any one car from all your racecars that you wish you still had?

RL: Yeah, maybe. Maybe.  That would be either the last Hawaiian Punch car I had, or the Hawaiian dragster I had that’s over in the museum in Italy. Those would be the only two. Now I know we have a repop of it, but it’s not like having the original vehicle.

: Have you gone to Italy and seen the car?

RL: No I haven’t, but that’s kind of on my bucket list.

: These days you’re tuning AA/FC’s that have some pretty restrictive engine rules. You currently have the quickest and fastest car to your credit. Do you enjoy tuning these cars as much as you did the big show cars?

RL: To me it’s all the same. The big show has certain rules just like we have here, and everybody has the same things, the same rules. I guess it’s like anything else: You want to be the fastest and the quickest whether it’s the big show, the little show, or the nostalgia show, you know? The bottom line is that having the fastest and quickest is one thing, but being able to win is a whole other ballgame, because the fastest and quickest car doesn’t always win.

: If you could make one rule change in AA/FC’s in the nostalgia series, or in NHRA’s fuel coupes, what would it be and why?

RL: Well at this point in time, I think the rules are pretty good, okay. I could say a lot of things I’d like to do would make the cars go quicker and faster, but whenever you do that, but any time you do that it’s gonna cost you more money. So I say, hey, leave the rules alone and give everybody a chance to figure it out, because I know you’re automatically going to find ways to make them run quicker and faster as it is. That’s the way it’s always been – so don’t change the rules. A lot of guys will say they need a hotter mag, or that they’d hurt less pistons if they had a bigger fuel pump.  Well yes you would, but then the cars would be going faster and you’d just hurt something else. It’s a never ending battle… been there, done that. It always goes to the weakest point and whenever you change something, whatever it is, it’ll find a weaker point and then pretty soon we’ll be like the big show. So don’t change the rules, leave it alone, and let everybody race.

: If you were handed an unlimited budget, tax-free, to go racing, what kind of racecar would you pick and who would drive it?

RL: I’m kinda digging this nostalgia thing, only because it’s not much pressure. But I guess if I had that much money, that pressure wouldn’t be there as much because I wouldn’t have to worry about a sponsor. So I don’t know. I’d either run a funny car or a top fuel car.  Who would drive it? Uh... I’d have to give that’s some thought. Off the top of my head now, I wouldn’t know. I’ve got some ideas, but I’d have to think a little more about it (laughing).

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