: How did the ADRL become available for you to buy it?

KN: You know, it’s strange. I’ve been thinking about that for the last month. Just before Halloween we got a cease and desist letter from the ADRL’s lawyers saying they’d heard that Jessica and I or a combination thereof were starting a drag racing series, which I absolutely was not, but we did receive that letter, and a short time later it was communicated to me that the ADRL was for sale. I called Don Greenbaum (Al-Anabi USA representative) and said, “Don, if in fact the ADRL is for sale, I’d be very interested in buying it or at least in putting together some investors.” I personally didn’t have the financial capability to buy it. I can tell you that, according to Don, there was another group that offered a significantly larger dollar amount than our group did, but ultimately we were able to get it back.

: Well, the question is why had the ADRL become available for sale?

KN: From what Don (Greenbaum)  told me, over the last two years the ADRL  had lost a significant amount of money and  Sheikh Khalid had been forced to put money in the company to make up those losses. And again, I haven’t seen the actual figures, but I’ve been told it was a few million dollars -- and regardless of how much money you have, a few million dollars is a few million dollars. According to Don, (Khalid) was just kind of fed up with the whole thing. One of the things Don told me from the first time we talked was that Khalid wanted to see the ADRL continue to succeed, to grow, and in Don’s words, that Sheikh Khalid felt there was only one person who could or should have the ADRL, and the only person that could grow it was myself. Which was obviously nice to hear. I’d heard from several racers that, over the last few years, the Sheikh had expressed to them that I was always the best guy for the job and that he had some regrets about it all, but you’ll have to ask him. I don’t want to put words in his mouth or create any further speculation. I think that one thing that would substantiate that is the fact he sold it to us for a whole lot less than he could have gotten for it.

: Will Tommy Lipar or Dave Wood have any interest in the ADRL going forward?

KN: No. The ADRL, going forward, will be 100% owned by the Nowling and Switzer families and there are no other partners. It’s 100% ours.

: Now that you own the ADRL again, what kind of changes will you make in the day-to-day operations compared to how Tim McAmis ran the organization the past two years?

KN: The first thing we’ll do is go back to our free ticket model. Despite the criticism from some people,  every track partner that has approached us and every phone call I’ve received over the last two years wanted the free ticket program back. We really will just get back to the basics of what made the ADRL successful, and that’s the people. I don’t know what’s been going on with the ADRL, other than what I’ve been told. So we’ll be getting back to the basics. Our racers are priority number one. I’m going to do everything I can to give them a safe and competitive racing environment. I’m going to put fans out there and bring as many new fans into the sport as I can. There’s a big misnomer going around about an interview a few weeks ago that can be summed up as ‘free tickets suck’.

: Are you’re referring to Tim McAmis’s interview in Competition Plus? 

KN: Yes. As things got closer and it became apparent that we might be able to acquire the ADRL, I started to get my drag racing fix again, so I started reading DRO and Competition Plus and Drag Illustrated and some others, and as I did so, I was directed to that interview. I don’t have a bad thing to say about Tim McAmis. As someone who’s had those same shots taken at him over the past decade, it would be very unfair to criticize Tim and Diane McAmis. No one knows better than Jess and I what kind of sacrifice the ADRL required of Tim and Diane. The last few years have been, I’m sure, difficult to say the least as they tried to juggle so many things while continuing to run their own business. I hope that Tim McAmis continues to support the ADRL; he’s certainly got a lot of cars out there. And I’m not just saying that to be politically correct. I truly mean that. Tim McAmis and I had a great relationship before and I think we were both forced by circumstance into a situation that affected that relationship. Tim and I were, at one point, friends. Tim was a confidant and was someone who had a lot of influence of the ADRL’s growth from a rules and safety perspective.

: Why return to the free ticket business model for the ADRL?

KN: OUR free ticket model DOES make money, it DOES introduce new people to the sport and evidently some of the track operators agree. I can tell you that our phone has been burning up and right now our biggest struggle is deciding how many races we’ll have and where those races will be held. We’ve already got most of our dates announced. We’re blessed that there’s so many tracks that want an ADRL event right now, but every one of those tracks is adamant that free tickets is the model that we use.  In talking with one track owner in particular, he told to me that last year, after the third race, the ADRL started giving tickets away again. So I guess my only question would be if free tickets suck so bad, why were they continuing to do it last year? And that’s not a shot at Tim McAmis; it’s just a reaffirmation that the business model DOES work, that you CAN create new racing fans and generate a profit. There is a certain science to our free ticket model however. It’s not just as simple as handing out free tickets. For whatever reason, they just couldn’t make it work. I’ve always been proud of the fact that we’ve brought so many new fans into the sport of drag racing and I hope we can continue to do that going forward.

In the next installment, Nowling talks about a variety of other subjects including rules, payout, entry fees for racers and other interesting stuff.