: What did you learn from Bill Sr.?

BBJ: He always said, if the customer wins, you can't lose. I've seen him in bad situations, and when it's over, everybody comes out laughing, arm-in-arm. I definitely haven't mastered the art like he has, but we have an incredible rapport with our fans – they're our guests, always – and with guys racing in, say, the DOT Tire class or the Alcohol Funny Car racers here for the divisional race or the local guys who are out here every weekend. This track is my home. I spend a lot more time in my office than I do at home. The Bader family isn't the Angel family or the Meyer family, who had other businesses before they owned a track. This is all we do. This is how my sons are going to college. It's who we are and it has to work.

: What's been most surprising?

BBJ: Just how hard this really is. It has to be one of the most difficult ways in the world to make a living. This business will eat you up and spit you out and not even care, and you have to be mentally tough like my dad. People come to one of our major events, see 30,000 people in the stands, and think they're looking at 100,000. The human mind overestimates the size of the crowd and underestimates the expense and risk involved with putting on an event like that. That's why all these people think they want to get in this crazy business. Hundred-hour workweeks are not uncommon, and it's not just me. The people who work here are dedicated, drank the Kool-Aid, and bought in to what we're trying to do.

: What would you do to improve drag racing as a whole?

BBJ: Our sport has a problem: kids don't have the passion for the automobile that they once did. Lots of them aren't even interested in getting a driver's license. We need to get mainstream America more excited about drag racing, get people emotionally involved. I don't think the human-interest side of the sport is exploited nearly enough. Most top-end interviews are uninspiring. Racers have become homogenized – there's no color, no personality. Everyone's afraid of irritating their sponsors. Where's the subplot? What are the real storylines? Don't talk about which lane is better. Who cares? Drag racing is a fast, ultra-exciting, consumable product. Every time you turn around, somebody just won. There's a problem, and we, as an industry, need to figure it out. One thing about me – and it's a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask – is that I'm never satisfied with anything. Ever. Every night when I drive out of here, I think there must be something I could have done better.

NOTE: Back in 2007 DRO did an InnerView with Bill Bader Sr., which can be found here.