Also, it’s a great opportunity to learn and experience different markets and technologies. The challenges and increased knowledge will help us in all facets of our business and markets, so there is a great deal of synergy as well.

It’s rewarding to start something new, and has been very successful already, so more importantly -- other than the business speak – selfishly, I am having a lot fun with it.

:  How has your drag racing customer changed over the years? Are young people still buying speed parts? Are they still interested in high performance and building drag cars? Have imports and smaller cars become the norm?

JS: Compared to when I first started at Strange, a major change is that younger customers are paying for installs instead of installing themselves. There has been a big shift in expectations of bolt-in products. People want the performance but expect the comfort of an everyday car.

Drag racing has become a lot more sophisticated, but I think that’s just a natural progression. We have a lot of extremely creative and intelligent people in our industry.

: You've been involved with drag racing almost your whole life. What has been the most memorable moment or person to date?

JS: Now that’s impossible, but if I had to pick one… I have to preface this, because a lot of people will not understand. I have a huge appreciation of music and appreciate the quality of sound. I like to sit and listen to music – have a dedicated room in my house for it – it’s relaxing – hey, there are worse addictions.

Anyway, Austin Coil is infected with the same high-end sound system disease, so a few years ago I got a chance to talk with him -- not about racing -- for hours and then listen to some very loud and clean-sounding music at his house. The next morning it dawned on me how cool that was. That my job allows me to interact and be friends and learn from the most talented people in our industry. So, it was not so much about Coil, but I just felt grateful for the opportunities that my career has given me. I still miss seeing him at the track, but he seems happy.

I’ll give you two more. Earlier in the year Paul Candies invited me to spend the weekend in his condo for the Charlotte Cup race, and I waffled on going or not going, but had some work to do there, so I decided to go and spent a lot of time with Paul and got to introduce him to my son. I had a great time. It was nice to just hang out and talk with him. Paul passed away this year, so it was a reminder of how sudden things can change. He was one of my father’s closest friends and he was the epitome of class and generosity. A great man.

The last was a few years ago at the Chicago race, I had a long day and we just finished helping a customer with brakes. I left the track around 11 at night and was tired. On my way out I just happened to walk through the pit area and Greek had his back trailer door down and there he was working inside by himself with a lone light on. I did not even say hello – just smiled and shook my head – I decided that I was not tired.

: Is it still fun for you to go to drag races? Why or why not?

JS: Yes, I still like to go. Really for the people, and I still enjoy watching the races at the finish line.

: Have you ever raced yourself or had the desire to do so? If so, what kind of car?

JS: Not competitively. I did attend Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School after college – which I highly recommend if you never have raced. It was an awesome experience. The fastest I went was 8.50s in a dragster. I also went to a road racing school, which was fun as well. I did seriously think about it 20 years ago, but was just buried with my work. I had been given a golden opportunity by father and I did not want to disappoint him, so that was my focus. My work is very entwined with my personal life.