: You wanted to compete at a high quality, right?

SM: I felt for my own racing reputation, I wanted to go out the same way I did in 2003 – with a bang. I went out fighting. I had the best reaction time of the entire race, including qualifying. I ran the quickest and fastest times of my entire career. I want to be able to still say that. I would not have the best there is, sitting in one of his cars. It’s just a fact. I decided that was not the way I wanted to go racing.

: Is it a matter of respect?

SM: Courtney obviously has confidence because she’s got the best bells and whistles. I deserve as good as Courtney Force has. And he wasn’t able to provide me with that. He just doesn’t have knock-down, drag-out, kick-ass, get-there-first cars. You want a Volkswagen, you buy a Volkswagen. You want a Cadillac, you buy a Cadillac. And you’ve got to have people who know how to build a Cadillac.

: What’s the scoop on this land-speed car with Doug Herbert?

SM: Doug offered me the ride in his land-speed car. All of a sudden we’re besieged with girls in pink firesuits going out on the salt and driving these rocket jet cars, which are basically on a wire. They’re not cars – they’re airplanes without wings. And one is “fearless,” and I was actually quoted as saying, “Fearless is the same as stupid.” And yes, I did say that. I absolutely said that.

: So you’re not a jet-dragster fan?

SM: Uh, no. If I wanted to, I could have driven Art Arfons’ jet car back in 1964. That was 50 years ago. I wanted to go out on the salt, but I didn’t want to do it in a jet car. Anything jet or rocket is not wheel-driven. It’s like something that’s on a string. The way you line it up is the way that car is going to go. There’s no “driving” to it at all. There’s lots of flame and lots of boom-boom-boom, but it’s not a challenge. Can you get killed? You can get killed in anything. I could get killed on my lawn mower. I’m not impressed with jet cars or rocket cars. I have no use for them.

: Did Art Arfons offer you that opportunity back in 1964?   

SM: He didn’t, really. I asked him if he would let me. He hemmed and hawed, and finally I got tired of him not answering the question. He was so busy trying to get the record away from Craig Breedlove, which he did. Breedlove wound up putting his car in the drink . . . the lake.

: That's going to be really different from drag racing.

SM: I’m not sure what the distance is but you have to get up to speed. But they get you in that measured mile. Then you have X-number of miles to slow it down, because you don’t have brakes. You have ‘chutes at [various increments] – a series of ‘chutes. At least if you’re smart, that’s the way you do it. The ‘chutes have extremely long shroud lines, like a quarter of a mile. It comes out without fear of opening and pulling the back of the car off or breaking off the car. The lines are very, very, very long.

:  It’ll be a completely different sensation than the launch in a dragster.

SM: It’s the initial kick in the ass in drag racing. You also have the immediate G-forces. You’re going 325 miles an hour, and it’s in seconds you’re going that fast.

: Do you think you’ll like that better?

SM: I think I’m going to like building up to speed. I think I’m going to like going into the measured mile and hanging in there for a mile. They get you in that A-to-Z mile, then you turn it around. You maintain it as to whatever it needs. You have one hour to maintain it (fuel, whatever). Then you make a run [in the opposite direction]. They take the average between the two as the record.