: So you’re going to do this for sure?

SM: Yeah, if we get the money to finish the car. We thought we had [an investor, who] indicated he had great interest. We spent 10 days doing the proposal, hand-delivered it, and in 20 minutes we had the ever-dreaded “Drop dead” text message. Not impressed. I’ve been told to take the high road. Well, I’m taking the dirt road, because I’ve been pushed over on the dirt road so many times. I’m telling the truth – that’s what happened. My friend Sheryl Pyrdol wrote a letter to him and said, “This has to be the world’s record for declines.” It was beautiful. Bingo. It’s called jab and twist is what it’s called. So I was very disappointed in him. He indicated he was interested. It takes time to do a proposal, and it took them less than 20 minutes. Doubt they even read it. It just wasted our money and our time and our effort. It didn’t give them a lot of gold stars, in my book. That’s what happened. We just move on. He isn’t the only one in the world out there.    

: How much money does it take to complete a land-speed car project?

SM: One-point-five [million] would have finished the car, got it on the salt, [paid for] test time and run time, all the bells and whistles that we needed. And that was not a lot of money at all. Doug already has $600,000 in the car. It’s three-quarters done. It was his dad’s idea, and he wants to fulfill that.

: It’s a bit surprising that this is something you’re excited about, given the rush that you’ve loved so much with a Top Fuel dragster.

SM: I have enough faith in myself, believe me. It’s just a different animal.

: One thing that has changed in Top Fuel since you drove is this new version of the canopy. What do you think of this newest canopy?

SM: I don’t think anything of it. I think it’s driver preference. I don’t really know if it prevents the driver being exposed to fire or not. I wouldn’t want it to get in there and not find a way out. That could be bad. I don’t really know. I had a canopy when Garlits came out with that morphodite thing he had in the ‘80s. I had that canopy come in on me – in the lights, in Dallas. You talk about a concussion. It exploded. It collapsed in my face. That was then. This is now. I don’t know how much distortion you get, looking at the tree. It’s something that after awhile, it’s like anything else: you get used to it and it is what it is.

: Just for fun, have you ever taken Tony Schumacher up on his invitation to sit in his car and see how it feels with the canopy?

SM: No. If I was going to drive [a Top Fuel car], I would probably do that.

: How do you think NHRA drag racing stacks up against other forms of motorsports today?

SM: [NASCAR] is just a beer party. It should get back to real racing. I think the drivers, the majority of them, don’t appreciate the fans as much as they should. They do when the cameras are around. It’s a photo op. They don’t get near ‘em. They take their helicopter over to their Lear, their Lear over to their yacht. It’s a very snobbish world over there. It’s like NASCAR is the Gestapo. That’s just my opinion. Boy, could I get myself in trouble for that.