DRO: How much were you to be paid and how did the Sheikh arrive at a number?

KN: We went on the Internet – as a matter of fact, I believe Drag Racing Online is where we found the numbers – looked up the NHRA tax return to see what they were paying their executives and specifically Tom Compton’s salary.  Sheikh Khalid al Thani’s exact words to me were “What do you make with the ADRL?” And I told him $120,000 and he laughed, saying, “That is ridiculous. You’ve got to make more than Tom Compton if you’re going to run my company. There’s no way a dog food salesman is going to be making more than the president who is running my drag racing series.”

Compton’s salary was north of a half-million dollars. The number that was given back to me by Sheikh Khalid was “You won’t make less than $700,000 next year.”


Nowling and the Sheikh in 2010. (Jeff Burk photo)

His commitment was to also replace the National Guard sponsorship of $2.7 million. I gave a copy of the contract to him, to Puvanesan Kay (his lawyer),  I believe Don Greenbaum got a copy of the contract as well so that they could fund it exactly how the National Guard had funded it the year before. Meaning if $1M was due on date X that they would fund a million dollars to the American Drag Racing League so we had the right cash flow and operating expenses for payroll and to put on and pay out the races. The purse had increased dramatically from 2009 to 2010 with the new National Guard (title sponsorship).

I’d have to look to see the exact increase in payout, but remember my salary hadn’t increased a penny.

The transaction was finalized some time in May 2010 going into our Dinwiddie, Virginia, event.

Up to that point I challenge anyone from 2004 at the first Dragstock event to May 2010 when Dave Wood, Tommy Lipar, and Kenny Nowling owned the American Drag Racing League to ever say they were paid late or say they ever had an issue with a check clearing – it’s just not the case. One hundred percent of it had been paid always. When we had a rainout or a rough race, if Dave or Tommy needed to put in a capital contribution, whether it was $100,000 or $10,000, they always did that fifty-fifty. It was never an issue.

:What were the problems that caused your contract to be terminated?

KN: The first payment that was scheduled to be received – I would have to go back to check the exact date, this had been several years – the first payment scheduled to be received from Al-Anabi to replace the National Guard was only a third of what it was supposed to be. I reached out to Don Greenbaum. He was the one we had to send an invoice to, made out to the Qatar Racing Club.

Whether it was an excuse or fact, his statement to me was to the effect that they had motors they had to pay for from Reher-Morrison, they had deposits or payments to make to some trailer company who builds… some guy named “Slick” whoever that is, at Champion or Completion Trailers or one of those trailer companies, but that we would get the money before the next event. Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.

Well, Jessica, doing the accounting at the time, had bills to pay based on cash-flow projections and budgets that we had all agreed to. The Sheikh was very rarely involved in a lot of those conversations; his answer was always, “Talk to (Puvnanesan) Kay or Don (Greenbaum).”

It was clear that they knew when they bought the American Drag Racing League for a million that they were going to have to invest another 2.7 million in order for the ADRL to sustain what they had done the previous year as far as payouts, salaries, office rent, the whole nine yards.

:Were you fired from the ADRL?

KN: My contract was terminated. I was never fired by Sheikh Khalid. That’s important to note and know. It’s important to note that Woods Oviatt Gilman, the Shiekh’s New York law firm sent a letter on behalf of Tim McAmis in February 2011 that my and Jessica’s contracts were terminated.  From December 2010 until November 2012 I never spoke to or had any communication with Sheikh Khalid al Thani.