: So it’s proven that somebody in drag racing actually can have a business model that's not upside down. And what's stopping you from going to bracket races? Is it because the NHRA is considered the top level of the sport and its brand has better exposure?


Larry Morgan and Warren Johnson at the 2013 World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova Dragway Park.   (Jeff Burk photo)

LM: I've spent all my money on what I do. I'm stuck in a trap of damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't. I would do anything to represent the company that supports me at a different level. I'm OK with that. But where are we going to go? You've got to have TV time. You've got to have exposure if you've got a sponsor on the car. I can tell you this: Scott Gardner [the new International Hot Rod Association president and longtime owner-promoter at Illinois' successful Cordova Dragway Park] came in and took over that IHRA deal. I think that could be a good deal. I told him, "You need to get hold of MAVTV, because that deal that Forrest [Lucas] has going could get you a little exposure."

I can tell you, that guy can put on a show. Warren and I ran that World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova in August, and I've never seen so many fans in my life in one place. He's a great guy and he's always worried that everybody's being taken care of. And we [in the NHRA] don’t have that anymore. If we had him, Bill Bader [at Norwalk], and John Bandimere [at Denver] – Lex Dudas [at Reading, Pa.'s Maple Grove Raceway] is another good one – there's a handful of good guys who know how to promote a track. If you could put all those guys together and get NHRA to listen to those guys, I think our whole deal would be better. I think those guys can foresee what's going on out there.

Listen, I'm not saying that [NHRA Vice-President of Racing Operations] Graham Light's doing a bad job. I think he does a fabulous job. I don’t know what [NHRA President Tom] Compton's in charge of – although he's supposed to be in charge of all of it. He's not apparently seeing what we see.   

:  We're having a disconnect somewhere.

LM: There's a disconnection between the racers and the sanctioning body. The fans that we have come up and talk to us – my pit's open to anybody, so I hear it all the time  -- the TV [broadcast on ESPN2] is pathetic, they say. They don’t even watch the TV anymore. So if you don’t have a good TV show, you’re not going to draw any new fans out there.

: The TV package, no disrespect to anyone in particular at ESPN, has been criticized for some time now. A growing number of fans have been unhappy at the content and even more so at the broadcast times – poor times to begin with and then the pre-empting too many times.

LM: When you say you’re going to be on, you'd better be on.

: You're associated with Forrest Lucas, and he owns MAVTV. It would be a logical fit for NHRA and MAVTV.

LM: Forrest Lucas is one of the nicest men I've ever met, and he is a businessman. He knows what it takes. They need to listen to that guy. I admire the man. He knows how to make things happen. They should listen to him. He owns MAVTV.  He could put on a show like no other.