:  Nitro cars racing to 1,000 feet seems to be a hot-button topic still. What do you think the change to a 1,000-foot track has done to benefit the teams financially or in regards to safety? Would you like to return to quarter-mile racing?

CP: The benefit has been slowing the cars down, no doubt about it. The cars were without a doubt reaching dangerous speeds. They still are, in my opinion. We have cylinder heads that are state-of-the-art. I just invested in the newest, latest, greatest cylinder heads. That's more horsepower. Everything that we've done in the past five years or six years have all been to increase horsepower, and we as racers have figured out how to make the cars go faster. So the 1,000 foot has allowed these already-short racetracks to be safer.

Now, would I like to go back to quarter-mile? I think in everybody's heart of hearts, the answer would be yes. I'm a major proponent of quarter mile. One of the reasons I run a nostalgia Funny Car is so I can race the quarter mile, to be honest with you. I'm a quarter-mile racer. That's been my life. My dad's race career was quarter mile. It's a quarter-mile drag race, and that's it.

That being said, changes would have to be made at this point, given the fact that cars are going – let's face it – these cars are going, like I said, too fast for 1,000 foot, to be perfectly honest with you. I don't know about anybody else, but I don’t want to have parachute failure or any issues at certain racetracks going 320 miles an hour, which is what my car is capable of. I've run 319 several times. So there's my answer.

: Curiously, following Scott Kalitta's fatal accident, the NHRA appointed a "Performance Limitation Committee." I always felt that was misnomer. It should have been called something like a "Safety Enhancement Committee," because no one really wants to limit performance. Everybody wants to increase performance but at the same time wants conditions to be safer. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

CP: I would agree with you there. I understand that's a bit controversial. In some people's eyes, that's a touchy subject. We as racers, our jobs are to go fast. That's pretty much at all costs, within our limitations. And our limitations sometimes are not safety [-related]. To be honest, I don’t have a driver I put between the frame rails. I put my own body and my own life in the frame rails. And I have [a unique perspective]. The crew chief, his job -- his livelihood – depends on performance. Whatever he feels about safety, and everybody's different, you've got to put that aside if you want to beat the guy next to you, because his job is to propel his driver and not worry about blowing tires or catching on fire, especially in a Funny Car.

Me, I put myself in the car. There again, that's where I came up with the name Juan Mota. I cannot think about 'Oh, gee, I don’t want to blow the body off the car because I don’t want to endanger the driver.' I have to compartmentalize. You can't have both. You can't have, 'Oh, let’s worry about safety. Let's shorten the track' if that doesn’t work. That's where the NHRA comes into play. Whether they've done a good job or not a good job, it is what it is. It doesn’t take me to make that decision. I see both sides.

My point of contention is that we're only going to go faster at 1,000 foot and the cars aren't going to go slower. At some point do we run out of real estate at 1,000 foot. That would be my question. We're not doing anything – and believe me when I say anything – in fact, we're exacerbating the situation by continuing to add performance-enhancing equipment on the race car, which is exactly what we do every year. Every year there's something new. And until that stops, there's a little hypocrisy going on.

: I agree, but I wouldn’t characterize that hypocrisy as intentional or deliberate. It's just like we have two ideologies at war with each other. We have a desire for improved performance, all while saying we want safety. And people are genuine about both, maybe in denial that they could have both.

CP: I agree. But doing nothing and continuing to allow the performance needle to point upward, that, to me, speaks volumes. We're continuing to push the edge, and when you push the edge, that edge bites back. And it will bite back again someday. It will bite us back, and God forbid it's anything catastrophic, but we are getting there.