: Was the plan always that you would replace Mr. Parks as president of the NHRA? When you hired in, was that the agreement?

TC: No. There was no agreement whatsoever. I was going to be the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. Wally was extremely supportive of the company hiring me, as was the whole board, obviously. Like I said, the company had growing pains, and it had so many areas of the business that needed retooling – systems, planning models, strategic planning, marketing, you name it. They brought me in to kind of work from the inside. I was behind the scenes here for quite a few years, retooling the company, hiring people, and kind of setting up a structure. We created the first H.R. [human resources] department. The list goes on. It was quite an undertaking, but I learned the business quite well.      

: Had you ever been to a drag race before you began working for the NHRA?

TC: I had been to one years ago, out at Fremont. That's it. To say I was a fan would be a misnomer. I watched on "Wide World of Sports" growing up, as I did the Indy 500 and NASCAR. I liked motorsports on television. The first modern national event I went to was in the summer of '93, after I started, in Topeka, Kansas. Buster Couch came up to me and said, "Son, time for your indoctrination." He took me down to the starting line. The first pass, one of the fuel cars blew up. I'll never forget that. I stood right in the middle.

: Did you sort of rethink your career at that point?

TC: I thought it was pretty exciting, actually. I soon became a fan, trust me.

: So you never had drag-raced your own car or anything like that, right?

TC: I would never tell you if I did.

: [Laughing]

Geno Effler: We are opposed to illegal street racing.

: No! I wasn't talking about that! I was referring to legitimate drag racing.

TC: I did have a fast car in high school. It was '67 Mercury Cougar with a 390 [cubic-inch engine] and a four-barrel [V8]. It was a lot of fun to drive. I never actually raced.