: An drag racing urban legend for years has it that you were a dog food salesman before you went to work for the NHRA. Any truth to that legend?

TC: I'll explain that. When I went to graduate school and got a Masters in International Finance, I went to work for the Pet Food Division of M&M/Mars, the candy people. Most people don’t realize that more than 50 percent of Mars' business is pet food. The other part is confectionery. I went in to work in the Planning Department in production business planning. We planned all the production for all the plants in the country, did all the planning models, business planning. It was a fascinating job. It was a tremendous place to work: very bright people, very challenging work, especially for somebody right out of school. That's really a consumer-products company, like Proctor & Gamble. It was very, very similar – a lot of people came from Proctor & Gamble to work at Mars.

But from consumer products, I made the transition to entertainment and became, originally, the business manager for two new video companies, the sports division and the children's division, of Heron [Communications, Inc.]. I worked there and helped start up those companies and eventually was promoted to director of strategic planning. I was promoted to Vice-President and was promoted to VP and Chief Financial Officer for all four companies [including Spanish-language and theatrical at Media Home Entertainment]. It was about that time the video business was changing rapidly and the studio were buying up all the independent video companies, and Media Home was one of them. So I helped wind the company down to whatever was left and turned out the lights December of 1992. I eventually found my way here to Glendora.

: Unquestionably, based upon the publicly available tax returns, the NHRA was losing money for a period of time in the last five years. Now, at least going by the last couple of returns, the NHRA is in the black. What did you do to make that happen?

TC: When I took over this position, we had a lot of debt, and if we made money, it wasn't much. A lot of years we were losing money, hence racking up more debt. We fixed that, and moving forward, we enjoyed seven or eight years of tremendous growth. Then we get the recession, and we had to make a lot of changes to get through that. You have to remember: We don’t have stockholders, so we can’t issue more stock. We don’t have an owner who can inject more money. We have to manage it very closely. We managed our costs extremely well. I've got to compliment the staff here, the folks here at NHRA who have really taken on the added challenge of doing more, wearing multiple hats, working longer hours. It's been a tremendous team effort here to get through that difficult time.

: Bravo for you for doing that. A lot of companies would love to have somebody who's able to rally the troops to accomplish that.

TC: This isn't anyone's fault. It's just what I had to start with. There are reasons for that. We were $22 million in debt and we were a much smaller company. Today we're a much larger company, and in two years we'll have zero debt. We expanded the schedule during the recession. We went back from 22 races to 24 races. We finally got New England onboard. We had been working on that with Peter Clifford for 12 years.

: The ability to expand during a poor economic time says something, doesn’t it?

TC: We were able to . . . We have a really good reputation with our sponsors. There was a time when you went to a national event and sponsors didn’t always feel they were getting what they were paying for. Through a very thorough process here, we sign people up for the long haul. And we've been able to deliver. Because of that, we've been able to extend, even during the recession, our biggest sponsors: Auto Club, Coca-Cola, Lucas Oil. We just signed up Sunoco for a 10-year deal. We lost Ford, unfortunately, last summer, but we were able to replace them in short order with Toyota as the official car and Chevy trucks as the official truck. We've got a great reputation that way. We build strong partnerships and relationships, and that carried us through the recession.