: Is the NHRA considering dropping any national-event venues on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour? Do you have any plans to reduce the number of national events?

TC: The answer is no and no. Phoenix, as you know, had new people take over and that's been all been settled, and we're excited about the prospects there.

: You have a slight edge in market reach over NASCAR, including the Pacific Northwest that it can't seem to crack. I know that excites you.

TC: And we're in Denver, Minnesota, Houston, Seattle, just to name a few [non-NASCAR markets]. Things can always change. We're planning to stay at 24 events for the foreseeable future. We're not going to add any events, especially in this environment. But we're not going to take any away, either.

: Bob Vandergriff was one racer who said publicly that adding Epping was a lovely move in and of itself, but the additional race simply meant more work and more money for his organization.

TC: A lot of teams structure their (sponsorship) agreements so if we add an event they get more money. A lot of them do it that way.

: Sometimes the fans, because they're so passionate and so opinionated, cause a stir about an issue. Do you ever feel like the NHRA needs for the fans to give them the opportunity and the leeway to make changes without constant criticism? Can the NHRA be frozen sometimes in limbo, for fear that no matter what changes they make to address a problem the fans will criticize it?

TC: We can't expect the average fan out there who is passionate and loves the sport to understand all the intricacies and complexities of this business. We serve a lot of stakeholders – very different stakeholders, who have very different angles on this sport. It could a team owner. It could be a sportsman racer. It could be a pro racer. It could be a racetrack [operator]. It could be a fan. We're in the middle of it all, trying to hold it together.

So with every decision we make, there's usually some people who like it and usually some people who may not like it too much. But they can't see all the different factors we're weighing inside here, from our perspective. So I don't expect fans to jump up and down over every decision we make. They can't possibly understand all the things we're weighing. We are trying to make the right decisions to move the sport forward and keep it working for all of the stakeholders, who sometimes have completely different objectives.

When I walk around a racetrack, it's amazing how many people stop me and thank me and NHRA for bringing the show to town there: "Thank you so much"  . . .  "We're having a great time" . . . "We've been coming here every year for 35 years" . . . "Keep doing what you’re doing" . . . I hear that all the time. So not everyone's unhappy.   

: The inference wasn't that everyone's unhappy. Perhaps you misunderstood why that question came up. It was meant to ask whether you’d like for the constant critics to cut you some slack once in awhile to allow you to make decisions without interference. Actually, a similar discussion took place about Australian drag racing, regarding ANDRA, and that's what prompted this question to you.

TC: I'm not upset. Every sport has a similar situation. Fans have different viewpoints on what they like. When Major League Baseball went to the Designated Hitter rule, there was this big, huge hoopla back in the day. The American League kept it because a lot of people liked it and there was a lot more hitting and runs being scored, but the National League never adopted it because there's another group of fans who don't like it and they like the strategy of using the pitchers. It's no different than any other sport. People love something so much that they're all gong to have an opinion.