So how did this deal of you coming to run Dick’s (VanderMeer) car come about?

JB: My wife, Jenna, has known the VanderMeers longer than she has known me. (Calls over to her: Jen, when did you meet the VanderMeers? She replies: 1999.) Dick helped her out in Super Comp. Then I met Jenna later that same year, and then in 2000 I hurt the motor in my Super Comp car, and I rented a motor from Dick to finish out the year, and we have been friends ever since. Then Dick called a couple months ago, and asked what I thought about doing this, and I was all for it, but Jenna will never go for it. We have an eight year old and a four year old, and it would be no fun for her to load them onto an airplane and chase them around someone else’s house. Then Kathy VanderMeer (Dick’s wife) called Jenna, and Jenna said ‘yeah, sounds like fun’ so here we are.

It must be nice to be at the races but not be under that spotlight.

JB: It is a different environment completely with sportsman racing, there is still the stress of competition, and there is still the pressure of doing well. Making sure everything is alright on the car, but it is a more lax pace. You are not beating on the car, packing two parachutes, signing 150 autographs;it is just a laid-back way of doing it. I miss sportsman racing very much. I forgot how much I missed it, and sometimes you forget why you fell in love with it. I still consider myself a bracket racer who gets to drive a funny car.

It must be nice to be able to interact with the racers and fans on a different level than at the national events.

JB: I have always been an outgoing guy even back in the day before I was a nitro driver. I had a lot of friends out here. Then, as a teacher at Frank Hawley’s I taught over seven thousand students, so there is not a racetrack I went to that at least four or five students were racing at, and there is a lot of opportunity for conversations. Now it is a little bit different now being on TV on a regular basis; people forget I’m a regular guy, I just drive a faster car.

You have an eight year old and a four year old, so is there a Junior Dragster on stands in the garage?

JB: Here is the thing: I don’t have any free time. And when I do have free time I want to spend it with my kids and watch their milestones, and day-to-day adventures, and a junior dragster takes a lot of commitment and time. It takes a trailer to haul, it takes tools to work, it’s getting to the track waiting in line, and it takes a time commitment, and frankly I would have to see a great deal of passion out of my son in order to make that leap. I envision renting a car, getting his license, letting him dip his toes into the water or see what he feels about it. Maybe doing two or three races a year. But the reality of it is, at eight years old, they want to do everything, do it for three months and move on to the next thing. He is already in piano, ice hockey, baseball, and then he will be doing soccer. So he’s got a pretty full plate right now.