Turbo: Like wheelie bars on a front-drive?
Frank: Exactly. Granted, having the media and many of the manufacturers located on the West Coast helps. I mean once something works and it's in print, it helps others, whether on the West Coast, East Coast or in the Midwest. I think the East Coast is a huge market, with its own set of pioneers that are both creative and successful. There are a lot more rear-drives on the East Coast, but by the same token, front drives are really taking off.
Turbo: It's a new millennium. Where do you see the Battle series going from here?
Frank: For 2000, we want a successful series of events. We want to add a few venues for 2001, and hopefully be able to maintain our status as a leader. We have our rulebook, which we have yet to print, but it is the only one approved by the SFI Foundation. We also want to concentrate on having some of the outside industry people take on a more active role rather than a passive role in the scene. I think the participation within this industry itself is nearly tapped out. We are saturated. Everyone is looking within this industry for some kind of sponsorship and the manufacturers are getting overwhelmed. In order for the sport to advance, we need to look outside the scene. We are hoping that by this year's SEMA Show, we will have a big supporting sponsor that is outside this industry; hopefully that sponsor will lead to others outside the scene.
Turbo: How many events do you see the IDRA having in the coming years? Do you put a lid on the number?
Frank: I would for right now, because I don't think this industry is ready for a schedule that consists of more than 8 or 9 events. One of the things many people fail to realize is that a majority of our pro racers still have day jobs. It is still just a "hobby." Unlike the Kubos, who go at it full time, you have the Bergenholtzes and others who have jobs elsewhere and race on the side. So if you have an event schedule of more than 8 or 9 events, racers will get picky and choosy about which ones they attend.
Turbo: The fact that other race organizations are also out there makes that decision all the more difficult.
Turbo: What can be done on the grassroots level to catapult the import drag race scene to the next level?
Frank: I think it has the potential to move into the mainstream. If we were to get outside support, say from Pepsi, Coke, Gatorade or the like, it would be on its way because those types of companies have appeal and financial force. So for right now, we are stuck in our own niche market and the existing supporters and sponsors are doing a great job; the scene looks healthy for the foreseeable future. Within the next 3 to 5 years that jump could happen.
Turbo: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Frank: I would think in 5 years we'd have a full schedule. We'll definitely have a TV package consisting of all our events. I see us offering incredible purses and a points system. I think in 5 years, the industry will be strong enough that if you offer a season points system, the racers would be able to commit. I know there are points systems now, but it's my personal opinion that the racers just aren't ready for it. I mean they can hit just the local events and rack up some points and maybe hit one East Coast event. The East Coast guys can do the same. At the end, what are you left with? A possible tie? Of the 30 or 40 pro cars out there, maybe a dozen are in a position to compete in a points race.
Turbo: As far as race promoters go, is there going to be a thinning of the herd? Where is the saturation point?
Frank: The way I look at it, only time will tell. A lot have come and a lot have gone. They are out there for a reason. We concentrate on doing our own thing, we have our own sponsors to make happy. We have our own audience to take care of. This is our 10th year doing this and we have done plenty right to weather out the storms at the beginning and we have paid our dues. Time will tell and time is on our side.