Continuing our conversation with ADRL president, Kenny Nowling. If you missed it, check out Part One of our interview here.
: Currently the ADRL produces a TV show but it is broadcast on the Internet instead of on one of the seemingly hundreds of cable networks now available. Why did you make that decision and will the ADRL eventually be back on a TV network?
Kenny Nowling: We’re not going to do a TV show just for the sake of having TV. Anymore, I think that’s just bad business. I think that up to this point, that’s what other organizations are doing; they think they need that component to legitimize their product. I saw where the Indy Racing League, who have a marquee event in the Indy 500 are being paid 11 million dollars for their television rights. On the other hand … how do I say this … the “eldest” sanctioning body in drag racing and the second oldest are both paying significant amounts of money to have their events broadcast on television. So to me, until my sponsors come to me and say, “We won’t be involved anymore if you don’t have a major television partnership” it’s just not that big of a priority from a financial point of view.
So are we going to pursue television for the fall and 2009 and beyond? Absolutely, but I think if you do some research, and again, I would encourage sponsors and racers to do the research and see just how many people, according to the Nielsen ratings, are actually watching drag racing shows, including shows like Pinks, I think they will be shocked at how small that number actually is. I just don’t feel the ADRL would get a reasonable return in increased exposure for what it would cost to produce and broadcast a TV show.
: After about three full seasons with the ADRL, you guys have been to a tremendous amount of different tracks, why is that?
KN: Well, in the beginning, in February of 2005, after signing Flowmaster as a series sponsor, I realized we were committed to having six races for them in 2005. I asked my staff -- which was one other person at the time, A.J. Ashe -- “Well, where do we have these races?” And we both got on the phones and started calling around. I am very grateful to track management at Hub City Dragway in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Valdosta, Georgia’ Gull Ridge, Louisiana; Texas Raceway in Kennendale, Texas; Carolina Dragway, and a few larger tracks and facilities, like St. Louis, Memphis, and, of course, Rockingham for their help and support but after Dragstock III at Rockingham everything really changed.
: What changed?
KN: We call it the “Rockingham effect.” We had so many people at that event that we knew we needed bigger venues to accommodate the fans and racers. I would have loved to be able to continue to hold ADRL events at Huntsville Dragway or at Houston Motorsports Park as an example. George Howard and Graham Baker from Huntsville and Houston respectively, those are two of my favorite people in the world, and I have a debt of gratitude to them and will have forever. But I don’t apologize for our success anymore. Our success has given us the ability and the necessity to go to bigger tracks like Norwalk and Budd’s Creek and Houston Raceway Park and the Motorplex and so forth. Looking at our potential schedule for next year, the hardest part is figuring our which tracks to go to. There are so many great tracks in the country now who want an ADRL event, and there are more courting us every day.