Kenny Nowling and the ADRL continue to be one of the most successful new sanctioning bodies to come onto the drag racing scene in 30 years or more. In just a few short years with financial backing from Dave Wood and Tommy Lipar, Kenny Nowling has turned the ADRL into arguably the second most popular drag racing series and attracted a major series sponsor in the National Guard. His business model of giving away tickets and filling the venues the ADRL visits has caused some promoters and especially track owners to change the way they have traditionally done business. We thought it was time to re-visit Mr. Nowling on the eve of the fifth annual “Dragstock” at Rockingham Dragway and check in with the man that is, in many ways, changing the face of the sport of drag racing. Part Two of our interview can be found here.
: We’re coming up on the fifth Dragstock. How do you feel about that?
KN: Well, proud, first and foremost. When you have this daydream, as I did, several years ago on a flight back from Las Vegas at the end of the 2003 season, just to have an event, and to have that event turn into a series, and it turns into what it’s become today…. I’ve got a great staff of people from top to bottom, and it’s very satisfying to be able to pay Dave and Tommy back, not just for their investment, but for their belief, and their belief in me specifically.
: So Dave and Tommy are your two investors?
KN: Dave Wood and Tommy Lipar are the majority shareholders in the ADRL, and they are the only two individuals who have invested the capitol resources necessary to get where we are today.
: Where are “we” today?
KN: That’s a good question. I was just going over a sponsorship proposal, and I was asking that very question of myself. We’ve made some decisions that were pretty crazy at the time. Giving tickets away, for example. Jessica said we have to get tickets out. It sounded ludicrous at the time, and now it’s the very foundation of the company. So, where are we? I think we’re literally on the cusp of a huge successful growth period like any successful business goes through. I think you have your first few years and you struggle and you succeed, you struggle and you succeed. And there comes a time when you have an opportunity to really grow, and I think we have an 18- to 24-month window to realize some tremendous growth, and then beyond that our job will be to continue to grow and sustain. I think we’re on the verge of something pretty special, especially going into 2009.