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Carl Weisinger has been the promoter at Orlando, Florida’s Speed World Dragway for many years. He may best be known for the World Street Nationals, whose 18th annual event was held Oct. 29-31.
Weisinger shares stories from his years in the business and tells DRO editor Jeff Burk that he may be ready to retire. Read on.
: What was your starting point in drag racing?
Carl Weiinger: In 1959 I had just gotten my restricted drivers license and my dad let me drive the family 1954 Plymouth four door sedan to a dragstrip in Kissimmee, Florida. I was hooked the first time I saw a little daylight under the front wheel of a car as it left the starting line. I remember going back to school on Monday telling my friends about a car that lifted the front wheels off the ground and smoked the tires all the way down the track. It was Garlits. No one believed me about the wheelstand or the tire smoking and no one knew who Don Garlits was. From then to now the journey has been long and interesting. Just about the time I think I've seen it all, something new happens.
: So we understand that you are entertaining offers to sell either the World Street Nationals race itself, your lease on Orlando Speed World, or both. Is that true, and if so, is the sale of either imminent?
CW: I just turned 65 in June and I've been earning my living running race tracks and promoting events for the last 33 years. That's 66 in "Yankee" track operator years since we run virtually year round in Florida. So, for me, retirement is not a dirty word. One could buy our corporation which would get them the business and the lease. We're talking to a couple of people. But, we aren't in a hurry and nothing is imminent.
: Would selling your business be contingent on someone taking over the track lease?
CW: The World Street Nationals stays at the track and goes with any sale. The two just can't be separated. When people ask another, "are you going to Orlando" everyone knows they are talking about the World Street Nationals. Can you imagine someone asking, "are you going to Orlando in Charlotte this weekend?" That just isn't in context.
: If you sell, would you retain minority interest and some control of either the track or race?
CW: There are a couple of real good people with experience out there right now looking at race track businesses. One of them I have a great deal of confidence in and would consider holding some interest on a continuing basis. But, this is all pretty premature. My son, Randy has worked at the track for over 20 years and he would have to be considered in any decision. Randy's interest has really been more on the operational side of the facility and the actual running of the events. There isn't a better track prep guy out there. He won't say that about himself, but I will. For years Randy has been able to get and keep the best track possible under the weather conditions he is dealt. With Randy doing the track, the better the weather the better the track in all cases.