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(Richard Muir photo)
To say it has been a long, strange trip for Kenny Nowling would be an understatement. In the past five years Nowling has gone from being the president of what was at one time the second most successful drag racing sanctioning body in the world, the ADRL, to promoting mixed martial arts fights. The ADRL had a major sponsor in the United States National Guard and companies like Ford Motor Co and Hardee’s fully involved. He then facilitated a deal selling the American Drag Racing League to a member of the Qatar royal family. In short order after that he was fired in 2010 from the company he started and replaced by renowned drag car builder and manufacturer Tim McAmis. He was accused in social media by the then-owners of the ADRL of stealing money and malfeasance of his duty as the president of the ADRL.
After almost five years of silence and no interviews, he has finally decided to tell his part of the strange tale and sat down in front of a tape recorder and agreed to a no-holds-barred interview with DRO editor Jeff Burk.
Part one of this two-part interview deals with that period of time between 2009-2011 when he lost the ADRL the first time. The second part will deal with his re-acquisition of the ADRL in 2012-13 and what has transpired since then.
: How did you and the ADRL get involved with Sheikh Khalid al ThanI?
Kenny Nowling: At some point in 2008, Sheikh Khalid and his entourage had come over [to the U.S.] and attended our Radford, Virginia, race unbeknownst to me. I knew there was a large Arab presence there with (racers) Mike Castellana and Shannon Jenkins and their outfit. I wasn’t aware until later that Sheikh Khalid was one of the individuals.