What are you trying to accomplish through ORSCA?

Fenn: First, I wanted to bring some stability to it in the record department because basically, anything can happen in one run, a piece of paper can blow in front of the lights, or anything. Because I’ve seen cars go 4.40s and everyone just knows that ain’t right, so nobody claimed it as a record, but if it was close enough [to be believable] they claimed it. But if you do it twice in a day, then count it. That’s why when we started our series we said you’d have to back up the records. I also sent tech men to NHRA to be certified so they can look at these cars and make sure that they do conform to the rules. Those are the kinds of things in racing that make it better.

Have you encountered people who claim that by organizing this it’s not outlaw anymore?

Fenn: Yeah, yeah we have. And I agree with that in a sense. I miss the days when we all got together at the back of a pick-up truck and decided to go racing, but if we’re ever going to bring this up to a level where it can survive and compete with other forms of racing, it’s got to be brought to a level where we can entertain sponsors.

You mention sponsorship, but earlier you said you like the clean, street-car appearance of the Outlaw cars. Do you plan to maybe give up the rear quarter panel or some other bodywork for sponsorship space?

Fenn: That’s been mentioned and I do eventually see that we’re going to have to do something like that. This year, our rules allowed one main sponsorship decal on the windshield or the hood scoop, so we’re starting to see that we’re going to have to do something. Maybe find smaller companies that can’t afford the amount of money it takes to get involved in NHRA these days. They could do it for pennies on the dollar with Outlaw and still hit a pretty good crowd. Sponsorship is the rough part, and that’s what we’re working on right now.

Beyond sponsorship, what’s the biggest challenge of presenting a series like ORSCA?

Fenn: Scheduling. Getting tracks to put together a good schedule and sticking to it, because there’s a lot of jumping around and breaking the car counts up. The one thing that I see that hurts this Outlaw deal all around, is booking on top of each other. It pulls fans in different directions and it pulls racers in different directions. It gives no unity to the sport.

What advantage does ORSCA bring to fans?

There was one thing that I could not stand at those old outlaw races. I would look around at 10:30 on Sunday night and we’d be in the second round and no fans were left in the stands. They would go on my web site the next day going, “Who won the race? Who beat who?”  I mean, to get fans to travel to see a race, sometimes two and three hours from home, you’ve got to give them a show in a timely manner. They don’t want to stick around until midnight or later and still face a two- or three-hour drive home. The races have to be run in order; they have to be run in a timely fashion, and they’ve got to have a look of professionalism to them. I spent a lot of money setting up ORSCA and it has not made a whole lot of money so far, but with the right things done well, I think it will.

Regarding professionalism, one of the knocks on the Outlaw class has always been that they’re no good at getting to the staging lanes on time. How do you address that and get beyond the mentality some have that they always have to go last?

Fenn: Well, that there goes back to the conformity that I was talking about. If these guys know they’re always going to go after Limited Street runs, they’ll be there. If they’re sitting in the pits listening to the intercom make first call, second call, last call, and then you have five more last calls, they’re going to take advantage of that. With these Outlaw cars, the track can change so much for 10-inch tires that it can pay for a smart racer to lay back and watch what happens when a few cars go down the track. If he has to, he can jump under his car and make a little adjustment to help him get down the track.

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