The main reason I stopped is cellphones and texting -- people failing to pay attention. I see it so often in the motorcycle cases I handle.
How does the risk on the streets for you compare with on the racing strip?
Knock on wood, I've done pretty well [on the strip]. On the streets, I've been knocked down a few times, mainly from people doing crazy things. People pulling out in front of me.
I was sent airborne once. The driver stopped, came to check on me and said just what I thought they would say: "I'm sorry. I pulled right in front of you and never saw you." I rear-ended them probably at about 50 miles an hour and they were probably doing 20 to 25.
How do your family and loved ones feel about your racing?
My parents, I would have to say, are not very supportive of this land-speed racing. I've been kind of a daredevil my whole life. My parents used to say, "If we could get him to survive 'til he was 16, we'll be OK." Then, "If we can get him to 18." Then, to 20. Finally, it was "If we can get him to 43."
Most all of us are single and don't have any children. That's a big part of it. One rider with a wife and two kids quit. We'd had a talk, and he said, "I can't get them out of my mind." I told him, "If that's what you're thinking about, you do need to stop."
After we lost [one competitor], I gave a lot of thought to see if there were other things I could do for fun. I bought a Rock River rifle, and I enjoyed shooting that [at his north Georgia cabin]. I bought a Yamaha WaveRunner and I enjoyed that. Unfortunately, none of it is like the feeling I get with land-speed racing.