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DI Interview: Rickie Smith

Is it still fun driving the car? Do you still get a kick out of the ride?

I do, especially these things now because they’re so fast and they’re so quick and they’re so dangerous. They are fun, and they’re such a challenge. Like I said, and I say it over and over, if I was a billionaire I wouldn’t quit driving until either NHRA wouldn’t give me my license no more or I died. It ain’t that I don’t love the racing. It’s all about keeping the money to do it right.

Are you anxious at all about your coming retirement from driving?

There’s been a lot of times the last several years when I wonder why I’m still working myself like this and I’m going through this kind of stress. But I love it. I love racing. I’ve tried to think of several different things to do around here once I retire or sell, maybe invest my money in something else, another little business, but I don’t really know what else to do. Luckily, KH (Al-Thani) is hiring me to do something there and hopefully that will last several years and look after some of his guys that he wants to bring along.

Now that your mind is made up to retire from driving at the end of 2014, are we going to see a kinder, gentler, mellower Tricky Rickie out there next year?

No, no way; that ain’t gonna’ happen; ain’t gonna’ happen. I may even get throwed out. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to be just as competitive, just as big an asshole as I’ve always been in that part of the deal. It’s just in my nature to race like that.

This story was originally published on April 25, 2014. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.