b'What is the most difficult part of your job? Q & A 5 Questions withHow did you get invovled in racing? What is the most rewarding part of your job?Mike Baker For me personally, the most difficult part of my job are how the conditions related to a difference of opinion concerning rule changes or procedures is addressed. As I IHRA Senior Director of Competition am sure you are aware, this can be a very confrontational & Racing Operations job. There are very few occurrences where someone will I grew up watching IHRA racing. My home was only aboutsay, You know, you did a good job there. You must 90 miles from Bristol which is where IHRA was born. Iignore negative comments, if possible, and stay focused attended events there as a spectator or worked as anon the big picture.official until IHRA relocated to Ohio in 1997. The most rewarding part of my job I would have to say While attending college, I started working at anit is seeing something you have developed in theory, automotive machine shop. The owners competed in awork well in practice. This may range from competition variety of IHRA classes and I started attending racesadjustments to safety or technological advancements.with them as a crewmember. My job is to protect the interests of our competitors along with providing safety considerations as well. After a few years, I purchased my own Super Stock carWhat is a typical day like for you as and raced it briefly without much success. It did not take me long to figure out the costs related to racing this typeSenior Director of Competition and Racing of car was beyond my means. Operations?I put the car up for sale the first year I started travelingMy current responsibilities are very diverse and can to the events working as a regional director for IHRA.range from event planning to responding to daily questions on competition or technical issues from our What led you to the IHRA and becomingcustomers, racing enthusiasts, sponsors and track Senior Director of Competition & Racingoperators. Most of my days are spent responding to Operations? questions and clarifying current guidelines to all involved parties. Additionally, I concentrate on developing I was introduced to the IHRA by co-worker and friendshort and long-term programs that will benefit our Howie Dalton, who was an IHRA Official. In 1994, Icompetitors, track operators, and manufacturers. started work for the IHRA as a Sportsman TechnicalWhere do you see competition heading with Official. In 1995, I advanced to Regional Technical Director with a concentration on the professional the vehicles becoming batter powered?class entries. The option of utilizing battery powered vehicles is not In 1996, the previous National Technical Directornew to the sport. It has been included in the rulebook for resigned from this position. I was offered theyears. Recent advancements in technology have made it opportunities to take on the event responsibilities ofa more attractive option for competitors to select it as a the National Technical Director for the season as apotential choice of vehicle.We catch up with Mike Baker is the Senior Director of Competition andcontractor. At the conclusion of the season the IHRA Racing Operations for the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). It is aoffered me the full-time position of National TechnicalI personally feel that the technology will continue to position he has held since 2008.Director.slowly progress in our sanction. For example, we had one competitor in the Junior and Sportsman class at The 54-year-old native of Princeton, W.Va., has a business administrationIn 2001, I was promoted to the Director of Competitionthe world finals. As competitors see the success that is degree and a background as a high-performance automotive machinist.and Technical Services and finally, in 2008 I waspossible, more racers may see it as a good alternative to Baker also understands the challenges faced by racers as former IHRA Superpromoted to Senior Director of Competition and Racingtraditional combustion engine combinations.Stock competitor. Operations. 32 33'