Bummer that the experience didn't go well when you met him...
My personal experience was great, and I don't think it was just because I was a magazine guy, because at the time I was freelance and we didn't even have a guarentee that the article would run. He was very occomidating to me and my son, and allowed us free access to his shop and crew as long as we didn't get in the way. Since the first time I met him we have met many other times and he has always been very nice to me and my family.
He is secretive about a few things in his shop and at one point early in the morning on the first day he saw me taking pictures of a bare chassis in the race shop. He then walked up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder and said "don't take pictures of the Trophy Truck, you can shoot anything you want on the Hummer but no shots of the Trophy Truck." I said OK and the rest of the trip went great. He also personally works very hard on his equipment and doesn't ask anything of his team that he wouldn't do himself. Oh, he also told me that I could not shoot anything in his shock room, where they build the race shocks. I could personally go in there and watch him and his dad Bob build the shocks but I had to put the camera down first. In fact he asked me to put the camera down to help him a few times... One was to help Robby install and align the rear trailing arms on the Hummer the other time was to build a set of spare race shocks for the Hummer!
Before I met him he was always one of my favorite drivers, and after meeting him he was even more so!
Well if my experience was like then I can tell you my mind set would have been totally different. I know what you mean about the shocks, from what I hear you can buy his shocks, but you have to sign a waiver that says you will never open them. If they are damaged, send them back and he will fix them in house. I know thats how you have to be to on top and that I don't hold against him.
What I do hold against him was the way he treated fans at SEMA, myself included. He would not sign posters to anyone, just his name. I asked him for a pic and all he did was lean in, didn't look at the camera, with his hands in his pockets. He was late showing up and left early. You know one thing that I cannot stand are these guys that get these big heads and want nothing to do with the fans, when its the fans that made them who they are..........
Now you want to talk about a nice guy, I met Stacy, the former host of Trucks!. He shook everyones hand, signed whatever they wanted, took pictures, and on top of that wanted to know what you drove, what you did to it and wanted advice on what we wanted to see on the show!!! He was there all day it didn't matter to him