Don Garlits
American racing driver
Don Garlits
Donald Glenn "Don" Garlits is considered the father of drag racing. He is known as "Big Daddy" to drag racing fans around the world. Always a pioneer in the field of drag-racing, he, with the help of T.C. Lemons, relating at least in part to the loss of a portion of his foot in a drag racing accident, perfected the rear-engine "top fuel dragster design".
Biography
Don Garlits's personal information overview.
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Relationships
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News
News abour Don Garlits from around the web
Don Garlits and Darrell Gwynn Drag Race Again, Slowly
NYTimes - over 5 years
Darrell Gwynn, who was paralyzed in a 1990 drag race, and the 79-year-old <a class="fplink fp-406090" href="/don+garlits">Don Garlits</a>, known as Big Daddy, are back competing against each other, with a twist.
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NYTimes article
Labor Day weekend racing not over until Tuesday at Atlanta - Wicked Local (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
On the 25th Anniversary of when Darrell “The Kid” Gwynn and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits squared off in the finals of the US Nationals in 1986, Gwynn avenged his loss to Garlits that day by winning 2 of 3 of the “Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause”
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Google News article
2011 NHRA: Historic Lucas Oil Raceway Dragstrip Named Bob Glidden Drive - PaddockTalk
Google News - over 5 years
Tony Schumacher and Don Garlits are second, each having won eight times in Top Fuel. &quot;It’s been a storybook career for me,&quot; said Glidden. &quot;Thank you to all the fans and NHRA and all the support they’ve given us over the years
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Google News article
Notebook: Enders ready to make history - Indianapolis Star
Google News - over 5 years
In specially prepared battery-powered replica dragsters, Gwynn raced &quot;Big Daddy&quot; Don Garlits on the 25th anniversary of their meeting in Top Fuel final at the US Nationals. Garlits won in 1986, but Gwynn got his revenge Friday
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Google News article
Tim Tuttle: Antron Brown looks to make noise at drag racing's premier event - SI.com
Google News - over 5 years
Two legends stick out, Don The Snake Prudhomme and Don Garlits. What those guys have done came from their love and passion for drag racing. Prudhomme owned a paint and body shop and dug deep and became one of the most successful drag racers in history
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Google News article
Tony Schumacher's zero-win season ominious for opponents - USA Today
Google News - over 5 years
Schumacher enters with eight wins at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, tying drag racing pioneer Don Garlits for the class record in drag-racing&#39;s marquee event. A win is also possible because Schumacher has reached four consecutive final rounds
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Google News article
2011 NHRA: Kalitta Feels His Team Is 'On The Verge Of Something Good' - PaddockTalk
Google News - over 5 years
... next to the biggest legends of NHRA drag racing who have won the Mac Tools US Nationals, the world&#39;s most prestigious drag race: Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Bob Glidden and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen
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Google News article
Graham back in winner's circle - Topeka Capital Journal
Google News - over 5 years
By Rick Peterson It has been a long time since Manhattan&#39;s Billy Graham went toe-to-toe with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and other Top Fuel and Funny Car stars of the &#39;70s and &#39;80s. But the 66-year-old Graham proved late Saturday night at Heartland Park
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Google News article
Stars honored in Detroit at Motorsports HOF ceremony - Detroit Free Press
Google News - over 5 years
Roger Penske, Bobby and Donnie Allison, Bobby Unser, Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Mel Kenyon, Kurt Busch and the Detroit Big Three bosses were among the members of the racing fraternity who attended the 23rd annual Motorsports Hall of Fame of
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Google News article
Back to the Bricks: Calendar of events 2011 - The Flint Journal - MLive.com
Google News - over 5 years
5 pm “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and his Swamp Rat dragster at the US 23 Drive-In for autographs, photos and merchandise sales. • Dusk Free showing of “Back to the Future” at the US 23 Drive-In. • 10 am-7 pm Swap meet/craft-yard Sale,
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Google News article
10.0 To Glory - News Junky Journal
Google News - over 5 years
“Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Bruce Allen, Doug Foley, Brenda Paddock, “The Voice” Bob Frey and as unbelievable as it sounds, “The Kid” Darrell Gwynn, all agreed to be part of the film! “I put heart and soul and tears into this script and came up with
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Google News article
Paul Menard got to “Kiss The Bricks” at Indy - Wicked Local (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The match races are designed to raise money and awareness for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Inc. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation&#39;s mission is to provide AWARENESS, PREVENTION, SUPPORT and ultimately a CURE for
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Google News article
NHRA Infineon Diary: Erica Enders looking for win - Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
Google News - over 5 years
Racing legends Shirley &quot;Cha Cha&quot; Muldowney and &quot;Big Daddy&quot; Don Garlits will also be honored. TICKETS: Reserved ($50 Friday, $55 Saturday, $60 Sunday), Weekend pass ($135); Kids 12-and-under ($20 on Friday-Saturday, $25 Sunday) -- parking is free
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Google News article
Groundbreaking Drag Racer Opens Her Heart To A Sonoma Landmark - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
She says bygones are bygones, but she still gets worked up as she recalls the battles when she went toe-to-toe with Don Garlits and Don &quot;The Snake&quot; Prudhomme. Prudhomme will join Infineon Raceway&#39;s Wall of Fame in a ceremony Sunday as part of the
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Google News article
Life's a drag… at 300 mph - Sonoma Valley Sun
Google News - over 5 years
“Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will take center stage at Infineon Raceway as part of the raceway&#39;s Legends in Sonoma program. The drivers will be featured throughout the weekend, including a Friday night movie
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Google News article
Paralyzed Champion Drag Racer Darrell Gwynn Racing Again at the NHRA Mac Tools ... - WhoWon.com
Google News - over 5 years
The match races are designed to raise money and awareness for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Inc. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation&#39;s mission is to provide AWARENESS, PREVENTION, SUPPORT and ultimately a CURE for
Article Link:
Google News article
Legendary trio to be featured at NHRA Nationals - Napa Valley Register
Google News - over 5 years
As part of the Legends in Sonoma program, NHRA legends “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will take center stage during the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals July 29-31 at Infineon Raceway
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Google News article
AUTOWEEK TV: Don Garlits talks about the Dodge Drag Pak - AutoWeek
Google News - over 5 years
Finally for today, let&#39;s spend a few minutes with drag-racing legend &quot;Big Daddy&quot; Don Garlits as he talks about the 2011 Drag Pak for the Dodge Challenger. Oh, there&#39;s nothing like the sound of a screaming V10 to get the week off to a good start
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Don Garlits
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2014
    Age 82
    In May 2014 at age 82, Garlits set a 184 mph speed record in an EV dragster, a battery-powered electric vehicle that does not burn fuel.
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  • 2009
    Age 77
    In September 2009, Garlits returned to the quarter mile, racing a specially prepared 2009 Dodge Challenger in the stock eliminator class at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN.
    More Details Hide Details In 1994, Garlits was the Republican Party nominee for Florida's 5th Congressional District. He was defeated by incumbent Democrat Karen Thurman. Garlits made several controversial statements during his campaign. On the subject of patriotism, he said, "We need to teach that America is great. The people that don't like it, we should have the FBI investigate them. Bring them before grand juries and charge them with subversive, traitorous activities. Have the FBI turn the heat up on them." On homosexuality, Garlits commented, "The practice of a homosexual and what they do, to me, is just obnoxious. It's sickening to me." On race relations in America he said, "Black people have more power than white people in this country now because they have been so run over through the years that now the pendulum has swung."
  • 2008
    Age 76
    He supported the Republican candidacy of Ron Paul for President in 2008.
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  • 2003
    Age 71
    Garlits had reached 323.04 earlier in the year at the 2003 Gatornationals.
    More Details Hide Details Mr. Garlits lost in first round competition with his Summit Racing-Mono Winged Dragster, clocking in with a .064 reaction time, a personal best 4.737 elapsed time, and 307.44 mph, second only to Brandon Bernstein's (son of racing legend Kenny Bernstein) Budweiser/Lucas Oil Dragster .079 reaction time, a 4.615 elapsed time, at 321.42 miles per hour. The difference at the finish line was only 122 thousandths of a second. Garlits operates the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing on the grounds of his home in Ocala, Florida. He can also be seen from time to time on ESPN and Speed Vision doing commentary at racing events and performance expositions. Always at the forefront of driver safety, in the wake of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta's fatal crash and numerous other engine explosions and resultant fires, occurring in the last 300 feet of the quarter mile, Garlits declared "I am 100-percent in favor of it", regarding NHRA's proposal to trim the race distance for Top Fuel and Funny Car from the traditional quarter-mile to 1,000 feet, also suggesting that he would support a ban on rev limiters and a return to a 70/30 nitromethane to methanol ratio. He has since had second thoughts.
    His last qualifying race was in May 2003 at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 23rd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac in Atlanta, Georgia.
    More Details Hide Details At the age of 71 years, 5 months and 19 days he qualified 16th, setting a personal best speed in the quarter mile with a time of 4.788 seconds at 319.98 mph.
  • 1998
    Age 66
    Garlits resumed his career briefly in 1998, and again in 2003.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1991
    Age 59
    In December 1991 Garlits came out of retirement to race in the Snowbird Nationals, but his comeback was to be short lived. "Big Daddy" retired again before the end of the 1992 season due to a separated retina, a product of the 4g deceleration produced by a Top Fuel Dragster's braking parachutes.
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  • 1988
    Age 56
    He announced for four seasons, from 1988 through the end of 1991.
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  • 1987
    Age 55
    In 1987, Garlits suffered what drag racers call a blowover at an AHRA event in Washington state.
    More Details Hide Details He received several injuries from the resulting crash. Though none were life-threatening, he temporarily retired from active driving and became a color commentator for NHRA telecasts on TNN and for NBC.
    On October 20, 1987, his Top Fuel dragster, Swamp Rat XXX, the sport's only successful streamlined Top Fuel Dragster, was enshrined in National Museum of American History, a branch of The Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC.
    More Details Hide Details In true Garlits style, during the press conference submission and placement ceremony, the dragster was fired up on the Smithsonian "porch."
  • THIRTIES
  • 1971
    Age 39
    At first, the rodding magazines considered the disadvantages of the new dragster design "obvious". However,Swamp Rat XIV was so successful that in 1971, Garlits won two of his next three Top Fuel Eliminator titles (the Winternats and Bakersfield), and was a runner-up at Lions, all in the new rod.
    More Details Hide Details A change so momentous had not happened since Mickey Thompson moved the seat behind the rear axle to create the slingshot in 1954. Rear engine dragsters have since become mainstream in drag racing. Garlits has won ten American Hot Rod Association Championships, four International Hot Rod Association championships, and three National Hot Rod Association for a total of 17 World Championships. He was age 54 when he won the last Championship. He won a total of 144 national events.
    He returned to Pomona in 1971 with Swamp Rat XIV, a brand new mid-engined, front-cockpit rail, also dubbed the "Swamp Rat I-R" by Hot Rod Magazine in the article introducing it to their readers.
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  • 1970
    Age 38
    In an interview by Florida Trend, Garlits said this of the incident: "In 1970, the transmission exploded in my dragster on the final run, and it cut my foot off and cut the car in two.
    More Details Hide Details That’s when I drew up plans for what I thought would be a championship rear-engine car. I would go out to the shop in Seffner on my wheelchair, saw stuff out on the band saw and make the parts."
    In 1970, Garlits was driving Swamp Rat XIII, also called the Wynnscharger, a front-engined slingshot rail, when the vehicle suffered a catastrophic failure.
    More Details Hide Details The two-speed transmission Garlits was developing exploded and took a piece out of his right foot; he was out for the remainder of the season.
  • 1964
    Age 32
    In 1964, after winning the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Garlits traveled to England, with Tommy Ivo, Tony Nancy, Dante Duce and other racers, to participate in the first International Drag Festival, a six-event series that did much to promote the sport of drag racing in the UK.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1959
    Age 27
    In 1959, Garlits traveled to Bakersfield, California for the US Fuel and Gas Championships, later to be named the "March Meet", to show that the times he was setting were as legitimate as those set by the west coast racers.
    More Details Hide Details Over 30,000 people attended the event, the largest attendance at a drag race at that point. His presence helped to grow the sport of drag racing beyond its California base.
  • 1954
    Age 22
    In the early days of drag racing, post-World War II Central and Western United States military aircraft pilot training fields had become available for alternate uses, including auto racing. Don Garlits first drag race car was built under an oak tree at his home in North Tampa in 1954.
    More Details Hide Details An electric welder and a gas torch modified an old 1927 Ford Model “T” Roadster to accept a 1948 Mercury block, a 1939 Ford floor shift transmission, and a 1948 Ford differential and axle. That early T-Bucket's quarter mile performance was a 13.5 second elapsed time, at a top speed of 93 mph. It was this successful, formative roadster that would give Don the beginnings of his first rail-job dragster. He took off the body, moved the engine back and located the seat behind the drive axle, a design invented that same year by Mickey Thompson. This would be the 12.1 second, 108 mph slingshot dragster with which Big Daddy would win the first NHRA race he entered, when the NHRA Safety Safari came to Lake City, Florida. Three years later, he became a professional drag racer. The first national drag racing meet, sponsored by the National Hot Rod Association was held on an airfield near Great Bend, KS in 1955. Don Garlits, being from Florida, was something of an outsider. He was sometimes referred to as the Floridian, before permanently adopting the nickname, "Swamp Rat," which also became the name for each generation of his innovative dragster designs.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1932
    Age 0
    Born in 1932.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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