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Folks Of Interest Fame And Terror At 200 MPH

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 20,273

    Staff Member

  2. I remember looking forward to my brother taking me to Lions Drags,on the weekend. I had a neighbor with a Fiat Fuel Altered,and he would fire it up,getting it ready for Lions. I would haul ass over there and he would let me sit in it while he tuned it.
    I think it is an addiction! After hearing the cars,smelling the fuel,and seeing the speed,you had to get more.....
  3. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    I met Big once, at Pomona. I might have been 8 or 9 years old.

    Asked him for an autograph and made some small talk. He asked me what classes I liked in school, which at the time I thought was a weird question.

    Maybe I understand a little better now.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 28,615

    Jalopy Joker

    Thanks for bringing to our attention. Gartlis is bigger than life because of his determination, vision , talent and big balls to accomplish what he has - and still at it. early pioneers of any type of racing were not able to go online and see how it used to be done. they had to create what had never been done before. sometimes now we try to only copy the past, which is cool, rather than create what has not been done before. if you ever get to meet Don Garlits, or any of the early pioneers, be sure to tell them Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011

  5. johnybsic
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 612

    from las vegas

    Good read Ryan.
    Theres nothing on the planet that gets me fired up like the smell of exhaust and hi-test fuel. two stroke hits me hard too.
    I bought the book "Fuel & Guts" a good while back, Its awesome stuff and I can't get enough
    It is a sickness. A horriblle, fantastic sickness.
  6. That was fun! Nice morning read.
  7. Joe Grippo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 292

    Joe Grippo

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  8. jroberts
    Joined: Oct 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,653


    WOW! What a great piece. Thanks for putting it out here for us all to read.
  9. Ya know I saw Big and his Challenger at The NHRA Reunion in Bowling Green this year but never got a chance to see him run. Damn that thing looks good coming off the line.

    It still looks weird watching him tune with a laptop instead of a wrench!
  10. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    My brother in law got me his autograph last year,which I'm having framed.I met him inm the 80's,but was too overwhelmed to bother.Big is the greatest.
  11. Good story. Garlits was, is, and always will be a ruler.
  12. Model A John
    Joined: Apr 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,771

    Model A John
    from wichita ks

    Big Daddy is the man. I had the privilege of meeting him at Wichita Int'l Raceway back in the 80's.
  13. BlownMerc
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 146

    from Jerome

    I walked out of his museum a few years ago and there is Big standing in the yard!!!! He took time to have couple pics of him and I in front of the museum sign, one of the best days of my life.
  14. a bloke
    Joined: Jul 6, 2007
    Posts: 235

    a bloke

    Very cool article. I once met a guy from Florida in a bar in Dublin, and told him the only person I knew of from Florida was Big Daddy. Turns out he was touring with the band Motorhead and he got us tickets to the next nights show.
    Big Daddy rocks!
  15. Thanks for the article Ryan. Good read for sure.
  16. jbon64
    Joined: Jul 26, 2006
    Posts: 492


    damn good read. i've met big and had the pleasure of chatting with him on several occasions. super nice dude and stone deaf !
  17. Fantastic article, but the photo is not Don's record setting run at Island in 1964. I was there that Sunday and was lucky enough to get very close the the starting line to take the photo below. Year later, after we got to know each other pretty well doing the Bonneville Streamliner project, Don signed a print for me which I have framed on my office wall. The photographer seen on the opposite side of the track in Robert Bissell who was shooting for National Dragster.

    Attached Files:

  18. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,118

    stuart in mn

    There are a couple other SI articles about him in the links at the end of the first article, one from 1979 and the other from 1997. It's interesting to see the changes over the years.
  19. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    Thanks for that. I hate to admit this but first time I ever met Big Daddy - which was to get his autograph on a 1964 Hot Rod mag w/ him on the cover - I said something to the effect of "I'm a big fan of yours" (or something equally as lame).

    He didn't acknowledge me at all and for a split second I was thinking ''sheesh what an old grouch''.

    His wife was standing there as well - I guess she knew what I was thinking because she motioned to me that he was hard of hearing - no shit, right? I repeated myself a bit louder and once he heard me we talked quite a bit - couldn't have been nicer.
  20. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094


    [​IMG]Cool pic Rich!

    Very good read, dig the period vernacular. Big Daddy has been a long term idol of mine and at the top of my "would like to meet" list.
  21. Theo Douglas
    Joined: Nov 20, 2002
    Posts: 807

    Theo Douglas


    This is one of the best articles you've ever linked to. One of the top pieces I've ever read about drag racing. Good job!
  22. Triggerman
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 578

    from NorCal

    Along with everyone else I am thankful for the posting and the link Ryan. That article really opened my mind to Don's attitude toward racing. I am surprised but not surprised at the same time. I would have to congratulate him on having such a pragmatic attitude toward the sport and perhaps that is one of many reasons he was so successful. Your post had great timing since I'm going to the CHRR this weekend. Time for a nitro FED fix.
  23. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 710

    Chevy Gasser

    Don is a great guy, his philosophy on life is loaded with COMMON SENSE! A bit of trivia is that Don was only several hundred votes shy of being a congressman in Fla.
  24. Thanks for pulling up a great read. He is a phenomenal person.
  25. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim

    I have read different articals over the years about Don and his life of drag racing . I watched him through the years and he has brought so much to drag racing and the safety it has today with the top fuel dragster . To me , he is the greatest drag racing of all times ! He is the KING of the dragster and always will be . He led the life that many of us would have loved to do . Of course the racing industry is all different now . The small guy can't do it like he did without big sponsorships . He is such a legend that none will ever take away from him . he has been through so much in the accidents he has been in but still came back to do better and better every time .
    He was my idle in drag racing when I grew up and he still is !
    Ryan thanks for the great story ! A True Legend !

    Retro Jim
  26. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,274


    Hats off to the greatest pioneer of dragster advancement. I was fortunate enough to see him in the 60's when he was doing it all on his race machine. He was cordial even being ultra busy prepping his digger for the next blast. He is an icon of the sport and one of the greatest ever! Viva D.G. Thanx for featuring him in the daily post of interest. ~sololobo~
  27. 85-percent
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 323


    Don Garlits is the Frank Zappa of drag racing


    this is a quote from a drag racing magazine article about Garlits from the year he broke 270 mph at Gainsville (I was there) and "invented" the Top Fuel blow over at E-town (I was there)
  28. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,640


    Big Daddy is an awesome possum, for sure. A genuine American hero.
  29. racerjohnson
    Joined: Oct 3, 2006
    Posts: 178

    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks for the link. I found his insight into a life effectively 100% consumed by racing interesting because he sounds exactly like other people I've known that lived that life. They all talk about it the same way. After awhile, its just a job like anything else, they just keep doing it because they're good at it and in demand. I also dug the period vernacular.
  30. hotrod_32
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 496


    Great blog Ryan ! Here's a few shots of the big from Norwalk last year. Hangin out and telling story's with Ohio George. He made a couple passes in the old car. Long ago when he was running for Kendal motor oil,we got to see him alot. Being from Bradford,Pa. home of Kendal oil he was here a couple times a year. Always would take the time to talk with his fans !

    Attached Files:

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