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Don Garlits - an American Race Car Driver

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Don Garlits

By:Kristian Wright

Don Garlits is an american race car driver/automotive engineer.He is considered the father of drag racing.He is known as big daddy to drag racing fans around the world. Introducion:Don Garlits was born on January 14, 1932.He had 1 kid named Donna Garlits.After ww2 ended in the central and western united states manny air force bases and lading fields were decommissioned.These abonadand runways were perfect for drag racing .Don garlits first race car was built under an old oak tree at his home in north Tampa in 1954.He used an arc welder and a cutting torch to modify an old 1927 ford model t roadster.To this roadster he added a 1948 mercury engine block a 1939 ford floor shift transmission, and a 1948 ford differential and axle.

About Don Garlits

On march 8,1970, at lions drag strip don garlits was driving the swamp rat XIII,also called the wynnscharger a slingshot rail when the vehicle suffered catastrophic failure.The two-speed transmission garlits was developing exploded and took a piece out of his right foot,while the car split in half in the front of the cockpit; he was out for the remainder of the season. 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. 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.”

Further accomplishments

Don garlits has one 10 NHRA Championships,four international NHRA championships,and three NHRA association for a of 17 world championship.He was age 54 when he won last championship.he won a total of 144 national events.On October 20, 1987, his top fuel dragster, swamp rat XXX,the sport’s only successful streamlined top fuel dragsters,was enshrined in national museum of Americans history,a branch of the smithsonian museum in washington DC in true don garlits style,during the press conference submission and placement ceremony,the dragster was fired up on the smithsonian porch.

Retirement and post-racing career

In 1987 Garlits suffered what drag racers call a blowover at an AHRA event in washington state.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.He announced for four seasons,from 1988,and again in 2003.His last 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 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. Garlits had reached 323.04 earlier in the year at the 2003 Gatornationals.

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