VISTA, Calif., April 19, 2000 - After reflecting on a whirlwind four days that saw him inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and one of his two drivers win a race, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme remarked, "It was pretty hard to...
VISTA, Calif., April 19, 2000 - After reflecting on a whirlwind four days that saw him inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and one of his two drivers win a race, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme remarked, "It was pretty hard to script it any better."
OK, maybe both his cars could've won the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston, but it was still an amazing weekend for the former NHRA driver and current owner of Larry Dixon's victorious Miller Lite Top Fuel dragster and Ron Capps' U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car.
The hall of fame festivities (April 13) at Talladega, Ala., included Prudhomme, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Craig Breedlove, Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet.
"That was the ultimate honor a person can get for his craft," Prudhomme said. "Mine happens to be race car driver. It's the ultimate compliment. I don't see where it gets any better. That was very, very cool.
"People sometimes don't really know where they stand. Certainly the people you race against don't come up and pat you on the back for beating them," he continued. "Apparently someone was keeping track of what I've done for the last 35-to-40 years, so that was great.
"The obvious is going in with the class I went in with. It's kind of like graduating at the head of your class. I was going in there with some pretty heavy company. It was great because the other guys were drivers (whose careers) I followed."
On Sunday (April 16), Prudhomme watched his two proteges advance to the semifinals. Dixon won to advance to the title round while Capps lost. And Dixon followed with his ninth career victory and second straight at Houston Raceway Park.
"For a while there I thought both Ron and Larry were going to make it to the finals," said Prudhomme. "To be in Alabama and go into the hall of fame with Mario, A.J. and the others, then leave and go to Houston and win the race was great. The Winston people honored me with a duplicate portrait for my office of the one that's in the hall of fame. It made me think I was somebody special.
"It was just one of those times for me, to be real honest, that it makes me feel pretty good about myself and pretty good about what I've done. It gives you a chance to look at your career and say, 'Whoa, gee, I made it.' It's probably the highest honor you can achieve.
"But all that's short-lived because you go to the next drag race and everybody's trying to kick your butt. You have to keep going ahead, keep winning and keep working. The racing (with Capps and Dixon) isn't over, but as far as being honored, I don't know if it gets any better."
Prudhomme admits watching Capps and Dixon win championships would also rank right up there.