Snake Racing looking to sweep Nitro wins in Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. - It hardly matters that Don "The Snake" Prudhomme is not in the seat of a nitromethane-burning Top Fuel or Funny Car anymore. He is still just as competitive as the day he...
Snake Racing looking to sweep Nitro wins in Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. - It hardly matters that Don "The Snake" Prudhomme is not in the seat of a nitromethane-burning Top Fuel or Funny Car anymore. He is still just as competitive as the day he claimed his fourth consecutive Funny Car championship in 1978.
After collecting 49 national event victories in 32 seasons as a driver, Prudhomme retired at the end of 1994, the year of the "Final Strike" farewell tour. He has yet to leave the quarter-mile track. When Prudhomme hung up his fire suit, he traded it all in for ownership duties. He now owns a three-car team that includes Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite dragster, and Funny Car drivers Ron Capps of the Skoal Racing Green Camaro and Tommy Johnson Jr. of the Skoal Racing Blue Camaro. The 2002 season marks his 40th year in drag racing.
Prudhomme and his three-car team will be looking to clean house at the second annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, April 26-28. Doug Kalitta, Capps and Greg Anderson are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $1.9 million race, the sixth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
During the 2001 season, Prudhomme's teams all logged a top 10 finish in the point standings, including a second-place finish for Dixon in a tight battle for the Top Fuel championship that came down to the final race of the season. Still, Prudhomme has his eyes set on even better results.
"The thing that always keeps you going in drag racing is trying to be No. 1 and win it all," Prudhomme said. "First and foremost. We fell short of that and we didn't get the title. Was it a great year? Hell yeah it was a great year. But did we win the World Series? No, but we came awfully close. The way the (Miller Lite) team performed together made it a lot of fun because to get that right chemistry with the driver, crew chief, sponsor and everybody pulling in the same direction is pretty hard to get.
"We have the right sponsor, the right crew chief, Larry is still a young guy, so there is a huge future still out there for winning races and championships."
Capps collected three wins last season, en route to a fourth place finish. Johnson snagged one victory and was 10th in the standings. Capps has logged two No. 2 finishes in his Funny Car career. Prudhomme - still waiting for his first championship as an owner - would like to see any of the three drivers clear the hurdle and claim the top spot.
"I think it would be absolutely wonderful," Prudhomme said. "As a team owner, it would be fantastic. It's a hard thing to put into words because I know that we are all working very hard to accomplish that. I have a lot of people that work for me that would equally feel as great as I would if we did that. But at the same time, if we don't win, I don't want them to be down or thinking I am disappointed.
"I don't want them to wake up everyday thinking that they have to win a championship for Snake this year. It's not that kind of deal. I feel confident that eventually we will win it."