"BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS TO START-UP MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER SUNDAY AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2009) - Racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits will return to the cockpit of the vehicle he pioneered nearly 40 years ago, a rear engine...
"BIG DADDY" DON GARLITS TO START-UP MATCO TOOLS DRAGSTER SUNDAY AT U.S. NATIONALS
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2009) - Racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits will return to the cockpit of the vehicle he pioneered nearly 40 years ago, a rear engine Top Fuel dragster. The eight-time U.S. Nationals winner will warm-up Antron Brown's Matco Tools dragster before Sunday's first qualifying attempt at O'Reilly Raceway Park during the 55th annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.
Brown, the only driver to win races in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle, considers Garlits his racing hero, so it's only fitting that he approached the 35-time NHRA winner about starting his Matco Tools dragster at the most prestigious race on the NHRA schedule. The warm-up will take place at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Top Fuel qualifying is scheduled for 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
"We were filming our Getting Down With Brown segment with ESPN on Friday and we asked 'Big Daddy' if he wanted to hop in our Matco dragster and start it and he said 'of couse,' Brown said. "This is awesome for our team. Our guys are all excited about having 'Big Daddy' around our pit, and he also has a long-time relationship with Matco Tools. This is a win-win for everyone and I know the fans will love it."
Garlits, a three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion, clocked his first career 300-mph pass at O'Reilly Raceway Park in 2001 behind the wheel of Gary Clapshaw's Matco Tools-backed dragster with a quarter-mile burst of 4.72 seconds at 303.37 mph. Garlits' last triumph at the U.S. Nationals came in 1986.
"It's always an adrenaline rush when you climb into a Top Fuel dragster and hear that engine roar to life and cackle," Garlits said. "It's something I'd love to do again, but I can't. But I am having a blast driving my new Dodge Challenger this weekend here at Indy."