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From; The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Thomas C. Lemons, AKA “TC”, “Top Cat” and beloved “Tommy”, passed this morning around 11 AM January 11th, 2012.


TC Lemons bin his younger yearsI’m so sad to report that Thomas C. Lemons, AKA “TC”, “Top Cat” and beloved “Tommy”, passed away this morning around 11 AM, January 11th, 2012. This marked the passing of one of the sport’s greatest, as this man was there and did it all! The work that he performed on the development of the Rear Engine Dragster cannot be overstated! Tom Lemons, Connie Swingle and myself did the work and each one of us deserve equal credit.

I first met TC in 1968 when he showed up at Seffner with Connie Swingle, returning from Bixby, OK from the Christmas holidays. Soon after, he was my Crew Chief and remained so for many years. For all practical purposes he has been here since that date, with exceptions of a few “vacations” now and then, over the span of 4 decades. TC was also very instrumental in the startup of the Drag Racing Museum in Seffner, Florida, as many of the older restorations are TC’s work, and he spent years helping build the exhibits that we all enjoy today. He spent the last 5 years here on the Museum grounds, living in the “Cabin”, fighting Cancer and winning. However the radiation treatments had got to his heart and it was a massive heart attack that got him in the end.

Just yesterday we toured Ocala, saving all the world’s economic and social problems! TC and I are just a little right of Attila the Hun!

TC Being Honored By The NHRA.Pictured with Dave McConnellToday we were to travel to Stuart Florida for a TV Show we were doing tomorrow with Master’s Entertainment. We were to leave at 2 PM, so I called over to the Cabin around 1:45 to see if he was ready. There was no answer, I called again, still no answer! I sensed something was wrong as TC is so punctual! I went to the Cabin, knocked on the door, still no answer, I knew then to expect the worst and there he was, dead in his favorite easy chair! TC is in a better place now as he was suffering tremendously during the last couple of months.

TC is survived by his older Sister Wanda Kannady, who lives in MO. He had never been married, nor did he have any Children. God speed, TC Rest in Peace!  Don Garlits