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Car Show: Don Garlits Museum (International Drag Racing Hall of Fame)

Don Garlits Museum (International Drag Racing Hall of Fame)

Ocala, FL
Monday, February 10, 2020
Photos by: Bob Steinhaus

Unassuming from the outside except for a fighter jet displayed near the entrance, the two museum buildings are stuffed with race cars and the history of the sport from its infancy, thanks to one of its first pioneers. He was known to most as just Big Daddy, a name he received from a race track announcer after setting a new track record, and it just stuck. Starting with the first drag racing cars and going through his years of wrecks, injuries and victories, Garlits was a man of many firsts in the sport and a man also known for his innovations, both good and bad. The worst was his design for a two-speed transmission for a dragster, or the famous bomb. While in staging, the transmission blew up at 8,000 rpms, cutting the car in half. Don lost part of his right foot and fans in the stands were seriously injured with flying debris. As Don laid in a hospital bed, he thought of the safest design for a AA dragster, putting the engine behind the driver, and history was born. Now in his 80’s and almost deaf, he is still trying to break drag racing speed records, this time in an electric rail dragster. He is trying to break 200 miles per hour, and probably will. God speed, Big Daddy. Enjoy the pics!

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