Don Prudhomme Snake Racing
NHRA 3rd Greatest | Inducted: 1991, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2000, International Motorsports Hall of Fame | International Drag Racing Hall of Fame
1997, SEMA Hall of Fame | 1997, Hot Rod Magazine Hall of Fame
2007 Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award
2009 Top Fuel Driver: Spencer Massey | ESPN Video: Get to know Spencer Massey
01.29.09: Spencer Massey to Drive for Don Prudomme in NHRA's Top Fuel
Spencer Massey(1) is on the verge of becoming the next big thing in drag racing, but we got a pretty good idea last summer that he already was well on his way. Massey, of Dallas, rolled into U.S. 131 Motorsports Park last August and won the Nitro Top Fuel division title at Martin Dragway's annual Northern Nationals. Massey, 26, went on to win the International Hot Rod Association Top Fuel championship in his rookie season. Even bigger things are in store for Massey this season. Massey has been hired to drive the Don Prudhomme Racing Top Fuel Dragster in the National Hot Rod Association. Massey has replaced Larry Dixon(2), who drove that dragster to a second-place finish in points a year ago.
Life comes at you fast on the dragstrip. It also comes at you fast off the track, now that Massey has landed one of the most high profile rides in the business. Massey was on Wednesday's NHRA teleconference, helping give insight to the fast approaching season. The 2009 NHRA Full Throttle season opens with the Feb. 8 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. "It has been a dream come true," Massey said. "Last year, the deal with the IHRA wasn't supposed to happen. I got my license on a Monday and went to my first race five days later and ended up bringing home the trophy, and it kind of snowballed. This is how this deal (with Prudhomme) has been like. "It has been unbelievable that all this has happened. It is something I have dreamed about and wanted to do since I was four years old, to drive a Top Fuel dragster. I'm in awe, and very honored and blessed to be in the position I am, driving for Don The Snake."
(1) When Spencer said in his video that legendary Texan nitro hydroplane drag boat and NHRA Top Fuel driver Eddie Hill
was his hero, he made my "A List". See Eddie "The Thrill" Hill post following the next post.
(2) Larry Dixon bought out his contract with Snake so he could driver the Top Fuel dragster for the new Al-Anabi Racing team. Driving for Snake Racing, Larry was NHRA Top Fuel World Champion 2002 and 2003. No hard feelings between the two and Top Fuel greatly needs Qatar based Anabi Racings sponsorship money. - fla
Outstanding new NHRA "Full Throttle" commercial
featuring Don "The Snake" Prudhomme talking about his early days of drag racing. - 5 Stars, fla Heres another great Full Throttle commercial
Don Prudhomme: February 5, 2009 at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and 1968
Theres about a 130 years of combined NHRA drag racing experience between these
three super-legends. And, they still attend almost every NHRA National Championship event.
Theyre a major reason I still heavily attend NHRA events - fla
(Left to Right) Connie The Bounty Hunter Kalitta (Team Owner),
Don The Snake Prudhomme (Team Owner), and,
Ed The Ace McCulloch (Co-Team Owner, Crew Chief)
posted on 03/14/2009 5:17:11 PM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
Those other two new high dollar limited edition Ford Mustangs
.. theyre for wimps. You need the new Shelby GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition to haul the groceries.
02.06.09: Shelby unleashes 750-horsepower GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition
Wally Parks Motorsports Museum Presentation Video
Below is a combination of three articles I cut and snipped together and photos we mastered. - fla
Tonight at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, Carroll Shelby and Co. unveiled what is by far the most radical Mustang ever built for the street. Named after Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, who drove a top fuel car for Shelby in the 1968 season. The street-legal dragster features Ford's 5.4L V-8 wearing a Kenny Bell supercharger and custom ram air intake that pokes through the hood. For everyday shenanigans, this combination is good for 750 hp on 93 octane, but drop by the dragstrip, slap on the slicks and top off the tank with race gas and you'll run sub-10 second quarter-miles with over 800 hp on tap.
Putting that kind of power down and keeping the car straight are difficult tasks, but the team at Shelby was up to the challenge. They fitted the 2007-2009 style Mustang GT500 with a Ford Racing 3.73 rear end, a big rear wing, a short-throw shifter, a Borla side-exhaust kit, a strut tower brace, a caster/camber kit, adjustable front struts, a custom rear lower control arm with a solid third link, six-piston brake calipers up front, Bogart custom wheels and a set of boost, fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges to keep track of it all. Inside, Shelby ditched the rear seats, installed an eight-point roll cage and replaced the front seats with racing units. Of course, it wouldn't be a Shelby Mustang if it didn't have a little show with its go. The Super Snake gets a special tilt front end, a new rear fascia, new rockers, aluminum quarter window inserts and special paint and graphics. All said and done, a turn-key car will set you back $145,995, though if you already have a GT500 you'd like converted, you can have it made-over for just $99,995. You'd better hurry, though, because Shelby is only planning to make 100 of these cars.
"Working with Don on this project was a great experience for our design team," noted Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles. "Carroll and Don earned their stripes in competition over the years, so we had to build a car that would continue their racing domination. Our Prudhomme Edition GT500 Super Snake builds on that legacy and gives Shelby enthusiasts today a way to rule the quarter mile in their town." By the mid-1960s, Carroll Shelby and Don Prudhomme were both at the top of their respective games. Prudhomme was one of the winningest Top Fuel drag racers in the country. Shelby was a racer-turned-builder of Cobras, GT40s and Mustangs who won endurance and road racing championships worldwide. His company even offered drag racing packages for privateers to compete in their Cobra or Shelby Mustang on the strip. "The Snake" and the Cobra's creator teamed in 1968 for an NHRA ride. Prudhomme's Ford Cammer-powered rail made its debut as "Shelby's Super Snake at the 1968 Winternationals. He won the race and drove the rest of the season under the Shelby banner.
Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's successful racing career included winning the NHRA funny car championship four times. He was the first funny car driver to exceed 250 mph. In 1994, he began managing his own racing team, which won the Top Fuel championship in 2002 and 2003 (with driver Larry Dixon fla). Prudhomme was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000.
posted on 03/14/2009 5:18:09 PM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
Eddie "The Thrill" Hill a.k.a. Eddie "The Texan" Hill
NHRA 14th Greatest | 2002 Inducted, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2000 Inducted, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame | 2007 Induced, Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame
On numerous Texas occasions, I watched Eddie race nitro hydroplane drag boats. I also watched him race at eleven NHRA Championship Drag Racing events. He was based out of Wichita Falls, where he and wife Ercie still resides. No one has every ruled the liquid quarter mile like Eddie. As I stated in my drag racing background, I hung round a Houston nitro drag boat owner from 16-22 years old. He was the one that taught me how to build big block supercharged drag racing engines. Eddie had some bad crashes due to his experimental hull designs. He finally got the hull right and the rest is history. As you can see in the below photos, the drivers were totally exposed, compared to today's nitro hydroplane drag boats where the driver sits in an enclosed cockpit/capsule and wears a fighter pilot style oxygen mask. Observe how small the seat is and there was no seat belt. The idea back then was, in the event of a bad crash, the driver wanted to be thrown from the boat so he would not be hit by the disintegrating boat and engine. As racing technology progressed, drivers wore special life vests/suits with wide straps around the arms and legs to help keep their body in a ball position when they hit the water. Drivers also wore a parachute on their back tethered to the front of the engine, along with a kill-switch tether. If the driver was thrown out of the boat the chute would automatically deploy and hopefully pull him away from the wreckage. Sometimes they worked, sometimes nitro hydro drivers ended up in the morgue.
I remember that Eddie didn't like some of these protection innovations and would not use them because he felt they were too cumbersome/restrictive. One of the things that impressed me about Eddie's later generation custom hydroplane boats was the higher fiberglass deck in front of the driver, and he sat further down in the boat. Some of the other guys' nitro hydroplanes, particularly the 18 feet length boats, the drivers sat so far above the boat the steering wheel was at the level of their exposed knees and upper legs. I referred to these boats as a fiberglass shingle with a nitro mountain motor strapped on. I hated some of the 18 ft hydros as opposed to the 20 and 21 ft ones. About the only thing they were good for was seriously injuring/killing drivers and fishing $30,000 nitro motors off the bottom of the lake/river. Bottom-line, this was/is an extremely dangerous crazy person sport. However, speed on water is a whole different adrenaline rush than speed on land. Guess that's why this is my 3rd season to race an offshore superboat which cranks around 3,000 combined horsepower from a pair of engines, each with twin superchargers. - fla
On display at Eddie Hill's Fun Cycles (motorcycle/off-road) dealership in Wichita Falls, Texas. ~ "I built, owned, tuned, and drove this Kurtis 500 Top Fuel Hydro with a 500 cubic inch blown Hemi. It was in the Guinness Book of World Records for ten years as The World's Fastest Propeller-Driven Boat, with a quarter mile speed of 229 MPH." - Eddie Hill
Eddie "The Texan" Hill - Class: Blown Fuel Hydro
May 2008 Video from Eddie's 1st Show and Shine! (drag boats expo) in front of his motorcycle dealership.
Eddie firing up his new 540 CID blown gas hydroplane "playboat" - Here's photos provided by Eddie.
May 2008; Eddie 72 years young in his new hydro playboat
Eddie Hill & Proud Mary firing her vintage Blown Fuel Hydro
In the second video, the wing on the "shovelnose" hydro is interesting. You rarely saw these wings on hydros only on flat bottom nitro drag boats, because they messed up a nitro hydroplane boat's aerodynamics. During a quarter mile hydro run, only the tips of the sponsons and 1/2 the prop(s) (two are used today) should be in the water. Hydros get their speed from riding on air trapped underneath the boat. When the "pickle fork" hydroplane drag boat hulls became available all the top nitro owners/drivers I knew/watched used them, like Eddie. I still saw shovelnose hydros at the drag races, but the nitro drag boat owner I personally knew said they, and the winged flat bottom nitro drag boats, were more dangerous than the "pickle fork" hydroplanes that went substantially faster. It's because of the water friction on the hull. He said that before I met him, when I was 16, he ran a nitro flat bottom drag boat. But drivers keep quitting on him because the boat was too dangerous so he moved up to a Blown Fuel Hydro. - fla From NHRA's 14th Greatest Driver, Eddie Hill's Drag Boat Career
- - While attending his first drag-boat race in Austin, Texas, in 1974, one of the first things Hill witnessed was a driver being catapulted from his boat in a crash. Hill thought the participants were crazy, but less than a month later, Hill was racing his own boat. "Once I hit the water with the boat, I never went back to motorcycles," Hill recalled. "The power, speed, and acceleration were all things that I had missed since I quit drag racing."
Beginning with a non-blown gas hydroplane, Hill won on his first time out in Oklahoma City, and at his third race, he set the class speed record. In his second year, he set the Southern Drag Boat Association (SDBA) speed record at 137.46 mph. Using the same boat, Hill switched to nitromethane in 1976 and set the SDBA record at 171.81 mph, and in 1977, he set the National Drag Boat Association (NDBA) record at 170.45 mph. He also won the SDBA high-point championship and the NDBA World Fuel & Gas Championships both years.
From 1978 to 1984, Hill raced blown-fuel hydroplanes. His all-white boats soon dominated the liquid quarter-mile. In seven years, he won 55 of 103 races and won every major race at least once. He won the biggest race, the NDBA Nationals, four times, including three straight from 1982 to 1984. In 1983 and 1984, he won the World Series of Drag Boat Racing championship, a yearlong series of races that included two races from each of the sport's four sanctioning bodies. In those two years, he raced in the final round of 29 of 34 races, winning 17 times. He was American Drag Boat Association (ADBA) world champion four times and the SDBA top points earner five consecutive years.
When he returned to the solid quarter-mile in 1985 and ran the first four, Hill already had put his name in another prominent record book for an equally notorious record in boats. On Sept. 5, 1982, Hill became the fastest quarter-mile boat racer with an NDBA record of 229.00 mph in Chowchilla, Calif. The feat was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records and was not broken for 10 years. Hill also set speed records that year in the SDBA (220.76 mph), the ADBA (215.82), and the International Hot Boat Association (212.78 mph) to become the only racer to hold records in all four associations at the same time. Hill would race boats for another two years but not before becoming the first to cover the liquid quarter-mile in less than six seconds. Later, his e.t. record of 5.16 at Firebird Lake in Chandler, Ariz., was quicker than the NHRA Top Fuel record of 5.39 set by Gary Beck.
In October 1984, Hill quit boat racing after a severe crash, not to mention the fact that the earnings from all his wins over the years had only been a break-even proposition. He was clocked at 217 mph that fateful day at Firebird Lake when he was pitched through the hull and into the lake. He suffered seven broken bones, a concussion, injuries to his eyes, and multiple cuts and contusions. He spent five days in the hospital and wasn't fully healed for a year, but he did ride a motorcycle in pain six weeks after the crash.
"The blown-fuel hydro was a pretty thrilling ride," Hill said. "It would jump up on top of the water and dance around. You really never knew for sure if you were going to make it to the other end. Of course, a lot of guys didn't, myself included, but it was a heck of a ride."
# # # # #
Legend years, Eddie and Ercie Hill. She met him at a drag boat race and they have been together ever since. Ercie is walking around in the 2008 videos I posted above. Eddie will be 73 years young on March 6th and looks great. I'm not exactly sure of Ercie's age. She's a native Floridian and if I remember right she's 10-11 years younger than Eddie. Several of the drag boat owners and drivers had smoking hot goddess wives and girlfriends, along with other babes in attendance. One of the advantages of summer drag boat racing, over NHRA, is there was always hot women in skimpy bikinis in attendance. And sometimes they were drunk, *lol*. Did you know that males highest levels of testosterone, for their entire life, are in their late teen years? Here's some "The Texan" in action FlA & Co. mastered and edited photos. - fla
'08 Top Fuel Hydro Drag Boats. Quarter mile World Record 4.58 ET @ 270.2 MPH
Here's a current photo of a 18 ft. blown fuel hydro "death wish" drag boat.
posted on 03/14/2009 5:19:56 PM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
To: WestCoastGal; tubebender; Loud Mime
Here's a good article I have in my '09 NHRA To-Post Folder. One of 62 items that have already accumulated this season.
"The Snake" was Famous for Lightning Reflexes and Biting Remarks
Las Vegas Review-Journal by Otto Stein
Apr. 17, 2009
"The Snake" hated being second best and wasn't shy about letting people know
They called him "The Snake" because of his cobra-quick reflexes, but it was his will to win that proved to be the biggest factor in Don Prudhomme's remarkable career in drag racing. He simply hated to be second. "I raced for the sheer thrill of driving and winning," he once told a reporter. "I certainly didn't get into drag racing for money because it just wasn't there at the time ... just trophies. That didn't do much for me, but the winning certainly did." When the National Hot Rod Association named him the sport's third greatest driver as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, he was only half joking when he asked for a recount. "A drag racer is never happy if he's not No. 1," Prudhomme said at the time. "I'm not happy with it; you always want to be No. 1."
Happy or not, The Snake has had a remarkable 40-year run in drag racing, ending in 1994, and everyone has recognized his success and longevity as a driver and team owner. It normally takes a lifetime for someone to gain legendary status in his or her chosen field. The Snake, now 68, had already achieved fame and notoriety while barely out of his teens. He had grown up in the San Fernando Valley of California, just north of Los Angeles, where it was cool to have the hottest set of wheels in town. On Saturday night, a bunch of the boys would gather on some straight stretch of blacktop, somewhere off the beaten path, to see who was king of the streets. Then they would spend the next six days working on their cars after school and try again the following weekend.
"The image of drag racing was grease and leather jackets and a package of Pall Malls rolled up in the sleeve of your T-shirt," Prudhomme once told the Indianapolis Star newspaper after leaving the driver's seat for a role as team owner. After testing his fangs racing between orange groves, The Snake was ready to strike. In 1960, he quit his job at a paint shop to work for "TV" Tommy Ivo, who was then already an established drag racer and the sport's first touring professional. Although not keen on his role as a helper with Ivo, Prudhomme stuck it out, determined to learn the finer points of drag racing. By 1962, he served notice that there was a new kid in town. Prudhomme had bought his first dragster from Ivo, replaced the original Buick engine with a supercharged 392-cubic-inch Chrysler V-8 and took on a field of 90 entries in the prestigious Smokers March Meet in Bakersfield, Calif. He won. He was just 20 years old, three years younger than legendary drag-racing great Don Garlits was when he won his first March shootout.
Prudhomme would best Garlits again a few years later, becoming the first drag racer to sweep the NHRA Winternationals and U.S. Nationals, the only two national events at the time. Following the Bakersfield meet, Prudhomme was asked to drive what would become the famed Greer, Black and Prudhomme top-fuel dragster in the highest class in drag racing. The car was so dominant, recording a 230-7 win-loss record between 1963 and 1964, that it usually only made headlines on the rare occasion when it was actually defeated. The dragster consistently ran the quarter mile, the yardstick in drag racing, in the high-seven-second range, and at more than 190 mph. It became the stepping-stone to his renowned ride with Roland Leong and his Hawaiian Punch top-fuel dragster, which The Snake drove to sweep the NHRA's national events in 1965.
By the time he retired from driving at the end of the 1994 season, The Snake had racked up 49 NHRA victories in the Top Fuel dragster (14) and Funny Car closed-body divisions (35). He also became the first driver to record four straight NHRA Winston Funny Car championships (1975-'78) and the first to record a five-second quarter-mile funny car run when he turned a 5.98 at the NHRA World Finals in 1975. He was also the first under 5.20, and piloted the first funny car past the 250-mph mark. While no drag racer has gone undefeated during an NHRA season, Prudhomme came closest in the mid-1970s when he won six of eight national events in 1975 and seven of eight in 1976, driving his nearly unstoppable Army Monza funny cars. Overall, The Snake won 389 of 589 races for a winning percentage of .660.
When he ended his remarkable driving career with his "Final Snake Tour," Prudhomme did so in a cloud of vaporized rubber, winning three NHRA races and finishing second in the points.
posted on 06/11/2009 9:30:50 AM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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