"Big Daddy" Don Garlits and Darrell "The Kid" Gwynn Go Toe-to-Toe at zMAX Dragway
Reviving a rivalry from the 1980s, two legendary drag racers, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Darrell “The Kid” Gwynn, will face off during the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at zMAX Dragway.
The legends will pilot two specially-built, battery-powered dragsters, with paint schemes similar to the machines they raced in their heyday and will compete three times, once each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the event weekend.
Garlits, known far and wide as "Big Daddy," was named the number one, all-time greatest drag racer by the NHRA in 2001. His career achievements include three NHRA Top Fuel championships between 1975 and 1986.
Gwynn earned his nickname, “The Kid,” for success early in his career. By age 28, he had earned 28 NHRA national event wins. His career was cut short in 1990, when he was paralyzed and lost part of his left arm in an accident at a race in England. In 2002 he created the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. The charity’s mission is to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for paralysis.
The two will join “TV” Tommy Ivo to be honored in the NHRA’s 60th anniversary celebration, Ivo will travel from his home in California to celebrate his “last hurrah” on the east coast. Throughout his career, Ivo match raced at drag strips across the United States, in everything from dragsters to Funny Cars to jet dragsters, against stars such as Garlits and Shirley Muldowney. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America as well as the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Garlits, Gwynn and Ivo will be at the Bellagio of drag strips Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18, during the event weekend signing autographs for fans, and Ivo and Garlits will participate in the Legends Track Walk down the concrete quarter-mile on Sunday, Sept. 18. The track walk, honoring the 60th anniversary of the NHRA, will be hosted by NHRA announcer and journalist Bob Frey. Fans who purchase a reserved-seat Sunday grandstand ticket can share a walk down the Bellagio of drag strips with some of the biggest names in drag racing history.
The six-race NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship postseason begins when the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to zMAX Dragway, Sept. 15-18, for the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
In honor of the NHRA's 60th anniversary, fans can purchase two tickets to any day for a total of only $60 and receive a choice of a free upgrade: two 60th anniversary hats; two 60th anniversary shirts; two beer vouchers; or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two hot dogs. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.zMAXDragway.com.