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Keeping Pace

Don Prudhomme announces retirement from drag racing

Six-time NHRA champion, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, has announced his retirement from the sport ending over five decades of drag racing competition.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, one of the most accomplished drivers and revered team owners in the history of motorsports, announced his retirement today, ending a career spanning five decades in drag racing.

Prudhomme’s 47-year career featured him behind the wheel for 32 seasons before he retired from driving at the end of his 1994 Final Strike campaign. He then transitioned to the role of team owner. Overall, Prudhomme has an impressive combination of six NHRA world championships and 112 national event victories.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to make a living in drag racing and to have enjoyed some success along the way,” said Prudhomme. “I would like to thank all of the great sponsors we’ve worked with over the years, everyone at NHRA, the many track owners, operators, and promoters, our past employees and team members, and all of the drag racing fans that have supported Snake Racing.”

Said NHRA President Tom Compton, “A true legend in the world of motorsports and one of NHRA’s greatest ambassadors and champions, we wish Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme much health and happiness in his retirement. Throughout his nearly 50-year run in NHRA competition, Don elevated the sport with great professionalism, character, and an instinct for winning as one of the greatest drivers of all time and later as a prominent team owner.

“On behalf of everyone within the NHRA community, I want to offer our sincere thanks to Don for all he has done to help guide the sport. The NHRA will forever be extremely grateful for his undying passion, commitment to excellence, and long-term dedication to the sport.”

Career accomplishments and highlights
Career wins/final rounds (driver): 49/68 (35/45 FC, 14/23 TF)
Career wins/final rounds (owner): 63/128 (18/41 FC, 45/87 TF)
Career total victories: 112
Career No. 1 qualifying awards (driver): 58
Career No. 1 qualifying awards (owner): 40
First Professional victory (TF): Bakersfield March Meet (1962)
First NHRA victory (TF): Pomona 1 (1965)
First NHRA victory (FC): Indianapolis (1973)
Best points finish (driver): First (1975-78 FC)
Best points finish (owner): First (2002-03 TF)
Career-best elapsed time (TF): 4.736 (Reading 1994)
Career-best elapsed time (FC): 5.157 (Dallas 1989)
Career-best speed (TF): 302.72 (Brainerd 1994)
Career-best speed (FC): 279.67 (Reading 1989)

• 49 victories (driver)
• 63 victories (owner)
• Eighth-winningest driver in NHRA history (49 wins)
• Fourth-winningest Funny Car driver in NHRA history (35 wins)
• Four NHRA championships as a driver
• Two NHRA championships as an owner
• 1989 NHRA Showdown winner
• Three NHRA Showdown wins as team owner (Ron Capps, 1998-99, 2002)
• Three NHRA Shootout wins as team owner (Larry Dixon, 1995, 2001-02)
• First member of Cragar Five-Second Club (FC, 5.98 seconds, Oct. 12, 1975, Ontario, Calif.)
• First member of Crane Cams Funny Car 250-mph Club (250.00 mph, May 29, 1982, Baton Rouge, La.)
• 15th member of Cragar 4-Second Club (TF, 4.980 seconds, Feb. 2, 1991, Pomona)
• Third member of Slick 50 300-mph Club (301.60 mph, March 6, 1993, Houston)
• First NHRA driver to win in both Top Fuel (1965 Pomona) and Funny Car (1973 Indy)
• Second NHRA driver to qualify No. 1 in both Top Fuel (1965 Pomona) and Funny Car (1970 Ontario)
• One of three driver/owners (John Force and Warren Johnson) to have reached 100 wins
• Still holds the NHRA record with seven consecutive Funny Car national event victories (1975-76)
• Still holds the NHRA record with 30 consecutive Funny Car round-wins (1976-77)
• Still holds the NHRA record with 13 consecutive Funny Car final-round appearances (1975-77)
• Still holds the NHRA record with eight consecutive Funny Car final rounds to start a season (1976)
• Shares the NHRA record at seven consecutive Funny Car No. 1 qualifying positions (1976-77)
• No. 8 all-time with 52 NHRA No. 1 qualifying efforts


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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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