Route 66 Raceway Finds Home in "Big Daddy" Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing
As part of a year-long celebration of NHRA's 60th-Anniversary season, drag racing's most prolific pioneer, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, served as the honorary legend at the 14th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in 2011. The 35-time NHRA National event winner also competed during the event, driving the Dodge Challenger carrying his trademark moniker, "Swamp Rat XXXV." During Championship Sunday’s pre-race ceremonies, Route 66 Raceway & Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock presented Garlits with a specially framed historic Route 66 Highway marker with an engraved plaque that reads, "Route 66 Raceway Honors Drag Racing Legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Sunday, July 10, 2011." To insure the prized gift safely found its way to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Route 66 Raceway staff member Randy Simpson personally delivered it to Garlits at the museum.
Garlits challenged the status quo throughout his historic career. From his trendsetting success of the rear-engine dragster to the more recent mono-strut wing and closed cockpit dragster, the only constant is Garlits' passion to change, refine and improve the performance of his race cars. Garlits remains active in the sport today, competing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Stock Eliminator category. Garlits also operates the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida.
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