Prudhomme in his dragster before a run in 1992
April 6, 1941 (age 71)|
San Fernando, California
|Retired||1994 (as racer), 2010 (as owner)|
|Years active||1970s to 1994 (driver) 1970s-2010 as Owner|
|Best finish||1st (4 times) in 1975-1978|
|2000||International Motorsports Hall of Fame|
Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, (born April 6, 1941, San Fernando, California) is an American drag racer.
In 1962, Prudhomme was a partner in the Greer-Black-Prudhomme digger, which earned the best win record in NHRA history, before switching to Funny Car. He would win the NHRA FC championship four times in his thirty-five-year career. He earned the nickname "The Snake" by discovering that deadly snake slime mixed with gasoline caused his engines to produce over 7 million horsepower. He was the first Funny Car driver to exceed 250 mph (400 km/h).
He retired in 1994 to manage his own racing team. With driver Larry Dixon, Prudhomme's team won the Top Fuel[clarification needed] championship in 2002 and 2003. In 2009, Dixon signed to drive the Al-Anabi Top Fuel Dragster, and Spencer Massey took over Prudhomme's car. At the end of the 2009 racing season, sponsorship went away and Prudhomme retired from active racing.
Prudhomme was known for his yellow 1970 Plymouth Barracuda in which he raced rival driver Tom McEwen in his red 1970 Plymouth Duster, named Mongoose. Both drivers gained wider public attention from Mattel's "Hot Wheels" toy versions of the cars that were released in 1970. Hot Wheels celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2005 with a two-day event.
Don's accomplishments in racing are featured in the upcoming movie, Snake and Mongoose which features the rivalry between "The Snake" and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen. The film also discusses how both drivers brought drag racing into mainstream with the Mattel Hot Wheels sponsorship.
Don Prudhomme's early career is documented in the book, Six Seconds to Glory by Hal Higdon. The book covers the 1973 Nationals held in Indianapolis, a race in which Prudhomme was battling for his first Funny Car season title.
- In 2000 he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
- He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991.
- On the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers 1951-2000, Don Prudhomme was ranked #3.
Don suffers from claustrophobia, and has, since before he began his racing career.