Don Prudhomme

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Don Prudhomme
Prudhomme in his dragster before a run in 1992
NationalityAmerican/French Creole
Born (1941-04-06) April 6, 1941 (age 78)
San Fernando, California
Retired1994 (as racer), 2010 (as owner)
Funny Car
Years active1960s to 1994 (driver) 1970s-2010 as Owner
Best finish1st (4 times) in 1975-1978
2000International Motorsports Hall of Fame

Don Prudhomme (born April 6, 1941, San Fernando, California), nicknamed "The Snake", is an American drag racer.

He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991.[1]

Racing career[edit]

Prudhomme's Top Fuel dragster in 1992

Prudhomme crewed for "TV Tommy" Ivo on Ivo's twin-engined slingshot in 1960.[2]

In 1962, Prudhomme was a partner in the Greer-Black-Prudhomme fuel digger, which earned the best win record in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) history,[3] before switching to Funny Car. He would win the NHRA FC championship four times in his 35-year career. He earned the nickname "The Snake" in high school. He was the first Funny Car driver to exceed 250 mph (400 km/h).[citation needed]

After trouble getting the "vaunted" Gilmore Engineering-chassied Donovan Engineering Special dragster sorted out, Tom McEwen quit, and was replaced by Prudhomme, then owner-driver in the B&M Tork Master-sponsored car.[4]

In 1965, Prudhomme faced Hot Wheels teammate McEwen at the Hot Rod Magazine Championship Drag Races, held at Riverside, "one of the most significant drag racing events" of that era;[5] ultimately, Top Fuel Eliminator (TFE) went to Jim Warren.[6]

He raced a Shelby Super Snake in the 1968 and 1969 seasons, powered by a Ford engine instead of the ubiquitous Chrysler Hemi. When Ford discontinued the program, Prudhomme went into the "Snake and Mongoo$e" phase of his career.[7]

Prudhomme was known for his yellow 1970 Plymouth Barracuda in which he match raced 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, released in 1970. Hot Wheels celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2005 with a two-day event.

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. In 2019 Don Prudomme currently sponsors and built the Montana Brand / John Force Racing Top fuel dragster driven by Austin Prock in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series


Prudhomme's accomplishments in racing are featured in the 2013 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. The movie was inspired by the book Snake vs. Mongoose: How a Rivalry Changed Drag Racing Forever, written by Tom Madigan.


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.




  1. ^ Motorsports Hall of Fame of America website (retrieved 24 November 2018)
  2. ^ Burgess, Phil, NHRA National Dragster Editor. "Ivo's four-engine enigma" at (retrieved 23 May 2017)
  3. ^ Hot Rod, 12/86, p. 29 sidebar.
  4. ^ Burgess, Phil, National Dragster editor. "The Super Mustang", written 27 April 2018, at (retrieved 16 September 2018)
  5. ^ Taylor, Thom. Untitled item in Hot Rod Magazine, February 2017, p.11.
  6. ^ Taylor, p.11.
  7. ^ Vaughn, Mark (July 11, 2016). "Totally Badass". Autoweek: 6–7.
  8. ^ Don Prudhomme at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

External links[edit]