Posts Tagged ‘Snake’

Quarter-Mile Update

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action! Snake and Mongoo$e Motion Picture Moves Forward

Drag Racing prepares to return to the big screen after a 30-year absence. Not since Heart Like A Wheel has our sport received much cinematic attention.

Rhino Films and newly formed shingle Storywise Productions have acquired life-story rights from legendary drag racing rivals Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoo$e” McEwen, and partnered with NHRA to produce a movie about their years revolutionizing one of the world’s most thrilling sports on and off the track. (more…)

A Snookered Snake and Hollywood Here we Come!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Friends of the Goo$e, things have been really hoppin’ these past few weeks and I want to fill you in.

The Snake turned 70 recently and Don’s wife Lynn, daughters Donna and Lynn Rose wanted to do it up right–and they nailed it! (more…)

Inspirational Drag Racing Feature ‘Snake And Mongoose’ Moves Forward

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Story of legendary racing rivals adds Wayne Holloway to direct; Casting underway

Rhino Films and newly formed shingle, Storywise Productions, have acquired life-story rights from legendary drag racing rivals, Don “ The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “ The Mongoose” McEwen and partnered with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to produce a motion picture about their years revolutionizing one of the world’s most thrilling sports on and off the track. (more…)

The Mongoo$e Journals

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Faithfull readers, this edition I have a special event to share with you. Very recently the famous Peterson Automotive Museum hosted a unique affair paying tribute to my old friend, business partner and teammate, “The Snake,” called An Evening with Don Prudhomme. It was held in conjunction with the opening of a major new exhibit commemorating 60 years of NHRA racing. Your old Goo$e was one of the honored guests.  Besides all of the cars on display for the NHRA exhibit, there were half a dozen others, including the Greer Black and Prudhomme dragster that owner Bruce Meyer brought.

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Funny Car Evolution: The Sophisticated 70s

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Courtesy Gerdes/Circus Archives

Part 2 of Drag Racer’s thrilltastic trip in the Funny Car Time Machine

By the early 1970s, Funny Car builders from coast to coast had taken cues from each other’s workmanship and began to standardize their approach to crafting the foundations for these ground-shaking, flip-top, crowd pleasers. We’ll pick up the torch where suspensions were no longer needed and where clutches took the place of over-worked (and over-exploded) automatic transmissions.

NHRA vs. the Match Traveling Circus

Little did we know (at the time) that these entertaining drag racers were actually a nitro-burning “traveling circus.” The only difference was they all went in different directions once the show was over. In 1974, there were only seven NHRA national events. The calendar included: The Winternationals, The Gatornationals, The Springnationals, Le Grand National, The Summernationals, The Nationals, and The World Finals.

The striking “Pepsi Challenger” carried Don “The Snake” Prudhomme on a memorable 5.637-second pass on September 4, 1982 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Once the dust had settled in 1974, Shirl Greer of Warner Robbins, Georgia, was crowned Funny Car champion, following a terrible fire in qualifying and a heroic overnight rebuild (by friends and crew) that saw Greer drive with bandaged hands on race day. That made for an exciting story, and the bucks-down racer proved to be a popular champion, as everyone loves an underdog. Truth be told, the sport is peppered with amazing triumphs such as that.

Referring to one of the old Winston Drag Racing Media Guides, it had a category subtitled, “Milestone Professional Performances,” and the Funny Car section lists: 5.987, Don Prudhomme, October 12, 1975, Ontario, California. “The Snake” also appeared in that same section, thanks to a stellar 5.637 blast on September 4, 1982 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

It would be impossible to count how many active Funny Cars there were nationwide, though the total would be “a bunch.” That said; most racers could travel as little or as much as they wanted for match race bookings. At the time, track promoters had different deals for different drivers. Some, like “The Snake” and “The Mongoo$e” received appearance money, as well as an escalating purse, that increased by the number of rounds won. Other racers may have attracted only the round money, but other incentives were also common, such as tow money and bonus bucks for wild burnouts or wheelstands. Every crafty promoter seemed to have his own package deal … (more…)

Inside Story: How the Mongoose Landed the Hot Wheels Deal

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The Mongoose reveals how he scored cash to buy nitro — & changed drag racing sponsorship forever.

As the old saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness,” but it can sure buy nitro — and snappy Coca-Cola pants to boot!

As drag racing matured, it became much more expensive to be competitive. Equipment manufacturers were building better parts, and now, the stuff was being designed specifically for drag racing. The science of nitro engine development, tuning and chassis design was making rapid advances. Crew chiefs were getting savvier. Drivers, many becoming full-time professionals, were constantly honing their skills.

All this was conspiring to radically improve the performance of Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. This increase in performance came at a cost, though, literally. Racing was getting much more expensive. You could no longer get by on the parts deals doled out by traditional automotive-related sponsors.

This was the state of professional drag racing that brought about the “Hot Wheels Deal.” The whole deal kicked off in late ’69. I realized that if my racing career was going to continue to flourish, it was going to require a major injection of cash. To come up with the kind of money I needed, unconventional thinking (and funding) was required. After doing my homework, Mattel Toys and their highly successful Hot Wheels line of toy cars and accessories seemed like a natural target. The kids raced their cars in a straight line like we raced, and the parents, being about my age, were either already race fans, or at least potential fans. Throw in the Mongoo$e and Snake animals to use as advertising hooks, and it looked like a win-win situation.

Next: Can the Mongoose persuade the skeptical Snake to get on board with the deal? (more…)