Motorsports

‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits, 87, Eyes 200-MPH in Electric Dragster

(Image/Hemmings)

Drag racing legend Don Garlits, 87, plans to pilot his newest electric dragster—Swamp Rat 38—on Saturday at Florida’s Palm Beach International Raceway to a new speed record of 200 miles-per-hour in an all-electric dragster.

Garlits holds the current National Electric Drag Racing Association record of 7.24 seconds at 185.60 mph, which was set in August 2014.

The Swamp Rat 38 weighs 1,000 pounds less than its 2,500-lb. predecessor.

Garlits has a long history of being the first drag racer to hit several major speed barriers, including the 170-, 180-, 240-, 250-, and 270-mph marks.

Hemmings spent time with Garlits during the lead-up to the July 20 speed test, and published an excellent and comprehensive article about the innovations that have gone into these electric dragster builds. You should probably check that out.

Good luck to Garlits and his team. Fast and safe, please.

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16 Comments

  1. Jim Ahern says:

    Go get em Don !!!

  2. Donna Sunderland says:

    If it can be done,,,,,,Don will do it. Good luck and stay safe.

  3. Roger bensen says:

    Keep the hammer down best luck RDB

  4. Arnold d Burkett says:

    Routing for you Don.

  5. running a Dennis Brube Killa Watt Motor……
    good luck Don ….

  6. J Robert Garrett says:

    Big Daddy! Ever the pioneer and innovator. Go get ’em!

  7. The thought of it all is simply electrifying.

  8. Give it hell Big Daddy !!!

  9. 87 years old n still trying to be the fastest! God speed Big Daddy and Swamp Rat 38!

  10. Kenneth McEvoy says:

    Go get em Big Daddy Don. You’ve allways been worth the price of admission. PS. And thank you for the autograph picture you gave me through a mutual friend. Eugene Taylor God rest his soul. I’ve been a fan of yours since the 70s. When I was just old enough to know what drag racing was.

  11. Kevin Wilburn says:

    Good luck Big from Willow President Broken Pistons CC of Tennessee

  12. Lawrence Lohr says:

    You’ve always been an inspiration to alot of car guys. Go do it Big Daddy.

  13. I remember your first app in south tx old Goldn tri drag strip set track record with a broken rear axle what a show

  14. Byron Pearson says:

    If anyone can do it it’s you Don!

  15. Daniel Wilson says:

    As a fan of Top Fuel Drag Racing, I’m very grateful to “Big Daddy” Don Garlits for all of the significant advancements in safety and record setting performance that he has made possible over the many decades of sanctioned competition.

    If and when the powers that be do something unthinkable by outlawing internal combustion engines fueled by nitromethane, the contributions being made by Garlits today to improve the performance of electric “slingshot” type dragsters will become the accepted standard of tomorrow.

    With his previous Electric Dragster record top speed of 185.60 mph at the vehicle weight at 2500 pounds , his new Swamp Rat 38 weighing in at a substantial 1000 pounds less will undoubtedly exceed the 200 mph mark with little difficulty.

    That’s totally Electrifying performance. But for now I’m sticking with the small block Ford stroker and the Superior Cleveland head design for internal combustion domination at the strip.

    And the beat goes on….

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