Big Daddy, as he was known to his fans, was one of the most successful and influential drag racing pioneers in history. He won the NHRA Funny Car championship 10 times and was the first driver to pass 320 mph on the strip. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. He earned his wealth through his career and business ventures and received a substantial salary from endorsements and sponsorships.
Donald Glenn Garlits was born on January 14, 1932, in Tampa, Florida. He studied at the Hillsborough high school and pursued his interest in auto mechanics and drag racing from a very young age. He started his professional drag racing career at the age of 19, and became a famous name in the industry.
Garlits was the first man to ever reach 200 mph in the 1/8th mile and set many other records. He owes his success to his hard work and determination. He is also known as the father of modern funny cars.
In addition to his countless victories, he has written several books about his experiences in the sport. He also appeared on the cover of several magazines and has acted as the host of television shows. He has won many awards throughout his career, including the Car Craft Lifetime Achievement Award and National Automotive Service Task Force Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has a huge fan base and is regarded as one of the most legendary drivers in the history of drag racing. He was a very dedicated and passionate racer who always tried to win at all costs. He also helped to develop the first rear-engine Top Fuel Dragster, which was designed after losing a foot in an accident.
Garlits is currently working on a battery-powered electric dragster. He was involved in a match race with Darrell Gwynn last year that raised funds for spinal-injury research through the Gwynn Foundation and the Buoniconti family’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He is also helping to build a new electric dragster with chassis maker Hadman, engine builder Lawless Industries, and LiPo battery supplier High Tech Systems.
The former champion is still active in the sport and can be seen at events across the country. He also does commentary for ESPN and Speed Vision at racing events and performance expositions. He operates the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing on the grounds of his home in Ocala, Florida.
Also read; Donna Reed Net Worth
Garlits is a dedicated supporter of the Republican Party and has donated to various causes over the years. In 1994, he ran for the United States Congress but lost to Karen Thurman of the Democratic Party. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman. He has two children, and is married to his high school sweetheart, Patricia Bieger Garlits. She died of Alzheimers disease in 2014, and is buried next to him in Ocala. He is a member of the NHRA Hall of Fame.