Fans will be treated to a glimpse of drag-racing racing history at the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 29-31, as Infineon Raceway honors three of the sport’s biggest names.

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will take center stage at Infineon Raceway as part of the raceway’s Legends in Sonoma program.

The season-long program has been a huge hit thus far, featuring NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett at the Toyota/Save Mart 350. The lineup for the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals is just as impressive with Garlits, Muldowney and Prudhomme. It should make for a perfect race weekend as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011.

The drivers will be featured throughout the weekend, including an autograph session with Muldowney at the Wine Country Winner’s Circle on Friday at 5:30 p.m., as well as an autograph and Track Talk Q&A session on Saturday at 12:45 p.m., also at the Wine Country Winner’s Circle.

Race fans looking for even more access should check out the O'Reilly Auto Parts Legends in Sonoma ticket package. It includes a reserved ticket on Sunday, July 31, a track walk/Q&A with the three legends on the drag strip and an all-day Thunder Alley pass for just $80.


Here’s a glimpse at the incredible racing histories of the three racers:

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits
The name “Big Daddy” Don Garlits is synonymous with drag racing, and he is often referred to as the father of the sport.  Garlits’ series of hand-fabricated Swamp Rat dragsters, which helped perfect the rear-engine Top Fuel dragster design, carried him to 144 national event wins and three NHRA Top Fuel Championships, the last at age 54. Garlits was the first drag racer to officially surpass the 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, 260, and 270 mph marks on the quarter mile. He has been inducted in numerous halls of fame and has won numerous awards during his career.

Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney
Also known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” Shirley Muldowney is a pioneer in professional auto racing and raced equally against men for more than 40 years.  She won NHRA Top Fuel Championships in 1977, 1980 and 1982, becoming the first person to win two and three Top Fuel titles, and she won a total of 18 NHRA national events. Muldowney retired from professional drag racing in 2003 with the “Last Pass Tour.”

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme
Don “The Snake” Prudhomme logged 32 seasons behind the wheel as one of the sport’s elite drivers and more than 13 seasons as a team owner.  Snake’s remarkable driving career began in 1962 with his first Top Fuel victory at “Smokers March Meet” in Bakersfield, and ended with 49 NHRA career victories and four Funny Car championships.  Prudhomme also posted two Top Fuel championships as an owner with Larry Dixon in 2002 and 2003.  He is also the only driver to win in two professional categories in Sonoma – Funny Car (1989) and Top Fuel (1992) and will be inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame this weekend.

24th annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
WHAT: Big O Tires Racing Season Presents: FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
WHEN: July 29-31
CIRCUIT: Drag strip
2010 TOP QUALIFIERS: Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Allen Johnson (Pro Stock); Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
2010 WINNERS: Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
TICKETS: $50-$60 single day/$135 weekend; parking is FREE