Don Garlits to Race at $2000 Challenge

Our $2000 Challenge Presented by CRC Industries always attracts big names–names like Andrew Nelson, who ran a blistering 9.52-second quarter-mile pass in a car built for less than $2000–but this year will be one for the record-books. 

To provide a benchmark for the drag racing portion of our three-part competition, Big Daddy Don Garlits, widely known as the father of drag racing, will hit the starting line to try and best our fastest competitors's times at the $2000 Challenge. And it will be a tight race, too–Garlits will be driving the Dream Giveaway Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Extreme, meaning our competitors will need to bring their A-game if they want to beat the "King of the Dragsters."

Even better: You can win the car he'll be driving! It's being given away, and you can use the promo code "Grassroots" to get double tickets! Get tickets right here. 

As always, the $2000 Challenge is free to spectators, and returns to Gainesville Raceway Friday, October 25. Find spectator info here

Never heard of Don Garlits? Check out his biography here; it’s a seriously cool read. The $2000 Challenge is presented by CRC Industries, in association with Miller Electric and with trophies by Copart and White Pony Absorbent Products. You can learn more and register your car right here.

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Comments
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Woody
Woody MegaDork
10/7/19 10:23 a.m.

Are you berkeleying kidding me, man?! Holy E36 M3.

Good get  

 (checks calendar and work schedule ...)

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/7/19 10:24 a.m.

surprise

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
10/7/19 10:30 a.m.

How am i the first person to upvote this? This is cool!!

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/7/19 10:31 a.m.

I seem to remember that passengers are allowed on the dragstrip?  Right?  

DIBS!  

 

tomtomgt356
tomtomgt356 Reader
10/7/19 10:33 a.m.

Will he be doing the autocross as well?

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte UltraDork
10/7/19 10:33 a.m.

Seems like there should be a " X seconds per $ over budget " handicap here. My money is on the Nelson bunch dollar for dollar at this venue and  I consider  Big Daddy a legendary giant in motorsports, a true pioneer that cut a wide swath. What a shootout!

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/7/19 10:36 a.m.

Can he judge concourse too? I mean, he is such an innovator and game changer over the years, it would be cool for him to judge tbe challenge innovation. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/7/19 10:38 a.m.

Garlits is a busy, busy guy, so I'm not exactly sure how much of his time we'll have outside of those drag passes. But it's still the coolest thing ever that he'll be at the event, right? It's up to you all to convince him to stay for the Concours!

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
10/7/19 11:07 a.m.

I am working, and won't be able to attend this year. Let me put a plug in for the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.

It's in Ocala, about a 30-minute drive down I-75 from Gainesville.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/7/19 11:09 a.m.

Wow. That's the man.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
10/7/19 11:13 a.m.

Big Daddy is the nicest man you will ever meet. 

30 years ago I was working the front desk at the Clarion (it's now a Marriott or something...) in Ontario, CA, and most of the racers at the Winter Nationals and Winston Finals (bonus points for anyone who remembers what the product was!) stayed at the hotel, and there he was!!!

I asked Big Daddy if I could get an autograph.   He said he didn't do autographs, but he'd be happy to chat with me if I had the time.   I had one more person to help, and he waited at the end of the desk for me. 

Talked with him for about 20 min.

Couldn't tell you anything we talked about, but, to this day, I remember the warmth and friendliness given to a pin head 22 year old by THE Legend in drag racing.

I'll never forget it. Thanks Big Daddy!!!

Please tell him thank you, thank you, thank you from said pin head.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
10/7/19 11:29 a.m.

So cool!

slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
10/7/19 11:32 a.m.

Wow, this is super cool.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Dork
10/7/19 11:38 a.m.

A big "gain" for Gainesville this year.  Having Big Daddy, will certainly draw a lot of interest into the Drag portion of the Challenge.  As I am approaching my 7th decade, he was a teenage hero of mine. Happy that he's still at it.   Maybe he can be "bribed" into judging at the Concourse.

jharry3
jharry3 HalfDork
10/7/19 11:46 a.m.

Now if you could just get Shirley Muldowney...

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
10/7/19 11:50 a.m.

Wait, if you show up with a Mopar he will sign it?

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid HalfDork
10/7/19 12:06 p.m.

This is awesome!! Can't wait.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/7/19 12:08 p.m.

Wow, that is awesome!

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/7/19 12:17 p.m.
jharry3 said:

Now if you could just get Shirley Muldowney...

Dude.

 

Do this. have them race.

 

I'm not in, but this would be the only way I'd let a pro drive my car at the dragstrip.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/7/19 12:22 p.m.

Awesome. Already was scheming on how to get the crew to his museum just down the road. I heard that if you put a group together he would come out and do the guide thing in person.

 

Pete

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/7/19 12:27 p.m.

Of all the berkeleying years for me not to finish my primary car...

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
10/7/19 12:28 p.m.
Jordan Rimpela said:

Never heard of Don Garlits?

???
 

Turn in your car guy card.  HGTV forum has a great thread about the Brady Bunch renovation. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/7/19 12:31 p.m.

So excited!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/7/19 12:32 p.m.

Can we get him to go head-to-head with Andrew Nelson??

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
10/7/19 12:36 p.m.
Floating Doc said:

I am working, and won't be able to attend this year. Let me put a plug in for the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.

It's in Ocala, about a 30-minute drive down I-75 from Gainesville.

^^^^ Anyone who's never been there should visit the museum if the opportunity arises.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
10/7/19 1:14 p.m.

Very awesome. Can't wait!

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/7/19 2:38 p.m.

Hold my beer... I got this. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/7/19 3:16 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Garlits is a busy, busy guy, so I'm not exactly sure how much of his time we'll have outside of those drag passes. But it's still the coolest thing ever that he'll be at the event, right? It's up to you all to convince him to stay for the Concours!

I bet when Andy drops the hammer and tears down the hellcat he'll want to see what just happened. 

 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/7/19 3:18 p.m.
Patrick said:

Of all the berkeleying years for me not to finish my primary car...

Call out sick for the rest of the month? 

 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/7/19 4:04 p.m.
Mndsm said:
Patrick said:

Of all the berkeleying years for me not to finish my primary car...

Call out sick for the rest of the month? 

 

Doesnt work when you're self employed 

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
10/7/19 4:11 p.m.
Patrick said:
Mndsm said:
Patrick said:

Of all the berkeleying years for me not to finish my primary car...

Call out sick for the rest of the month? 

 

Doesnt work when you're self employed 

That means you work for an shiny happy person who won't pay you for time off.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
10/7/19 4:16 p.m.
jharry3 said:

Now if you could just get Shirley Muldowney...

Shirley Muldowney was mean.   To be fair, I think she still had pain from the wreck and surgeries. 

And then someone broke in to her husband's Corvette.  She was REALLY not happy then...

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/7/19 6:13 p.m.

Big Daddy?

Get.

The.

Berk.

Out.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/7/19 6:21 p.m.

This is rad. 

I'm excited. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
10/7/19 6:57 p.m.

This is absolutely fantastic!!!  He is an automotive God!!!!  

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/7/19 7:03 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

This is rad. 

I'm excited. 

Think he'll sign my benz?  Someone bring a silver sharpie 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/7/19 7:14 p.m.
Patrick said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

This is rad. 

I'm excited. 

Think he'll sign my benz?  Someone bring a silver sharpie 

I can do better than Silver. I have actual chrome markers. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/7/19 7:21 p.m.

Other than yourself, who do you want to see line up in the other lane? Why?

I'll go first. 

Calvin Nelson - the Nelsons elevated the drag racing portion of this event and showed what could be done with $2k. I pick Calvin because the only thing better than doing something awesome is watching your kid do something awesome. 

Wreck Racing - The Georgia Tech kids are rad and are consistently on the pointy end. They also bring a HUGE cheering section and their own couch. 

 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
10/7/19 8:00 p.m.

Wow.

 

That is all I can say. Wow, and congrats to GRM for making that happen.

packrat
packrat New Reader
10/7/19 8:38 p.m.

This is awesome.  How cool to have a legend running with us.  Nice work GRM.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/7/19 8:48 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

Other than yourself, who do you want to see line up in the other lane? Why?

I'll go first. 

Calvin Nelson - the Nelsons elevated the drag racing portion of this event and showed what could be done with $2k. I pick Calvin because the only thing better than doing something awesome is watching your kid do something awesome. 

Wreck Racing - The Georgia Tech kids are rad and are consistently on the pointy end. They also bring a HUGE cheering section and their own couch. 

 

The obvious selection would be Andy Nelson- because it's Andy. A less obvious choice would be Pat (Lawson? ) SDAC Pat. The one that had the 11 second Shadow or whatever it was. I'd LOVE to see a FWD E36 M3box tree a Redeye. 

 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/7/19 8:57 p.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

Pat Culkin, and they are registered with the chrysler 300 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/7/19 9:12 p.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Thank you good sir. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
10/7/19 9:44 p.m.

I hope I'm half as active as Don when I'm 87 years old.

bigben
bigben Reader
10/7/19 11:54 p.m.

So, who`s going to set the benchmark time for the autocross? And what will they be driving? 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
10/8/19 5:41 a.m.

Holy crap. You guys rock.

The museum is well worth the time and expense to get there.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/8/19 7:56 a.m.

In reply to bigben :

I predict a v6 miata

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/8/19 7:58 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I have imagined some cool photo-ops... 

How about a frame with two pictures.  In pic #1 it is two cars at the christmas tree.  Big Daddy stand at his headlight with a hand on the hood.  Calvin stands at his headlight with his hand on his hood and Andrew stands behind Calvin with his hand on Calvin's shoulder.  Logo'ing for Gator Nationals is is the background.    

Pic #2 is an action shot with both cars just past the christmas tree.  In my dream version of the photo, Calvin's car is just slightly ahead of Big Daddy's because Calvin got the jump on him with a better reaction time!  

Mounted then in the frame is the time slip which is signed by Big Daddy.   

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/8/19 7:58 a.m.
Patrick said:

In reply to bigben :

I predict a v6 miata

Nah. Datsaniti. Mines slow.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
10/8/19 8:14 a.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I have imagined some cool photo-ops... 

How about a frame with two pictures.  In pic #1 it is two cars at the christmas tree.  Big Daddy stand at his headlight with a hand on the hood.  Calvin stands at his headlight with his hand on his hood and Andrew stands behind Calvin with his hand on Calvin's shoulder.  Logo'ing for Gator Nationals is is the background.    

Pic #2 is an action shot with both cars just past the christmas tree.  In my dream version of the photo, Calvin's car is just slightly ahead of Big Daddy's because Calvin got the jump on him with a better reaction time!  

Mounted then in the frame is the time slip which is signed by Big Daddy.   

 

I'd love to see Calvin wheels up just a little bit. Little ol gapperoni between the fronts and the pavement. 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
10/8/19 8:20 a.m.

If Don points to you car and says "that would go faster if..." you should listen. 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/8/19 8:28 a.m.

Honestly just want to get my picture with him, when i was an impressionable teen i was home watching drag racing on espn2 when he was the pit commentator while everyone else was out chasing girls.  

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid HalfDork
10/8/19 9:36 a.m.

I didn't realize I was such a celebrity. We couldn't do it without help. Lol. I'm down. Not too many people can say they raced Don Garlits. We should have something for him.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
10/8/19 11:08 a.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:
Patrick said:

In reply to bigben :

I predict a v6 miata

Nah. Datsaniti. Mines slow.

It's gonna be your car, just not the green one...

glueguy
glueguy Dork
10/8/19 12:04 p.m.

One more plug for the museum.  And if you go out the back way, you drive past his house.  Yes, he lives on the grounds.  Not uncommon to find him in the musuem or in "Daddy's Garage."  Sure, he wants you to shell out a few bucks for an autograph, but listening to the stories and experiencing the aura are free.

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
10/8/19 12:06 p.m.

Dang, I was thinking of going to the challenge next year but I may have to come this year.  The Zamboni gets grandfathered in since it was already a Challenge car, right?

Can anyone teach me the secrets of nitrous?   

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