It’s been almost a half century since Florida native “Big Daddy” Don Garlits revolutionized drag racing by perfecting the rear engine design that today is employed universally by racers like two-time reigning NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence, one of the favorites in this week’s pandemic-delayed 51st annual Amalie Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Now, more than 34 years after he beat the late Dick LaHaie to win for the fourth and final time on his home track, Garlits is in a position to hoist another of the NHRA’s iconic Wally trophies thanks to Torrence and his Capco Contractors race team.
With a nod to history and the man who in 1991 was voted the No. 1 racer in the NHRA’s first 50 years, Torrence will compete this week in a dragster that bears an uncanny resemblance to the car Garlits designated “Swamp Rat 14” upon its debut in 1971, a design so successful that by 1973 it had rendered the front-engine dragster all but obsolete.
Steve Torrence Racing PR