Don "Big Daddy" Garlits was considered the founder of Top Fuel drag racing. Beginning in 1950, Garlits won 144 national events championships over four decades with his Swamp Rat series of 34 hand-crafted cars. His accomplishments include 17 world championships and eight National Hot Rod Association national championships. Garlits and his wife, Pat, were inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1994.
Shirley Muldowney, a 2006 inductee into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, was the first woman to be licensed in the NHRA's Top Gas category in 1965, Funny Car category in 1971 and Top Fuel category in 1973. Muldowney lost to Garlits in the 1975 U.S. Nationals final but won her first NHRA professional event in the 1976 Spring Nationals. She retired from drag racing in 2003 at age 63.
Andy Granatelli was better known for Indy-style racing but was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame as a founder in 2006 for his contributions to auto racing. Granatelli was chief executive officer of the motor-oil company STP, which became a major supplier for all forms of auto racing.
The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing hosts the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida.Learn more about Motor Sports