Book Review

Big Daddy Don
Garlits’ Tales From
The Drag Strip

By Don Garlits with Bill Stephens.
Reviewed by Jeff Leonard

If you are looking for a great literary work, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a treasure trove of insights into the evolution of drag racing, this book is definitely a “must have”. As the title suggests, this is a collection of Don Garlits’s personal recollections from a career that spans the entirety of the history of drag racing. In its 168-page length, Garlits touches on how the sport has changed in the areas of technology, competition, economics, and in-sport politics. He also lends an insider’s insight into what happens behind the scenes at the drag strip. You know, the sort of things you never get to hear in “mainstream” electronic mediums. My personal favorite was the chapter entitled, “YOU WANT TO SEE TOUGH?”

I won’t spoil it for you—suffice it to say that the chapter features a match race at Union Grove, Wis. Garlits, Connie Kalitta and Shirley Muldowney (post-breakup), and racer’s tape in lieu of proper medical attention. You can’t find stories like that just anywhere.

The book also features a forward by Muldowney herself, and it offers heartfelt appreciation for Big Daddy’s contribution to the sport in general, and her own career in particular. That and several of Garlits’s own “Shirley Stories” go a long way to dispel the notion of any lingering ill will between the two.

All of the photos in the book come from Garlits’s own personal archives, and are worth the price of purchase by themselves. Throw in Big Daddy’s accounts of his 50 plus years of racing exploits, and you have a book any drag racing fan will enjoy. I especially recommend this book to anyone who has become a fan of the sport within the last fifteen years. It will give you an insight into the sport that you just won’t get from today’s usual sources.

“Tales From the Drag Strip” is available from Sports Publishing. For ordering information, log on to The book is listed in the Auto Racing collection. Happy reading!

Previous Story

Off the Track — 6/8/04
Music, Book, and Movie Reviews-or Whatever Catches Our Attention
Diggers, Funnies, Gassers & Altereds. by Bob McClurg.


Cover | Table of Contents | DROstore | Classifieds | Archive | Contact
Copyright 1999-2003, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source