Drag Racing icon Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme to be inducted into Bristol Dragway's Legends of Thunder Valley
Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, one of the most successful drag racers in history, will be inducted into Bristol Dragway’s Legends of Thunder Valley, the track’s official hall of fame, during the running of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 17-19.
Prudhomme, who drove the famed U.S. Army Funny Car during the height of his reign as one of the most dominating drag racers to ever speed down the quarter-mile, will be inducted as a Legend of Thunder Valley during pre-race ceremonies for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Sunday, June 19. He joins such names as Speedway Motorsports executive chairman Bruton Smith, NHRA Founder Wally Parks, Top Fuel legend Don Garlits, Funny Car champ John Force and NHRA team owner Don Schumacher, among others.
Prudhomme, 81, from San Fernando Valley, Calif., won four NHRA Funny Car world championship titles as a driver and earned 49 victories during his days in the cockpit of nitro-fueled Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters. He also earned two more world championships and 55 victories as an NHRA team owner in the late 1990s-2000s.
Prudhomme was very successful racing at Bristol Dragway in the 1960s and ‘70s, where he raced to one victory in six final round appearances and broke one of the speed barriers in Funny Car when he posted a jaw-dropping speed of 266.27 mph at the Tennessee track in 1985. That amazing performance was faster than the Top Fuel speed record at the time.
Prudhomme is one of an exclusive list of drivers who have competed at legendary Bristol Dragway in all three of the top drag racing sanctioning bodies, including the NHRA, IHRA and AHRA.
As a team owner at Bristol, Prudhomme’s drivers captured two NHRA victories, including one by Miller Lite Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon (2002) and one by Skoal Racing Funny Car driver Ron Capps (2001).
Guests are invited to come out and celebrate with “The Snake” on Father’s Day. He will be featured in a fan autograph session later that afternoon between pro elimination rounds in the pit area.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans will get to see plenty of NHRA stars during the Father’s Day weekend event, like eight-time Top Fuel champ and six-time Bristol winner Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, the aforementioned John Force and his Top Fuel driving daughter Brittany, Tony Stewart Racing Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan, five-time Bristol winner and defending Funny Car champ Ron Capps, Bristol Top Fuel dominator Mike Salinas, last year’s Funny Car winner Alexis DeJoria, four-time Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence and Top Fuel rising star Justin Ashley.
For the first time since 2018, the high-revving Pro Stock category will return to action at Bristol where defending champ and two-time Bristol winner Erica Enders will battle alongside category veteran Greg Anderson, third-generation racer Troy Coughlin Jr., and rising stars Dallas Glenn and Kyle Koretsky, among others.
The 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle class also will return this season and defending race winner Angelle Sampey will be looking to add a second Bristol trophy to her collection. Defending series champ Matt Smith, from King, N.C., Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, national record holder Karen Stoffer and Team Harley’s Eddie Krawiec will be among the two-wheelers looking to score a Thunder Valley victory.
The race also will feature action in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Qualifying for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begins Friday, June 17 with the pro session beginning at 7 p.m., which will include the nitro qualifying at night, which starts at 8 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying are set for Saturday, June 18, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, June 19.
Friday’s 90-minute live qualifying show will air on FS1 at 8 p.m. (ET), and be followed by a one-hour Saturday qualifying highlights show at 11 p.m. (ET), also on FS1. Sunday’s three-hour final eliminations show will air at 3 p.m. (ET) on FOX.
Enough with the multi-colored neck ties and fancy pocket protectors, there's still time to purchase tickets and give your Dad an unforgettable Father's Day weekend experience. Weekend packages begin at just $94 while single-day Friday tickets start as low as $30 for adults. Saturday adult tickets start at $47 and Sunday’s tickets start at $37. Kids 12 and under tickets are free each day in grandstand sections A-U with a paid adult.
NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals tickets are available by visiting the Bristol Motor Speedway website or by calling the Bristol Motor Speedway ticket sales center at 866-415-4158.
LEGENDS OF THUNDER VALLEY
2022 – Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Funny Car/Top Fuel
2021 – Scotty Cannon, Pro Mod / Funny Car
2019 – Ted Jones, promoter / drag racing visionary
2018 – Mark Oswald, Funny Car / Top Fuel
2017 – Doug Herbert, Top Fuel
2016 – John Force, Funny Car
2015 – Carl Moore, Bristol Dragway founder and Connie Kalitta, NHRA pioneer
2014 – Don Schumacher, NHRA team owner / Funny Car pioneer
2013 – Warren Johnson, Pro Stock
2012 – Gene Fulton, Engine Builder
2011 – Jeff Byrd, Bristol President and GM / RJ Reynolds marketing
2010 – Shirl Greer, Funny Car
2009 – Dale Pulde, Funny Car
2008 – Ronnie Sox & Buddy Martin, Pro Stock
2007 – Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports / Bristol Dragway owner
Wally Parks, NHRA founder
Don Garlits, Top Fuel
Larry Carrier, Bristol Dragway founder
Rickie Smith, Pro Stock / Pro Mod