Pat Garlits, who for more than 60 years was the great woman behind a great man as the wife of drag racing icon “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, died Sunday, Feb, 2, in Florida. She had been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease for several years.
For decades on the road to drag racing stardom, Pat rode shotgun and helped keep her husband safe and comfortable, and was there to support him as he lived his dream of becoming a great drag racing champion and later the proprietor of his own drag racing museum in Ocala, Fla.’
Drag racing’s first couple met at Florida’s Lake Magdalene in 1952, Patricia Louise Bieger, a “pretty, petite brunette senior,” and Don a 20-year-old hot rodder in his Cadillac-powered ’40 Ford ragtop, and, as he wrote in his book, “It was love at first sight.” They were married Feb. 20, 1953, and celebrated their 60th anniversary last year.
“She has been suffering a lot these last few days and it was a blessing to see God take her into His care,” wrote Garlits in an email to friends that he also later posted on his Facebook page. “I will miss her very badly, but will be with her sooner than I realize, as time is very different here that over there. She passed at home with her two daughters at her side and me holding her hand and a little Yorkie dog on each side of her. She went without making a sound and this house is going to be very quiet for a while. I had Glenn Miller playing in the background, as that was her favorite Big Band.”
Mrs. Garlits is also survived by her two daughters, Gay Lyn and Donna. A complete list of survivors, as well as information on services, is not available.
For more on the Pat Garlits, read Phil Burgess’ Aug. 2012 Dragster Insider column here.
There’s no better a way to shun the shivering reality of this winter’s arctic blast than by cleaning your golf clubs in preparation for the 18th annual DRAW’s Tracy Winters Memorial Golf Tournament on March 12 in Gainesville, the Wednesday before the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 13-16.
DRAW (Drag Racing Association of Women) has been busily preparing for its first major fund-raising event of the season with heavy hearts, and their efforts are to honor the memory of Tracy Winters, vice president of sales and marketing at her family’s J.W. Performance Transmission Inc. and longtime DRAW board member, who passed away unexpectedly last August.
There is no better way to thank Winters for her countless hours devoted to DRAW than for a record number of sponsors and participants to become involved with the DRAW’s Tracy Winters Memorial Golf Tournament.
After a hectic two months to start the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with testing in Florida, followed by races in Pomona and Phoenix, the vastly popular golf tournament is a great time for all members of the NHRA community to start their golf season with a relaxing day that benefits DRAW’s commitment to assisting drag racers in need of help.
The cost of entry fees and sponsorship will remain as they were last year.
Individual entry is $80, and three Mulligans can be purchased for an additional $10. Entry form and entry fee must be received by March 4; however, late entries would be accepted at the course, including the day of the event until the field is full.
For more information, visit www.drawonline.org.
Each year since 1999, internet-based drag racing magazine CompetitionPlus.com has presented special awards, the Dot Coms, a reader-voted Best Of presentation. This year was a banner year for the Dot Coms, with hundreds of thousands of votes cast, and lots of awards went to the NHRA community.
Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park was voted drag strip of the year, and Lucas Oil was named Sponsor of the Year. Retiring Alcohol Funny Car giant Frank Manzo was voted Sportsman Racer of the Year while John Force won Professional Racer of the Year and was voted the winner of the magazine’s Mike Aiello Person of the Year award. National Dragster, the official publication of the NHRA, was voted as Printed Publication of the Year.
Courtney Force was voted to have the Best Twitter Feed, WFO Radio was named the Internet Radio/TV Show of the Year while Yellow Bullet won both for Facebook page and message board of the Year
The announcement of Castrol’s departure from the John Force Racing team at the end of 2014 was voted News Story of the Year.
Jack Davis, who helped revolutionize the world of performance exhaust with the development of the first step header during his long employment with aftermarket giant Hooker Headers, died Jan. 18. He was 79.
Davis joined the header manufacturer in 1961 after the former Stock driver met company owner Gary Hooker and was offered a ride in the company’s ’67 Belvedere Super Stocker. That led to a long relationship that lasted well in the 1980s with Davis spearheading the company’s research and development. The first step header went on the Pro Stock car of Ronnie Sox in the early 970s.
After he left Hooker, Davis and his son Darren, a national-event-winning Comp eliminator driver, opened Davis Step Headers, which they ran until 2003, when the senior Davis retired.
Pictured: Jack, left, and Darren Davis.