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7 Decades of The Big Go: Don “The Snake” Prudhomme Carves Out Legacy with Impressive Indy Run

7 Decades of The Big Go: Don “The Snake” Prudhomme Carves Out Legacy with Impressive Indy Run

Prudhomme enjoyed plenty of Indy success in the 70s, getting four victories and winning in both nitro categories, while Pro Stock debuted in 1970

A Look Into the 7 Decades of The Big Go:
Previewing the 70th NHRA U.S. Nationals
NHRA U.S. Nationals and the 1960s

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – July 9, 2024 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – The NHRA U.S. Nationals is an event rich in legendary history, celebrating 70 years of incredible memories at this year’s race, which takes place Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

It’s the world’s biggest drag race on the sport’s grandest stage and a win at the NHRA U.S. Nationals simply means more. A victory at The Big Go has helped make careers legendary, created unforgettable legacies and provided the backdrop for some of the sport’s most spectacular moments.

Simply put, it’s a race no fan should miss and it’s also an event rich in legendary history. Exploring seven decades of The Big Go takes us to the 1970s, which featured big names, explosive rivalries and the introduction of Pro Stock in a wild decade of racing.

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme put his name on the Indy map in the previous decade, but he really left his mark during an incredible run in the 1970s. He opened the decade with his third Top Fuel victory at The Big Go, winning a wild and explosive final round in 1970 after Jim Nicoll’s car exploded in the traps. His front-engine dragster was cut in two at his feet, while Prudhomme was visibly shaken during his emotional winner’s interview on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.”

That powerful moment stuck with Prudhomme, who eventually moved to Funny Car in 1973. He went right back to his winning ways, getting back-to-back Indy victories to become the first driver in NHRA history to win The Big Go in both nitro categories. He advanced to the next two finals as well, losing to Raymond Beadle and the Blue Max in 1975 and then Gary Burgin in 1976, ending an incredible streak of 30 straight round wins.

240709 1978II1_FC_Final_01

A year later, Prudhomme won again, getting his fourth Indy win of the decade in 1977, a memorable stretch that helped carve out Prudhomme’s legendary status. It was also the height of the Snake and Mongoose rivalry with Prudhomme and Tom McEwen, and they faced off in one of the most memorable moments in Indy history in 1978. McEwen was mourning the loss of his teenage son, Jamie, who also was close friends with Prudhomme. Prudhomme had the performance advantage throughout the event…

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