As a youngster in the 1970s, I grew up with three female siblings and a father who wasn’t much of a gearhead, so I was the lone car enthusiast in my family. Fortunately, even though my dad had no interest in auto racing, he was willing to spend a few summer Sunday afternoons taking me out to the drags at Lancaster Dragway, about a half-hour from our house. As a result, my initial interests in cars was almost completely drag-racing-centric, and at the time, nobody was bigger in drag racing than Don Prudhomme. He would win the NHRA funny car championship four consecutive years, 1975–78.
My seventh-grade teacher, inspired by the 1976 Montreal Olympics, invited us all to bring in pictures of our favorite sports for a bulletin board collage. When the display was completed, my contribution was right in the center: a full-page color photo The Snake, doing a fiery nighttime burnout in his Army funny car.
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