Garlits Wins Match Race Series with win at NHRA Finals, Charlotte Lucas Races for Darrell Gwynn in Finale

November 14th, 2011

Historic Electric Dragsters Set for Auction at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale

POMONA, Calif. – “Big Daddy” Don Garlits won the finale of the “Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause” by defeating guest driver Charlotte Lucas at the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway on Sunday, November 13. Lucas, driving Gwynn’s electric dragster, graciously filled in for Darrell Gwynn in the race finale as Gwynn did not make the cross country trip amid concerns of bad weather in Pomona. With the victory in Pomona, Garlits clinched the overall match race series championship.

 “Well, he didn’t beat me,” quips Darrell Gwynn (laughing).  “But, congratulations to “Big Daddy” for winning the match race series. Don is as big of a competitor as he’s always been. He’s never changed. I’m not sure that race fans realized how much both of us wanted to win. We competed hard and I’m proud of the victories I had and more proud of the six people that received wheelchair donations from the foundation during this tour. That’s what the match race series was really all about. Fulfilling our mission to support people with paralysis”

 The Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s mission is to SUPPORT people with paralysis and PREVENT spinal cord injuries. During the “Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause”, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation donated six power wheelchairs to individuals in need at an average cost of $20,000 per wheelchair through its national Wheelchair Donation Program supported by its donors.


Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause Wheelchair Recipients

Name                           Hometown                          WC Cost     Event

Genesis Cagle               Tampa, Fla.                         $15,000       NHRA Gatornationals

Jonathan Gonzalez        Bronx. N.Y.                         $36,500       NHRA Supernationals

Jermaine Fairweather     Bronx. N.Y.                         $6,700        NHRA Supernationals

Caleb Weaver                Bloomington, Ind.                $22,000       NHRA U.S. Nationals

Dolly Jackson               Charlotte, N.C.                    $17,000       NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals

Alvin Jackson-Belles     Huntington Beach, Calif.      $17,000       NHRA Finals

Race fans and Gwynn supporters can help the Darrell Gwynn Foundation by making a donation today to its Give the Gift of Mobility Campaign:  

The Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause” brought two NHRA legends back to the racetrack during the NHRA’s 60th Anniversary Celebration. It marked the first time Darrell “The Kid” Gwynn raced since his racing accident in 1990 that left him paralyzed and ended his racing career. The two rivals raced in custom built, DieHard Battery powered electric dragsters. Gwynn’s dragster was equipped with a joystick control allowing him to drive the car the same way he operates his wheelchair.

Garlits would win the match race series over Gwynn 3-1, edging Gwynn 6-4 in individual race standings. Garlits took 2-of-3 races from Gwynn in Gainesville, Fla. at the Tire Kingdom Gatornationals and in Englishtown, N.J. at the Supernationals. Gwynn’s best performance came at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis where he won 2-of-3 races and was awarded a Wally Trophy by the NHRA. An illness to Gwynn while in Charlotte canceled the match race series there and Garlits defeated Lucas, Gwynn’s backup driver to clinch the match race series in Pomona, Calif. at the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.

Fans can view the full final race standings here: 

“This was a great thing for the NHRA and it was wonderful to see Darrell Gwynn back on the racetrack,” said NHRA President Tom Compton during the Wally Trophy ceremony in Indianapolis.

Don Garlits appreciated the opportunity to participate in the match race series and admires Gwynn’s charity work. “Darrell may not be winning Top Fuel races anymore, but he’s doing so much for the human race with his charity work,” said Garlits. “What he has done with his life is very inspirational and everyone should help him continue to do the work he’s doing.” 

The two electric dragsters, which history will show were the first electric racecars to ever race on a NHRA racetrack, will now go to auction at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale on January 20-22, 2012. The cars make great additions to any collector’s showroom or can be used as fun recreational vehicles. Proceeds from the sale of these cars will benefit the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Inc. For more information on Barrett-Jackson please visit

Sponsors who made the “Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause” project possible include: Title Sponsor: Vision Airlines. Associate Sponsors: Lucas Oil, Dynamic Machine, DieHard, National Auto Mart, JEGS, Summitt, Mac Tools, Barrett-Jackson, Goodyear, DMR, Reliable Transportation, Moon, Pro Glass, G-Force, Simpson, K&N Filters and Brad Hadman/PMI Truck Bodies.

Give the Gift of Mobility:  

About the Darrell Gwynn Foundation

Founded in 2002 by Champion Racer Darrell Gwynn and his wife, Lisa, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide SUPPORT for people living with paralysis and PREVENT spinal cord injuries. The foundation’s primary support program is its national Wheelchair Donation Program. With this program the Darrell Gwynn Foundation has donated custom built wheelchairs to hundreds of individuals in need. The foundation also maintains a Patient Assistance Fund offering support services and tools at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado with aspirations to expand this model to several hospitals nationwide. The Patient Assistance Fund also supports the Betty Jane France Pediatric Center, at Halifax Hospital in Daytona, Fla. and Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. Additionally, the Patient Assistance Fund provides financial support through its Fast Track Laboratory with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis aimed at finding a cure for paralysis. The foundation operates an Education & Prevention Program directed to high school students to educate them on the dangers of risky behavior that can lead to spinal cord injuries. This rapidly growing program reaches over 10,000 students annually at over 50 high schools. In an effort to create more awareness about spinal cord injuries, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation successfully lobbied for and established National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month with a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate in 2011 sponsored by both Florida Senators. With tremendous fundraising partners such as Barrett-Jackson, the NHRA, NASCAR, Rolltisserie by Southern Pride, Moduline Aluminum Cabinets and many more generous sponsors, individual supporters and donors, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation continues to evolve as a leading foundation for those with spinal cord injuries. For more information please visit or





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