Don “Big Daddy” Garlits will rumble and roar into the 43rd annual Iola Old Car Show, to be held July 9-11 in Iola, Wis.
The legendary race car driver and engineer, known as the father of drag racing, and his Swamp Rat 12-A dragster will be attending the show on July 10-11 to meet fans, talk cars, sign autographs and fire up his Swamp Rat in a cackle expo. Garlits’ appearance is tied to the Pace Cars and Race Cars theme of this year’s Iola Old Car Show.
Among other feats, Garlits is known for perfecting the rear-engine top-fuel dragster design, which he did as a safety measure, and for being the first drag racer to officially set records for surpassing 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, and 270 mph elapsed times in the quarter-mile. He was also the first to officially top 200 mph in the eighth-mile.
“We are thrilled to have such an important face of motorsports joining us at the Iola Old Car Show,” said Joan Schultz, executive director of the Iola Old Car Show. “Iola has never featured race cars before, and we’re looking forward to bringing a new experience to the show for our loyal attendees. Don ‘Big Daddy’ Garlits is a huge component of the experience we are planning on bringing to this year’s show featuring race cars and pace cars.”
Garlits’ appearances are planned for Friday and Saturday.
More than 110,000 people annually attend the The Iola Old Car Show, Inc., a non-profit 501c3 event that benefits 128 community organizations. The Iola Old Car Show features 4,430 swap spaces, 2,500 show cars, 1,000 car corral spaces and 1,600 camping spaces. Ample free parking with shuttle service is provided by the show.