Retired four-time NHRA Funny Car champion and drag racing legend Don “the Snake” Prudhomme will compete in the 2018 Mexican 1000 off-road competition in a 2018 Polaris RZR 1000.
The event will be “the Snake’s” first competitive driving appearance since 1994 when he retired from the NHRA tour having won 49 national events in Funny Car and Top Fuel. Later, as team owner, he added another 63 NHRA tour victories.
Prudhomme will return to competition in an entry prepped by P.J. Jones of PJ’s Performance in Mesa, Ariz., and will race in the Stock Turbo UTV class, and he’ll be looking for a little redemption that is five decades in the making.
In 1968, Prudhomme entered the Mexican 1000 Baja race in a Porsche-powered buggy built by racing innovator Tony Nancy and owned by actor Steve McQueen. Shortly before the race, McQueen had a movie conflict so Nancy reached out to Prudhomme to fill the seat as the co-driver. Prudhomme and Nancy had crossed paths through their successful drag racing careers.
“In 1968, we burned it up,” says Prudhomme. “Never even made it onto the dirt, which I’m embarrassed to tell you. Haven’t been back since.
“This thing can move out,” said Prudhomme of his current ride, which is sponsored by JEGS High Performance Mail Order. “If we’d had this in 1968, we would have finished the race. We’re gonna do it right for the NORRA race this year.”
The Mexican 1000 is a five-day, off-road rally run by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) as a celebration of off-road racing history and vintage off-road machinery. Cars, buggies, trucks, and motorcycles from all eras of Baja racing are eligible to participate in a variety of classes. The race begins Friday, April 20 in Ensenda, Baja, Mexico, and ends Thursday, April 26 in San Jose del Cabo, Baja, Mexico.