NHRA legend Don "The Snake" Prudhomme will be named the recipient of the 2023 “Carroll Shelby Spirit” award at the annual Las Vegas Team Shelby Bash this weekend in Las Vegas, the premier official celebration of the Carroll Shelby Centennial.
The “Carroll Shelby Spirit” award honors individuals who display exuberance, character, and, most importantly, enjoy a high-octane lifestyle. Past Carroll Shelby Spirit Award recipients include Ken Miles, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant, Edsel B. Ford II, Parnelli Jones, and Dan Gurney. Carroll Shelby International will bestow this prestigious award on Prudhomme at a banquet on Friday, Sept. 29.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to get this award,” said Prudhomme. “Because this is from my all-time hero, it means a tremendous amount to me. When I first met him in 1962, he was the guy who really inspired me to become a championship racer. I’m also thrilled to be the first drag racer to receive this prestigious award. I couldn’t be more excited.”
“Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme was an exceptional drag racer who drove Shelby American's first Top Fuel car in 1968,” said Neil Cummings, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing. “Don's stellar racing career included winning the NHRA Funny Car championship four times. He was the first Funny Car driver to exceed 250 mph. When Don began managing his own racing team, he won the Top Fuel championship twice. Prudhomme certainly earned his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.”
By the mid-1960s, Shelby and Prudhomme were both at the top of their respective games. Prudhomme was one of the winningest Top Fuel drag racers in the country. Shelby was a racer-turned-builder of Cobras, GT40s, and Mustangs who won racing championships worldwide. His company offered drag racing packages for privateers to compete in their Cobra or Shelby Mustang.
“The Snake” and the Cobra's creator teamed up in 1968 for an NHRA ride. Prudhomme's Ford Cammer-powered rail made its debut as “Shelby's Super Snake” at the 1968 Winternationals and drove the rest of the season under the Shelby banner.