Motor Sport News - - Santa Pod At 50 -

There have been so many great week­ends in Santa Pod’s his­tory, but none to top Easter 1976. The rea­son? Don Garlits, the great­est drag racer ever, re­turned to Bri­tain for Santa Pod’s 10th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion af­ter head­ing the 1964 all-star tour.

The Daily Mail gave him back-page promi­nence and the venue was packed to over­spill, with spectators’ cars parked nose-to-tail more than two miles back through Pod­ing­ton vil­lage. Yet Garlits’ Swamp Rat 21 drag­ster, far from home, was blighted by me­chan­i­cal prob­lems through­out qual­i­fy­ing and wound up fac­ing Bri­tain’s quick­est en­trant, Peter Crane, in the first round.

Garlits went too early and was dis­qual­i­fied, while Crane’s Storm­bringer stormed to the first fivesec­ond elapsed time clocked out­side Amer­ica. Clive Sk­il­ton was the even­tual race win­ner.

Garlits re­turned in July 1977 with less fan­fare and a fit­ter car and routed the op­po­si­tion.

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