Progress Made, Record Set: Don Garlits Runs 189mph In His Electric Dragster – Video and Photos Here

Progress Made, Record Set: Don Garlits Runs 189mph In His Electric Dragster – Video and Photos Here

(Photos by Benoit Pigeon) – While Don Garlits isn’t quite to his ultimate goal os 200mphin the quarter mile at the wheel of his electric dragster, he’s making progress! Last weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida Garlits upped his own current numbers by running 189mph in the specially built dragster.

Hardcore drag racing fans may remember that this quest began a few years ago and this is the second version of an electric dragster he has created to do the job. This one is far more bare bones and traditional than the previous dragster which was a full bodied and streamlined car that looked stunning but was not fast enough.

As you will see in the video below and in the photos by Benoit Pigeon below that, the car was chewing at the race track pretty hard. The tires loading and unloading early in the run is a problem. What’s interesting is the ability to hear it! Normally when a car is running we can watch the rear tires but we cannot hear them struggling for grip and spinning like they do here.

The speeds of this car will drastically increase with the improvement of the first 60′ of the track. Just like a gas burner, getting the load moving is the most major challenge. A nice linear application of power would likely cure some of the issues that the car is dealing with. The other thing, and we see that this could have been a bit of a miscalculation on the part of Garlits is the lack of rear suspension under the car. Now, there are 10,000+ hardtail dragsters running 200mph around the country, it’s a very common setup. The difference here is that the suspension would likely give some forgiveness with the instant torque of the electric motor.

Will Garlits succeed? We know he will and he’s getting incrementally faster the more runs he makes. 87 years old and still pushing the envelope as hard and as fast as it will go!

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38 thoughts on “Progress Made, Record Set: Don Garlits Runs 189mph In His Electric Dragster – Video and Photos Here

    1. Luke

      To go as fast as possible on an electric motor? What aren\’t you sure about? Drag racers are constantly seeking world records for different types of motor.

      1. bob

        “To go as fast as possible on an electric motor”

        Like I said I’m not sure what the point is.

        World records for different types of motors?

        Motor and engine are two different things Luke

    2. Russell

      The way I read the point is the challenge to be the frist person to run 200 mph in the 1/4 with an electric drag car.

    3. sbg

      me either…. maybe it’s to find out who can whir smuggly the best? no noise, no heart beat, no soul.

    4. Doug

      Trying to stay relevant at 87 or whatever he is. I’m sorry but 189 with no exhaust noise is about as exiting as kissing your sister. I had Aurora slot cars as a kid, this is pretty much the same thing. Nitro rules!

  1. Skeptical


    I bet it’s blast to drive but about as exciting as watching golf carts drive around.

    1. Ted Guth

      It’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed at these ‘rogue’ (non-sanctioned) drag racing events. A 200 mph car launches and two women are standing on the track at the 60’ lights. UNF##KING BELIEVABLE!

      1. Don

        Lighten the hell up. Every run was done like any other drag racing run!

        If the track is good enough for IHRA it\’s good enough for me.

        1. Eric

          You’re right Don, every time I’ve been to a drag race, a bunch of people are standing ON the track at the 60’ foot lights with their cell phones taking videos of dragsters. It must be safe. Thanks for setting us straight Don. I just watched the NHRA Mile High videos, there was a woman eating popcorn standing on the track right in front of two nitro funny cars. You’re right Don, it’s not uncommon at all to have people standing on the track. Thanks for calming us down about this.

        2. Ted Guth

          Hey Don; go to ‘Dragzine’ July 21 and read what they say about Garlits running on a track with people standing on the track surface directly in front of him. You might be surprised that they don’t agree with you!

  2. chris hoff

    Great to see, Don is the pioneer of drag racing,
    don’t care if its electric or not it’s comming!!!

  3. Johnnyblackheart

    These curmudgeons have a small point, but to me, Big has taken something boring to the most interesting thing out there. Oh, and the safety thing, if you’re down to really live, you’re down to die for it. Thanks dad’s.

  4. geo815

    The man is 87 years old and still gettin’ after it. If you don’t think that’s awesome, then remain seated in your Recaro office chair, gulp your Coors light, and by all means, finish that bag of Doritos sitting next to your mouse. You wouldn’t know a true competitor if he smacked you upside the head (And perhaps he should.).

    By the way, Larry McBride is the first racer to top 200 mph in the 1320, according to Garlits might have set a record in a legacy drag racing association, but NEDRA claims otherwise.

    1. geo815

      Granted, that was a motorcycle. He does have the top speed record for a 4-wheeled vehicle, although NEDRA hasn’t updated it, or they are not considering it? Don’t know.

  5. Greg

    Didn’t Super Shops go tits up about 100 years ago?
    And all you naysayers…if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

  6. drivindadsdodge

    if anybody can get it done … Garlits will do it …Remember when … back in the 80’s when nobody could get a Top Fuel Dragster over 270 …

  7. Dennis

    After being conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to hear pounding engines when seeing something that looks like a top fuel dragster, it seems a bit surreal to see something suddenly accelerate like that with little sound. It was fun to hear the tires doing their thing.

    I get why many people aren’t excited about it but it’s interesting to me. Like others have said, Don is working on a challenge and making progress on it. Shouldn’t we all have a project that makes us stretch?

  8. Kevin Bench

    It saddens me to read some of these comments. Don Garlits is a great man and a good guy. He has probably done more for racing than anyone I could think of, and his wife Pat as well for standing by him all those years. His exploits encouraged me as a kid to keep going, and to never give up.

    This vehicle is a prototype and the future of racing. The rest of the show and sounds will eventually come along. What you are seeing now is not really meant for public consumption, it is testing. Additionally most people have no idea the obstacles and difficulties a person encounters in pursuit of innovation. It\’s a lot more than finding the money, and putting up with ridicule and the naysayers.

    Additionally, Most all innovators throughout history were at some point viewed as crackpots or worse. Don is not doing this to feed his ego or make a name for himself. He has already done that. He wants to do his part to make sure racing remains for future generations. He cares deeply about racing, the Fans and our youth… Thank you Don Garlits!

    1. bob

      “This vehicle is a prototype and the future of racing”.

      Stating something as fact that is just your opinion.

      Of course you’re entitled to your opinion but don’t lecture us as we are just as entitled to our opinion.

  9. 69rrboy

    Agree 100% Mr. Bench. If a guy his age who’s accomplished so much in this sport wants to try something new then I say go right ahead sir. I hope he makes his goal. I’m not a big fan of electric vehicles either but I’m sure Don couldn’t care less what anybody else thinks about his project so why bash the guy just for trying a different thing?.

    I also agree with the comments about all these people lately crowding around the starting line. You NEVER stand in front of a running race car of any kind. That’s just common sense.

    I “think” the woman shooting the video with her phone on the wrong side of the wall is his new wife. Even so she should’ve never been standing there.

  10. bob

    Not one person said anything disrespectful about Garlits on any one of these posts. The guys a legend.

    The comments were directed at the objective.

  11. TooTall

    This man has accomplished so much in drag racing already. He just is trying something new. What\’s wrong with that? Like others said, if you don\’t like it don\’t watch! But don\’t berate him for some original ideas and thinking outside the box!

  12. Heavy-Chafing-Grimy

    At least it wasn\’t a Chevy……oh wait, that was a Volt, right?

    Chevy-Hating-Gordie strikes again…..

  13. HotRodPop

    Kinda sad that people don’t realize this IS the future as we slowly relinquish our right to make our own decisions to those who “know better”. Either vote and change things or swallow it and sadly smile as you reminisce down the road about the “good ol’ days”. Big Daddy Rules, and would even racing Soap Box Derby cars! RECOGNIZE!!!

  14. Patrick

    Bunch of maroons, no one said anything bad about Big Daddy. They did, however, complain about the electric motor. It may be the way of the future, etc, even though they still pollute use on a different level. Electric motors do not excite the senses, sound smell, etc. They are fast, but boring fast. My computer is fast, I can modify it, but I don’t because it bores me to tears. Electric car racing seems silly, no shifting, the modern cars protect you from damaging them or yourself, Yawn. I see guys at the autocross running Teslas, great, good job, how was auto everything on your run?
    From the aspect of this is my chosen hobby I think I’ll move along to my sailboat, where it still is all me.

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