Don “The Snake” Prudhomme – My Life Beyond the 1320 – Book Review

Book Review: Drag racing legend Don Prudhomme was always a cipher. The Snake, who was known for his fervent focus on his race car and pursuit of points,

Book Title: Don “The Snake” Prudhomme – My Life Beyond the 1320.

Author: Don Prudhomme and Elana Scherr

Total number of pages: 192

Year: 2020

Don "The Snake" Prudhomme - My Life Beyond the 1320 - Book Review

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Who’s Don Prudhomme?

Drag racing legend Don Prudhomme was always a cipher. The Snake, who was known for his fervent focus on his race car and pursuit of points, seemed distant. Although I had great respect for him, I didn’t know much about him beyond his win/loss statistics.

After reading this book, all that was changed. It isn’t your typical biography of a racer. It feels more like someone has turned on a tape recorder and asked Snake to recount his racing career. It is a candid exploration of one of the biggest drag racing stars and how he changed. All the details are here, including the good and the bad as well as many things I didn’t know before.

Prudhomme doesn’t hesitate to admit making mistakes, regardless of whether it was stealing a transmission from a junkyard or not the following advice from others.

Friends Made, Friends Lost

He doesn’t hesitate to speak out about the friends he has made and those he has lost while chasing championship points. Sometimes, his sincere regret shines through in his words. He would change many things if he could.

Prudhomme is proud of his accomplishments, however. The author takes the reader along on a fast-paced journey through drag racing’s history, starting with his first race in a club dragster and ending up as a hired driver before eventually leading his own team. He is seen laughing at the cars, and then he goes all out to win the class.

Prudhomme discusses his return to top-fuel and his time as a team owner. It was fascinating to watch the Snake grow from a dyslexic child to become a world champion. Although I don’t know Don Prudhomme personally yet, he is now a man I can trust. The legend’s man has come out.

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More than just a coffee table book

Although it looks like a coffee-table book, the book doesn’t feel like one. You will eventually become frustrated if you read only a few pages. The book was designed to be read from beginning to end. You will get lost if you begin in the middle; Prudhomme frequently refers to earlier points in the book.

You won’t find a lot of full-page photos. Although there are many photos, most of them seem to be small reproductions from the Snake’s scrapbook. While professionals took some photos, most of the images were just snapshots. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These intimate images were not visible to me, but the amateur photos enhanced the personal stories.

Beyond Drag Racing

In the book, Prudhomme is humble and quick to thank all those who supported him. Prudhomme is primarily concerned with his career, but he also discusses other racing legends with whom he partnered up or competed. The Snake talks about Tommy Ivo and Roland Leong, Keith Black and Keith Black, and Kenny Bernstein and Raymond Beadle, among many other drag racing stars. Prominent racers share a few short memories about Prudhomme.

Prudhomme also made friends in other motorsports. The Snake was able to meet Jacky Stewart and Niki Lauda, both Formula 1 drivers. Prudhomme tells about his encounter with Enzo Ferrari and how the elder Ferrari invited Prudhomme along to one of Lauda’s test sessions. Prudhomme also met racing legends like A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti and Carol Shelby, Dan Gurney, Cale Yarborough, and Carrol Shelby. Rusty Wallace, a former champion in NASCAR, contributed the forward to this book.

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Tom McEwen

A Prudhomme biography is incomplete without telling the story of his friendship with Tom McEwen. It is my one criticism. Prudhomme’s life was so closely linked to McEwen’s; I would have expected more Mongoose stories. Prudhomme gives McEwen all credit for the development of the Wildlife Racing program and the Hot Wheels sponsorship.

Prudhomme also gives insight into the 25th Annual US Nationals, where he met McEwen in the final. However, I would have loved to know more about his relationship with McEwen.

The majority of the book is about Prudhomme’s racing activities. However, the book would not be complete if it didn’t include a description of his personal life. We learn about the Snake’s difficult childhood and how his daughter and wife helped him stay strong and sane.

Elana Scherr and Prudhomme are both credited as authors. Scherr is a contributor editor for Car and Driver and a freelance automotive writer. Prudhomme’s story will be narrated by Scherr, who has previously raced in NHRA Sportsman classes. However, it is hard to tell which words belong to Scherr and Prudhomme; the writing is trustworthy and authentic.

This book is a must-have if you want to go back in time and relive the glory days of drag racing. It was completed in just a few days. I plan to go back and read it again. It brings back a sport and a way to live that is no longer possible. It is the book you should read if you only have one racebook to read this year.

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