“Big Daddy” Don Garlits has been back in the drag racing headlines — a place he spent much of his legendary driving career — over the last couple of seasons, with his involvement in the Swamp Rat 37 project and its mission of pushing an electric-powered dragster over the 200 mile per hour mark. While Garlits has yet to achieve that barrier, he did set a world record in the car with a 185 mph blast last spring during initial testing of the one-of-a-kind dragster. But the high-profile mission of Garlits and Lawless Industries is beginning to draw some extra attention, and with that, the team is about to get a little company — or rather, some competition — from a source quite familiar to them.
Several key members of the original ‘Quest For 200’ team separated from the Garlits and Lawless camp last July, and have been drawing up plans for a project of their own to take on the 200 mph barrier. The car, envisioned by industrial designer Mark Micelli, is truly a futuristic-looking dragster that fits perfectly with the electric-power concept. Kenny Youngblood, Eric Reyes and custom car builder and designer Coby Gewertz will provide design and style input. Veteran electric drag racer Jeff Disinger (who you may recall owned a miniature electric-powered Funny Car we featured) will play a major role in the car, and individuals from the original team, including chassis builder Brad Hadman, battery system make HighTech Systems LLC, and Bret Goethe Enterprises are likely to return for this new initiative.
Perhaps most intriguingly, schedule permitting, the team is expected to have popular former professional Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Modified pilot Melanie Troxel behind the wheel of the sleek dragster once complete and ready to run.
Below the complete release from the Quest For 200 team:
QF200 created and constructed “Swamp Rat 37” for the express purpose of having Don Garlits exceed 200 MPH in the ¼ mile in a battery-powered dragster. The SR-37 vehicle was fabricated and brought to life through the tireless hands-on efforts of the following people:
1) Brad Hadman Race Cars built a fine race-worthy machine
2) Derek Barger/Hightech Systems LLC engineered an amazing 1.5 megawatt battery system
3) The famed Kenny Youngblood produced a stunning fine art portrait of the vehicle and provided the artistic direction for every styling cue
4) Eric Reyes rendered the car masterfully, hand lettered the cowl names and Swampy logo, and applied all of the graphics
5) Jeff Disinger helped immensely as EV consultant from the original concept forward
6) Lincoln Electric was on board from the beginning and staged the unveiling event in their booth at SEMA 2013
7) Bret Goethe Enterprises engineered the driveline system
8) Mel Uechi of Mel’s Metalworks, Las Vegas, NV helped us to refine the alloy shapes of the nose and fabricate the rear bodywork
9) Art Goldstrom Enterprises furnished shop and storage space for the dragster in Las Vegas, NV
In July of 2014, however, the differences between QF200 and Don Garlits / Shawn Lawless reached the point of our separation from the project, although not of our choosing. We believe that those differences have since spoken for themselves in the performance of the vehicle.
We are extremely pleased today to unveil the concept for our next EV dragster. The concept is by industrial designer Mark Micelli. Kenny Youngblood, Eric Reyes and custom car builder/designer Coby Gewertz will provide design and style input as well. With that much design talent, and the original SR-37 build team, this should be an absolutely incredible vehicle!