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Legends Garlits and Gwynn Renew Rivalry with Match Races for a Cause

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This event is to help raise awareness and additional funding for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, whose mission is to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for Paralysis and the Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing which showcases and preserves drag racing history.
This event is to help raise awareness and additional funding for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and the Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing.
"Big Daddy" Don Garlits and "The Kid" Darrell Gwynn have a long history of on track match ups that began when they squared off for the first time in 1985 at the finals of the SummerNationals, where Garlits started the rivalry when he defeated Gwynn. The two would square off many more times including back-to-back U.S. Nationals finals in 1985 and 1986.
Darrell Gwynn took to the race track for the first time in twenty-one years, alongside his old rival and friend Garlits
Darrell Gwynn took to the race track for the first time in twenty-one years, alongside his old rival and friend Garlits
One of Gwynn's most memorable wins came over Garlits at the 1986 Winternationals. The two competed frequently on the NHRA circuit until Gwynn sustained a spinal cord injury in a racing accident ending his career in 1990.

At the NHRA GatorNationals in Gainesville, Florida, Darrell Gwynn took to the race track for the first time in twenty-one years, alongside his old rival and friend Garlits, in specially built electric dragsters. The pair are looking to not only entertain the fans but to also help raise awareness and additional funding for both the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, whose mission is to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for Paralysis and the Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing which both showcases and preserves the rich history of drag racing.

Also helping to celebrate NHRA's 60th Anniversary, the "Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause" racing series is a best of three races between Gwynn and Garlits each day of an NHRA National event weekend. It kicked off over the weekend at the Gatornationals and additional dates are slated for the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the NHRA Finals in Pomona later this season.

The highly custom DieHard Battery Powered Replica Dragsters were built by Brad Hadman, designed by Mike Gerry with graphics by Eric Reyes to make the cars represent the hot rods the drivers wheeled against each other back in the 80's. The dragsters also sport K&N's 2nd Generation carbon fiber dragster scoops (PN 100-8512) that K&N Engineering donated to the very unique project.

After the "Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause" series is complete, the DieHard Battery Powered Replica Dragsters will be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2012. Fans can also get involved and help raise money for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation by purchasing tickets to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation's "Track Walk for Those Who Can't" which will take place at each NHRA event the "Garlits vs. Gwynn: Match Races for a Cause" appears. The track walks give fans the special opportunity to walk on NHRA tracks, meet many of NHRA's star drivers including Larry Dixon, Don Garlits, Robert Hight, Johnny Gray, Jim Head, Hector Arana and many more all while helping to support the Darrell Gwynn Foundation's mission. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation will also make a wheelchair donation at each "Garlits vs. Gwynn" event through its national Wheelchair Donation Program. Information on how to take part can also be found on the foundation's website.

For those in attendance during the GatorNationals and fans at home viewing the renewed rivalry on ESPN2's event coverage alike, Garlits and Gwynn gave quite a show during their event of the season. Garlits easily clinched the best of three when he won both the first match on Friday and the second match on Saturday. Saturday's match found Garlits taking the stripe by more than seven hundredths of a second over Gwynn posting a 30.08 to Gwynn's 30.15 ET.

Even though "Big Daddy" grabbed the first crown of the season, Gwynn drove his car specially designed with a custom joystick that allows him to accelerate, brake and steer and showed Garlits it wasn't going to be an easy season of match races as he turned on the win light in his lane during the third and final match that was run as part of Sunday's pro eliminations.

"It felt good to have my name in the win column 21 years later, especially with "Big Daddy" in the other lane," said Darrell Gwynn. "I can't wait to continue the competitiveness between Don and myself as the series continues."

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