So long, Snake

Don Prudhomme called it a career in January of this year when it became apparent that he couldn’t secure a sponsor with enough money to allow his team to compete at the level of excellence he has shown in a nearly half-century career as a driver and team owner.

In my almost 35 years as a motorsports journalist there are exactly two professional racers that I had a chance to interview that I considered to be pure racers. By that I mean men who put racing and winning before anything else. Those two men are A.J. Foyt and Don Prudhomme. Both of these men were racers’ racers. At their prime as drivers and team owners they had no peers. Truly, to these two racing icons winning was all that counted and they were focused on that job.

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing these men both at the track and away from it and the difference between the two interviews was night and day. When these two men were at the track they were there to race and win and nothing that didn’t relate to their task at hand got their attention. If you were stupid enough to interfere with them while they were working you had to be prepared to suffer their wrath. They were men who didn’t suffer fools well.

Away from the track I found both men to be great company for conversation, especially Don Prudhomme, who has a really great sense of humor and is known to be kind and gracious and to pick up the check.