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Order a reprint of this article now. October 22, 2009 A Storied Rivalry Put Drag Racing on the Map By DAVE CALDWELL ONE day in 1964, Ed Donovan, a drag-racing pioneer who was known as the Mole, came up with a nickname for Tom McEwen, his lead-footed driver. There was not much money in drag racing then 4 winners were often given a $100 savings bond, plus free parts and oil 4 but every hotshot had a nickname.
One of McEwen 9s top funny-car rivals was Don Prudhomme, a lanky driver from Southern California who was so cobra-quick off the starting line that he was known as the Snake. So Donovan tagged McEwen the Mongoose, a mammal that seizes and kills venomous snakes. Their match races became genuine showdowns.
cThis wasn 9t rasslin 9 or anything fake like that, and that 9s what made it so popular, d Prudhomme said in a recent telephone interview from his office in Vista, ... more. less.