Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and “TV” Tommy Ivo joined MC Jack Beckman on stage to a standing room only crowd at the “Night of Champions” following a great day of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals


Tommy Ivo and Don Prudhomme

For nearly 20 years the place to hear those stories, told by the people who lived them, is the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum’s Night of Champions. It’s an evening of legends, surrounded by record-breaking race cars, presented for free to a standing-room-only crowd. 

The 2012 NHRA Funny Car Champion, Jack Beckman, was tasked as MC for the evening, and was the perfect individual to focus the audience’s questions and love of drag racing toward the heroes on stage. 

As Prudhomme and Ivo sat down, they were roasting Beckman (and each other) before all three mics were even hot. The fans in attendance got to hear how life on the road began for “TV Tommy” and the “The Snake” in 1960. As no surprise, in some cases they had two very different versions of their shared history. 

“I starred in movies before there even was TV,” said Ivo. “But I think I may have done one too many comedies, because I was always trying to find the funny. We weren’t on the road for more than two days, and on the second day, I poured out [Prudhomme’s] shampoo and replaced it with 10-weight oil. And that was just the start.” 

Prudhomme laughed, “That’s a true story.” But he couldn’t hold a grudge because he learned so much about the business of drag racing from being on the road with Ivo. 

“I remember being at a track in York, Pennsylvania, and seeing a promoter counting out money on the hood of a car,” said Prudhomme. “My eyes just got huge looking at that money. Nobody was getting paid to show up for drag races back then—except Ivo.”

The stories continued well into the early evening. Most of them true, many of them scandalous—all of them worth hearing. 

The Museum truly thanks those that participated in the auction. Items auctioned off included racer hospitality passes (donated by Bob Tasca, Tim Wilkerson, and Cruz Pedregon) in addition to memorabilia items (Snake clock, Ivo model car, Kenny Youngblood painting, etc). All auction winners also received a complimentary one-year Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum membership. 100% of all proceeds go directly to the Museum operations and programs.

Join us at the next “Night of Champions” during the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Friday November 13, 2020.