'Big Daddy' Garlits at local drag strip

'Big Daddy' Garlits at local drag strip

April 13th, 2013 by Staff Reports in Sportlocal

Area drag racing fans can get a double dose of competition at the Brainerd Optimist strip today, plus the bonus of meeting a true legend of the sport. International Motorsports Hall of Famer "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, who pioneered the rear-engine dragster and has been called the "Father of Top Fuel Drag Racing," will be present to greet fans and sign autographs from 8 a.m. until probably about 4 p.m., according to one of the sponsors of his appearance. Normal racing with the strip's usual classifications will begin between 3 and 4 p.m. and continue into the night, but the gates will open at 8 a.m. and the day will begin with "nostalgia" races with car entries costing $35. General admission for spectators costs $10, and that will be good for the whole day. Garlits, 81, is cited as the first drag racer to go 200, 220, 240 and 280 mph, and he won eight NHRA national championships and 144 national events in all. He has a museum in Ocala, Fla.


• Swimmer Caroline Caulkins Bentley and track and field athlete Amy Goins were inducted Friday into the Girls Preparatory School Athletic Hall Fame as part of Alumnae Weekend. Bentley, a 1983 graduate who went into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year, was a two-time high school All-American and team captain and a GPS varsity swimmer beginning in the seventh grade. She qualified for the YMCA national meet at age 13 and for the NCAA meet as a Brenau freshman. An injury ended her career before her second college season. She now holds a 4.5 ranking in tennis. Goins, from the class of '93, won the state 100- and 300-meter hurdles and high jump as a Bruisers junior and won the state pentathlon the next year. She later was a team captain and conference champion in multiple events at Western State College of Colorado, and she has climbed all of Colorado's 53 ranked peaks over 14,000 feet.

• Football defensive end Davis Tull and basketball standout Ashlen Dewart received the overall male and female student-athlete of the year awards Thursday night at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Scrappy Awards banquet at The Chattanoogan, and departed women's basketball leader Wes Moore was the coach of the year for the spring 2012 through winter 2012-13 seasons. The basketball win over Tennessee's Lady Vols was the victory of the year, and Kayla Christopher's winning putback against Davidson in the Southern Conference tournament final was the play of the year. Volleyball's Christina Teter was the scholar athlete of the year, golfer Stephan Jaeger won for individual performance and men's golf was team of the year for their NCAA regional wins and football quarterback Jacob Huesman was the freshman of the year.


• Bethel University and Bryan College swapped one-run softball wins Friday at Dayton, the visitors from McKenzie, Tenn., prevailing 5-4 before the Lady Lions won 3-2 on Shanna Chappell's three-hit pitching and Katie Vaughn's 2-for-3 batting performance with two RBIs. Taylor Yates had the other RBI after going 3-for-4 with an RBI also in game one for Bryan (15-21). Beka James was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Rachel Kirby and Heather Daniel each was 2-for-4 as the Lady Lions fell despite a 12-8 advantage in hits. Vaughn also batted in a run.


• Michael Morris scored three goals and Pierce Leonard, Davis Brown, Reed Daniel and Drew Lincoln added two apiece -- Leonard with three assists -- as Sewanee won 13-4 in men's lacrosse Friday at Rhodes. The Tigers (10-3) led 7-1 at halftime and 12-2 after three quarters.


• After losing 67-12 in its first-ever game last Saturday at Jacksonville, the Tennessee Train women's tackle football team plays its home opener tonight at 7 at Hixson High School against the Savannah Sabers. The Train will host the Atlanta Phoenix next Saturday. General admission costs $10 with students (with ID) and seniors let in for $5 and ages 12-under admitted free. The Jacksonville Dixie Blues are in their 13th year and claim three national championships, so the Train had a tough task in their Women's Football Alliance debut.