Sports & Leisure
The nation's passion for sports is obvious every day—at NASCAR races, kiddie soccer matches, and countless other contests. From a handball used by Abraham Lincoln to Chris Evert's tennis racket to a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, the roughly 6.000 objects in the Museum's sports collections bear witness to the vital place of sports in the nation's history. Paper sports objects in the collections, such as souvenir programs and baseball cards, number in the hundreds of thousands.
Leisure collections encompass a different range of objects, including camping vehicles and gear, video games, playing cards, sportswear, exercise equipment, and Currier and Ives prints of fishing, hunting, and horseracing. Some 4,000 toys dating from the colonial period to the present are a special strength of the collections.
"Sports & Leisure - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Swamp Rat XXX is a drag racing car of the top-fuel class, designed, built and raced by Don Garlits of Ocala, Florida. Garlits, better known as "Big Daddy," is one of the pioneers of drag racing, which is a test of acceleration on quarter-mile tracks. He began racing in 1950 in modified stock cars at Zephyr Hills, Fla., not far from his home in Tampa, shifting to drag racing in 1959. Over a 30-year career, he was one of the most innovative builders in the sport.
- Swamp Rat XXX won the National Hot Rod Association championship in 1986 with a quarter-mile speed of 272.55 miles an hour. It crashed at a race in Spokane, Washington, and, along with Garlits, retired from active competition.
- The vehicle displays the state of drag racing art in the 1980s: a very long wheelbase, small front wheels to minimize aerodynamic drag, engine in the rear, and a wing for added aerodynamic down force. The engine placement puts most of the vehicle's weight on the rear or driving wheels and behind the driver for safety reasons in case of an engine blow-up.
- The car is covered with emblems, chiefly of sponsoring corporations. It carries a Christian cross and the words "God is Love," reflecting Garlits' experience in 1959 when, after an accident, his system could not handle pain-killing drugs. In severe pain, he cried out, "Lord help me," and his pain ceased.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Garlits, Donald G.
- Garlits, Donald G.
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center