The Prudhomme Story: 4 of 5


        ROCKY'S ROAD            


An incredible story and a rare photo from a young boy Part #4

After all these years, this guy had kept this amazing photograph not knowing what he wanted to do with it. So during one of the races at SIR, some 20-plus years later, he brought that picture with him and asked to see me. He introduced himself and then took the photo out of the packet that he had been hiding it in and gave it to me. He said, “I want you to have this photo.”

I was awe struck when he showed it to me. It was just a little 4” by 4” color shot, probably from a Brownie camera of those early years. But as rough and old as it was, it was really clear enough to see the incident that took place way back when.

I thanked him for the photo and I just sat down staring at it. I knew right away that this photo needs to be part of the gift that we will give to Prudhomme.  

Immediately, I felt that I needed to enlarge this photo and then present it to Prudhomme when his “Last Strike Tour” arrived in that August event…that would be perfect!!  A one-of-a-kind gift with a lot of meaning to Snake, I’m sure. Remember, Snake had never seen this picture or even knew that it existed. A 20-year old surprise, that he has never seen, would be perfect for him.

Once I had the photograph in my hand, I thought maybe I could go one step further than just produce a poster of it, which might not reproduce very well, as this photo is so very old. Even so, reproducing the photo into a poster might just be a little bit too cheap for what was taking place here. There has to be someway to make this one of the most special gifts that he had ever seen, something that he could hang up and really be proud of it. Another poster hanging in his race shop just would not do the job. Maybe I could reproduce this photograph into a huge painting for him. Now, that would be classy and a special lifelong memorabilia for him. But how would I pull all of that together? I had several months to figure out this whole plan and how it would all go together which might be more than enough time to get it completed.

I kept looking at that photo for several weeks. I knew that time was getting closer but I also knew that I had to think this thing through. The NHRA Northwest Nationals was just a couple of months away and whatever path I took it might take some time. I, of course, wanted to do a special presentation when we present this gift to Prudhomme.

I called on my good friend Kenny Youngblood, a well-established drag racing artist, in Southern California. Youngbloods’ artistic work ( is the best there is that I knew of and he was the perfect guy to paint this photograph into a large picture.  I've known Kenny for many years and I was confident that he could make this perfect gift for the Last Strike Tour.  Also, he knew Prudhomme really well which made the project a personal goal for him. Later, Youngblood told me that this project really regenerated his career in drag racing as it was so exciting to do. I’m sure that he felt like I did that as this was a special project, one of those once-in-a-life time moments, that just don’t take place very often for anybody. This was a rare opportunity that any of us hardly ever get involved with.  

I was plenty scared to mail him the picture. If it got lost along the way the whole plan would be down the drain. I had to take the risk so I sent it to Kenny and then called him several times to make sure that he would be on time with this project.                                       

With the painting completed I needed to come up with a special way to present this one-of-a-kind gift to him that would really have a lot of meaning to it. This just wasn’t one of those hand it to him presents and he rips open the gift back in the pits somewhere. This was a defining moment for him in his career and it needed to be handled accordingly. His impact on the sport of drag racing has been huge over the years, and now the driving part of the equation is coming to an end. This is big time!

I felt like I was competing against the other race tracks to come up with a special, meaningful gift for him and this painting idea was the perfect item. I could remember, over the years, the performance efforts by Prudhomme throughout the Northwest and my hope was that this painting would make a statement of “thanks”. Now, how do we present it?

The presenting part of this picture could be very important to get it right. There just has to be someway to make the presentation really special. I mean really, really special.

Next chapter:  The final episode, Snake and the rare photo, Part 5.