Rain may have delayed opening festivities at the 2010 Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of 20th anniversary celebrations for Darrell Gwynn. Darrell’s famed 1990 Coors Extra Gold Special dragster made not one – but two – appearances on Friday before a crowd of dedicated fans. Prior to the first Top Fuel qualifying runs, the Coors Extra Gold show car that raised more than $400,000 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Auto Show was spotlighted and towed down the length of the track to sustained applause. Then, as the final pair of Top Fuel qualifiers appeared, Doug Kalitta’s dragster caught the eye of fans, media and competing race teams…sporting Darrell’s 1990 Coors paint scheme. Racing legends Darrell Gwynn and Connie Kalitta joined the dragster at the starting line for a special on-track presentation of the “Coors colors” in honor of Gwynn’s final NHRA victory 20 years ago at the 1990 Gatornationals.
One month after Gwynn drove his Coors Extra Gold Special to victory in the 1990 Gatornationals, his career was cut short when the tragic Easter Sunday crash at England’s Santa Pod Raceway left him paralyzed from the chest down. Through the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, Gwynn now raises awareness and money to help children and young adults living with spinal cord injuries and debilitating disease by spearheading spinal cord injury education programs, supporting long-term healthcare services for new spinal cord injury patients, and raising money for a cure. The Coors tribute dragster was presented by Kalitta Motorsports to help raise awareness and funds for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and celebrate Darrell’s last major event victory at the 1990 Gatornationals.