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Snake and Mongoose Hit the Big Screen

The Epic Drag Race Rivalry Comes to Theaters

If you’re an old school drag racing fan, I’m sure you’re familiar with the rivalry of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoo$e” McEwen: two ordinary guys with a love for drag racing, who became famous overnight. Both were the hot ticket in the ‘70s, wherever they traveled people came to see them compete. Known for a deal made with Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand, each driver’s replica model car sold millions and generated lots of ad revenue.

The Snake and Mongoose rivalry started out as two friends, hanging out in Southern California and racing drag cars at local tracks on weekends. It wasn’t until Prudhomme was given the nickname “The Snake” that McEwen decided on the rival name “The Mongoose.” McEwen sold the idea of marketing the two names on toy cars to Mattel in 1969, it was then that the two friends turned into stiff competitors. From there, drag racing went viral and the history was never the same.

Prudhomme drove a ’70 Plymouth Barracuda with a blown 446-inch, while McEwen drove a ’75 Plymouth Duster packed with a blown Hemi. It’s said that “The Snake” would blow-up his engine at every race to beat the competition, the car was faster than “The Mongoo$e’s” because he spent more time tuning and testing it. McEwen has been quoted saying he was more interested in running good, putting on a quality show and not wasting money - while Prudhomme’s main focus was to win. Both cars ran in NHRA’s “Funny Car” class.

If the story of pioneers of drag racing interests you, be sure to check out the upcoming feature-length film about its history. Scheduled to hit theaters nationwide September 6th, the “Snake and Mangoo$e” movie is sure to bring life back to drag racing. It is a compelling action drama that depicts Prudhomme and McEwen’s personal triumphs and tragedies, as well as their deal with Mattel that revolutionized sports marketing.

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