LEGENDS THE SERIES – THE LEGEND OF DARRELL GWYNN
Early in 1990, 28-year-old Darrell “the Kid” Gwynn was being fitted for a crown that pundits assumed he would wear for years to come. Hailed as “the man who would be king,” he was heir apparent to Top Fuel legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits to whom he had finished second in points in 1986. In little more than four pro seasons, he had won 18 races and finished no worse than fourth in the Top Fuel driver standings.
However, on Easter Sunday, shortly after winning the Gatornationals, the biggest event in his home state of Florida, fate intervened and transformed the man Garlits called “the Wolf” (“because he was so hungry”) from on-track hero to off-track inspiration.
In this, the final episode of Legends: The Series, Season Three, Gwynn, now 56, talks about the sacrifices his family made to make his dream of a racing career possible, his initial naivety in thinking he could compete with Garlits and the other legends of the sport and, finally, the accident at Santa Pod Raceway in England that left him paralyzed.
The post-accident Darrell Gwynn, with the continued support of his dad Jerry, devoted himself to helping others with disabilities through the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and The Miami Project. Nevertheless, forever a racer at heart, whether racing dragster or wheelchairs, he admits that even now “I live off the memories of winning races. That’s what keeps me going.”