Prudhomme puts Snake Racing up for sale

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Year No. 47 for Don "The Snake" Prudhomme in NHRA drag racing will be the last if his team doesn't find a buyer or sponsor by year's end, Prudhomme announced Saturday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Snake Racing has fielded Top Fuel and Funny Car entries at varying times for 15 years. This year it has run a Top Fueler for rookie Spencer Massey, who has one win and is seventh in points with a spot clinched in the Countdown for 1 playoffs.

"Over the past few years our sport has seen expenses for all professional teams escalate significantly, making it impractical to continue doing business as usual," Prudhomme said.

Prudhomme had recently been in talks for a second Top Fuel car, but everything changed with a call from sponsor U.S. Smokeless. Representatives from the tobacco company, bought by Philip Morris' parent company last year, said it would not sponsor the team past 2009.

"It caught us off guard to say the least. We thought it best to tell everybody now," Prudhomme said. "I will not come out here and run and use up every dime I have to do this."

Snake Racing's shop is in Brownsburg, Ind., about two miles from O'Reilly Raceway Park. The shop and all its Top Fuel assets are up for sale.

Prudhomme's team won the Top Fuel championship in 2002-03 with driver Larry Dixon. In his driving career, Prudhomme won 49 races driving both Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars, including seven U.S. Nationals. He gained notoriety in the 1970s when Mattel Toys released Hot Wheels cars based on his race cars.

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