Fifty years after winning the Super Stock championship in drag racing’s oldest, largest and most prestigious single event, Terry Earwood returns this week to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park seeking an improbable bookend victory at the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals.
One of motor racing’s most versatile drivers, a winner in straight-line racing, in road racing and in the SCORE off-road series, Earwood will drive a hemi-powered SS/AA 1968 Plymouth Barracuda for Barnett Race Cars with sponsorship from DensWood Sports Marketing.
For 23 years the Chief Instructor at Skip Barber Racing School (1984-2013), Earwood estimates he has taught more than 30,000 students – law enforcement officers, Special Forces troops and anti-terrorist operatives as well as beginning drivers and future racing champions.
In that capacity, he established advanced driving curriculums for a number of police agencies including the Georgia State Patrol and an equal number of schools, among them Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., for whom he developed the state of Florida’s first accredited Police Emergency Vehicle Operator course.
Although he first distinguished himself in drag racing, ultimately earning membership in both the NHRA’s Southeast Division Hall of Fame (1973) and Don Garlits’ International Drag Racing Hall of Fame (1996), Earwood won a record 30 times in the IMSA Endurance Series and, after four frustrating runner-up finishes, was crowned Touring class champion in that series in 1996.
In addition to his lengthy tenure with Skip Barber, he also served as both Competition Director and Director of Driver Development for the SCCA Trans Am Series and as Chief Steward for multiple events and series, as did his father, the late Charles Earwood. He also once was track manager at NHRA’s Gainesville Raceway in Florida.
Earwood won the 1973 Nationals for Steve Bagwell Racing in a Barnett Race Cars-powered 1971 hemi-Barracuda. He beat Dempsey Hardy, Dave Boertman, John Lingenfelter and Rodney Martin to earn a bye into the final round where he dispatched Bill Felker and his 1968 SS/HA Chevy Camaro to collect his first national event win.
Earwood is the older brother of fellow International Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Steve Earwood, the former NHRA National Media Relations Director and principal (with Dave Densmore) in DensWood Sports, who later distinguished himself as owner of both Atlanta Dragway and Rockingham Dragway and currently serves on the board of Racers for Christ International.