9/10/2008"Big Daddy" meets Obama: It's no secret that "Big Daddy" Don Garlits is politically savvy. Despite an unsuccessful run for Congress in Florida several years ago, Garlits keeps his finger on the pulse of politics and is known in the drag racing circle for openly sharing his opinions via e-mail, so it was perhaps fate that landed Garlits in the Ellis Soda Shoppe & Grill in Abingdon, Va., yesterday just as Sen. Barack Obama was arriving for a photo op with local residents.
According to a Time magazine report, only a few customers were on hand to greet him, but as he made his way around the small restaurant – decorated in antique Coca-Cola memorabilia – he came across Garlits.
"This is the father of drag racing, right here!" Obama said, introducing Garlits to the cameras.
Garlits and his wife, Pat, were visiting their daughter and went to Ellis Soda Shoppe for ice cream. Garlits later told pool reporters that he was impressed with Obama and had watched his announcement speech and convention speeches. A lifelong Republican, Garlits told the pool he was frustrated with Washington and undecided between Obama and Sen. John McCain.