Meet the Crew!

Don Garlits
Don GarlitsFounder/CEO
Don founded the Museum in 1976 and for 6 years it resided on his home grounds in Seffner Florida, but had no paying customers! He moved the facility to Ocala in 1983 and this solved the attendance problem as we now have over 45,000 visitors a year. Don continues to work every day, either in his office or shop, doing restoration projects and local car shows even at 85 years of age! He and Lisa find time to travel and do about 12 out of state shows per year as well as Museum group tours. Don and Lisa enjoy time off together mountain biking, kayaking, water-skiing and boating.
Allyson “ Ally” Dearth
Allyson “ Ally” DearthAdministrative Assistant/Gift Shop Manager
Ally joined the Garlits crew in 2014 as a gift shop clerk. Over the course of several years she also took on the roll of Administrative Assistant/Gift Shop Manager. Ally is a key part of the Museum, selecting t-shirt, hat, product designs and ordering merchandise. She is an asset to the team and is the point of contact and coordinator for all the museum events, annual HOF banquets and on the ground special shows. Ally is a Florida native and enjoys kayaking, furniture restoration, being outdoors and spending time with her son.
Chris Bumpus
Chris BumpusRestoration/ Shop Forman
Chris joined the Garlits Crew in 2005 as a maintenance helper and worked his way up to a Master Machinist, being apprenticed by Don himself. Over time he became the Museum’s Restoration Specialist and Shop Foreman. An asset to the museum, Chris can fix or repair most anything in the buildings and assists Don with his tours, shows and restoration projects. Chris enjoys his time off traveling, building cars and bikes, seeking out new restaurants and breweries and spending time with his wife and son.
Jay Makay
Jay MakayVolunteer
Jay has been a Volunteer Detailer for the museum for years. Jay details the cars for special events, magazine photo shoots, special tours and the Gatornationals. Inside he keeps the cars looking brand new and the outside sparkling. He also maintains the cars tires and keeps the collection looking pristine for fans to enjoy.
Lisa Crigar
Lisa CrigarPR/Photographer
Lisa joined the crew as a freelance photographer in 2015. She met Don while on photo assignment for the local newspaper covering his Electric Dragster, SR 37. Today Lisa travels with Don and covers all his events for social media and publications in National magazines. She now books all his Museum group tours and enjoys doing the photography and design work. When she has a spare moment, you will find her working in the gift shop.
Kelle Newton
Kelle NewtonInventory Control/Gift Shop
Kelle joined the crew in 2013 as a Gift Shop Clerk and quickly proved to be a great asset for the museum. She was soon promoted to Inventory Control Supervisor where she excels at keeping track of sales and purchasing merchandise, along with shipping orders to our customers. The Museum stockroom has never looked better, since she took over the inventory in 2013. On her days off Kelle loves to explore new places and spend time with her boyfriend. A Washington State native, Kelle returns home to the majestic mountains as often as she can.
Tom Frauenshuh
Tom FrauenshuhGreeter Antique Building
Tom joined the Crew in 2014 and enjoys greeting fans in the Antique Building. A native from Minnesota ,Tom raced at Brainerd Mn in the 1970’s and has been a “car guy”, all of his life, specializing in sales and restorations. Tom enjoys meeting race fans from all over the world, that come to visit the Museum. A valuable part of the team, Tom loves answering any questions fans have about Don’s collection of over 90 nostalgia and antique cars, engines and artifacts on display in the Antique Museum.
Chuck Keppel
Chuck KeppelComptroller
JenniGift Shop Clerk
Jenni joined the Garlits crew January 2017. She was brought aboard to help with gift shop sales, admissions and inventory replenishment. Jenni also helps with shipping out of state orders, sales and is an upbeat asset to the company. A Florida native, Jennie enjoys time off with her husband and three children exploring the Florida beaches and parks with all they have to offer.

Mike Fordham
Mike FordhamMaintenance
Mike joined the Garlits Crew in 2014 and is a tremendous asset to the museums daily maintenance program. With over 65,000 square feet of museum collection, workshops, Don’s private garage’s and offices, Mike works diligently keeping the collection and spaces pristine, dust and allergen free. Mike also assists and helps with on the grounds car shows, photo shoots and events throughout the year. Born in Ft Lauderdale, Mike enjoys time off going to church, biking and being out on the water.
To preserve the history of drag racing one of the original forms of auto racing known to man through restoration, and preservation of historical vehicles, involvement in research of said history, honoring prominent individuals who were the sports’ pioneers, development of a National Archive and Library, collecting, documentation of state history, educating the general public on the history and progress of all racing and presenting the uniqueness of this sport auto racing.
Nearly 300 vehicles on display and thousands of artifacts. Our antique building has one of the largest collections of Ford’s, also included in the collection are muscle cars and rare vintage automobiles. Our dragracing building has a collection of world-famous, history making dragsters, funny cars, motorcycles, and many other exciting racing vehicles from the early days of dragracing to current day. Spread throughout the two buildings is an amazing collection of hemi engines, flathead engines, rare manifolds, and carburetors that have been restored by Don Garlits himself.