Meet the Crew 2017-08-31T16:22:28+00:00

Meet the Crew!

Don and Pat Garlits
Don and Pat GarlitsFounders/CEO
Don and Pat founded the Museum in 1976 and for 6 years it resided on his Seffner Florida home grounds, but they had no paying customers! In 1983, he and Pat moved the facility to Interstate 75, outside of Ocala, FL, this solved their problem, as we now enjoy over 45,000 visitors a year! Don continues to work every day, either in his shop, office or on the show circuit! Don is involved in all the  restoration projects and even does some local car shows, at over 85 years of age! Pat passed away in 2014, but her sprit remains in the Museum forever, that she helped create! 
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. Don and Lisa enjoy time off together mountain biking, kayaking, water-skiing and boating and do about 12 out of state shows per year as well as Museum group tours.
Chuck Keppel
Chuck KeppelGeneral Manager/Comptroller
Chuck is Don’s nephew via Pat Garlits who is the sister of Chuck’s mom. Chuck joined us in 2017 taking his cousin Donna Garlits place when she retired from the museum. Chuck prior to joining the museum was in law enforcement for 18 years. Chuck has grown up around drag racing and went to several races with Don as a child. He would waive his arm out the window of the truck, as it went down the track, after every run Don made. Chuck can point out several cars in the museum he has sat in and watched race.
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.
Allyson “ Ally” Dearth
Allyson “ Ally” DearthAdministrative Assistant
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. 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.
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.
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.
Terry Lorge
Terry LorgeTransporter/Assistant
Terry joined the museum in 2006, after 43 years in law enforcement retiring as Chief of Police. Terry has been in drag racing for thirty years. He continues to race a dragster, when time permits, competing in the Sportsman class. Terry transports vehicles, memorabilia, and equipment for the museum when Don travels across the country on his tours and personal appearances. Terry also assists Don at these shows and appearances with whatever needs to be done. Terry’s passion for the sport of drag racing and the opportunity to work for his childhood hero was what brought him to the museum.
Jenni
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.

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.
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.
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.