Don Nicholson (May 28, 1927 (Halltown, Missouri – January 24, 2006) was an American drag racer from Georgia. He raced in the 1960s and '70s when there were few national events. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) estimates he won 90 percent of his match races. As of 2002, he held the record for the most number of categories in which he reached a final round (won or took second at an event): Funny Car, Pro Stock, Super Stock, Competition Eliminator, Stock, and Street. He was nicknamed "Dyno Don" after he was one of the first drivers to use a chassis dynamometer on his cars in the late 1950s, a skill that he learned while working as a line mechanic at a Chevrolet car dealer.
Nicholson was born at Halltown, Missouri but was raised at Pasadena, California. While in high school, he joined the United States Navy which wiped out his many speeding tickets. Nicholson began racing in jalopies on oval tracks in the late 1940s before moving to the dry lakes at the Bonneville and El Mirage. He was already an experienced driver when drag strips began opening in Southern California. During the 1950s, Nicholson was a manager at Service Chevrolet. Nicholson got his nickname "Dyno Don" by being the first person to be trained on Service's dynamometer (dyno). In 1961, Nally Chevrolet lured Nicholson to move his family to Georgia by giving him his own dyno shop and race car.
Nicholson became nationally known to drag racing fans when he won the Stock class at NHRA's first Winternationals in 1961 with a 12 second pass. The win helped his business in Southern California, and gave him access to factory developed Chevrolet vehicles and special racing parts. He repeated as the 1962 Winternationals winner. He received lucrative offers from promoters in the Southeastern United States, so moved to Atlanta to compete in match races. Chevrolet and the other American car manufacturers decided to drop their factory backing in 1963 and his vehicle became uncompetitive. He switched to a Mercury Comet for 1964 in the A/Factory Experimental (A/FX) division. He won over 90 percent of match races he entered that year. That year he made the first 10 second pass in a doorslammer, as well as being the first driver to lift the front wheels when he shifted gears.