Watch the 1983 NHRA Gatornationals Here – Records, Wreckage, Legends, and A Looming Future


Watch the 1983 NHRA Gatornationals Here – Records, Wreckage, Legends, and A Looming Future

Well, 36-years ago the NHRA Gatornationals had a little something for everyone. There were record runs, there were legendary drivers, and there was some wreckage as well. About 2-minues into this video you are going to see Ohio’s Mickey Thompson, a guy named after the hot rodding legend, stuff his Super Gas car pretty hard. Back in the early 1980s, Super Gas cars were running guts out to make the 9.90 index. It was not like today with the huge horsepower, throttle stop stuff that people love to hate. The chassis technology was nowhere near what it is today and yes, these cars were occasionally a handful. Heck, it seems as though watching Super Gas was likely pretty fun for the average fan back then.

Anyway, this is a typical early 1980s Diamond P broadcast were they pick up eliminations in the second round, highlight the fun stories, and keep you apprised of all the fun stuff that is going on. One of the things we love is the fact that the 2019 NHRA Gatornationals will feature Pro Mods that would basically level the funny cars and dragsters of the early 1980s. It is an amazing performance evolution that the sport has seen in 35 years and it’s all coming to a head this weekend in Gainesville just like it did back when Ronald Regan was in office.

One of the things you will not see in this video are the finals in top alcohol dragster and top alky funny car. Both runs were going to be solo passes so the NHRA decided to run the dragster against the funny car for fun. We can promise that it’s something you’d never actually see happen today. People would freak out…fans in a good way, racers in another not-so good way.

We mentioned a “looming future” in the title and that’s eluding to what would happen to Shirley Muldowney later in the 1983 season while racing at Sanair Super Speedway in Canada. She would suffer a massive wreck, breaking bones all over her body and severely mangle her legs. It would be more than half a decade before she would win a race again but no one knew that was coming. It gives a different perspective to watch it knowing what was to come.

Press play below to see the 1983 NHRA GatorNationals highlight reel –


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