This is a wild video from 23 years ago that features the top fuel final round from the 1996 NHRA Gatornationals. The race pitted Scott Kalitta against Blaine Johnson in a late evening bout that had the stands at the massive Gainesville Raceway packed. Both guys were fan favorites and both of them knew that any sort of minor slip-up would give the other enough of a window to get to the finish line first. As it turned out, a mind slip-up was the least of Scott Kalitta’s worries on this night.
As you will see, Kalitta’s dragster left the starting line in a dead hook and immediately starts pulling into a wheel stand. With the car accelerating and the wheel stand getting higher and higher, by the time Kalitta went to lift, it as was too late. Completing the classic “blow over” maneuver, Kalitta’s car goes completely vertical, performs a pirouette, and slams back to Earth facing the starting line. Meanwhile, Blaine Johnson is in the other lane watching this while business and formulating a plan as to how to stay out of it.
With Johnson hugging the wall and Kalitta’s car spinning on the track, Johnson whack’s the throttle to squirt by towards the open real estate of the shutdown area. Both men we OK following the incident and you’ll see Kalitta climb from his car.
The place goes nuts when the whole incident goes down and it was one of the most memorable final rounds in the now 50-year history of the event.