CLASSIC VIDEO - 1972 NHRA WORLD FINALS, AMARILLO, TEX
About the only thing predictable about the National Hot Rod Association's 8th Annual World Finals was the fantastic hospitality the citizens of Amarillo showed World Finals contestants and spectators. Everything else ran the gamut, providing the fine crowd of hearty spectators with a most exciting weekend of drag racing action at its finest.
"Unpredictable" was the byword, and Mother Nature lent herself to the occasion by going berserk. One minute the drivers were seating in their firesuits, and the next hour saw qualifying prematurely ended when a hail storm hit the strip! Overall, inclement weather caused cancellation of Thursday's downtown festivities, Friday's qualifying session, and shortened Saturday's qualifying efforts. But, lo and behold, Sunday the sun shone brightly, and it then became the competition, which took over the unpredictability of the event.
Winners ranged from the "sure bet" category like the Pro Stock win of Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, who annexed his first-ever World Finals title, to the Top Fuel win of Jim Walther, who overcame terrific odds to score the upset of the meet.
Such was not the case in Funny Car Eliminator, however, as Larry Fullerton and Kevin Doheny saved their best for last, clicking off a superb 6.58, 222.32 mph effort to upend Jake Johnston's valiant 6.69 bid. For Jake, it marked the second straight World Finals runner-up, and for Larry Fullerton, it marked the highlight in a long and varied career, which has seen more than its share of disappointments.