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1989 Supernationals

28 Apr 2016
Alex Waldron, National Dragster Associate Editor
Throwback Thursday
This weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Texas for the 29th annual NHRA SpringNationals in Houston to close the first back-to-back races of the season. This week, we will look through the NHRA National Dragster photo files from the second national event held in Houston, the 1989 Supernationals. 
 
(Above) Here’s an aerial view of Royal Purple Raceway in 1989. It is known as a site of many record-setting performances due to its proximity to Trinity Bay. (Below) Being close to the bay brings in cool air, and at this race, the air wasn’t just cool, it was freezing, making for NHRA’s first “cold-out” event with temperatures around 32 degrees throughout the weekend.

 
Joe Amato had a very good outing, finishing as the Top Fuel runner-up. He ran consistent five-second e.t.s and a 4.99 that was low e.t. of the meet. Here, Amato’s crew warmed up the car before the final round against Gary Ormsby.
 
Scott Kalitta earned his first victory in his seven-year Pro driving career at the event. He came from behind to take the final-round win over Bruce Larson, 5.576 to 5.589. This win was especially tough for Kalitta, who hobbled around on a broken leg that he injured in a skiing accident.
 
John Polk collected his first, and only, national event win in Comp at the chilly Supernationals. He had an easy final-round victory when Raymond Martin red-lighted.
 
Jim White experienced an oil issue with his Hawaiian Punch Daytona Funny Car. He made an early exit on race day when eventual runner-up Bruce Larson defeated him in the first round. 
 
Russ Nyberg became the third Pro Stock Motorcycle rider to run in the 170-mph zone during round two. He posted a semifinal finish against eventual runner-up Dave Schultz.
 
Gary Ormsby earned his fourth Wally and second straight Top Fuel title of 1989 with a holeshot victory in the final against Joe Amato, 5.09 to 5.03. The field was the quickest and tightest in NHRA history with a 5.14 bump spot that surpassed the old record of 5.22.