#30- Tim Grose’s Funny Car Wreck At 1980 NHRA Spring Nationals
The late 1950’s through the early 1980’s were known as the golden era of drag racing. With old school looks, gobs of horsepower, bigger speeds and lower ET’s being broken every weekend, it was a special time for the sport. Safety was also coming into its own as an important fixture in the sport. Tim Grose found this out first hand at the 1980 NHRA Spring Nationals run when his Datsun 280ZX funny car suffered a stuck throttle resulting in one of the most epic crashes NHRA has ever witnessed.
Prior to his run that day, days before Tim had been dealing with a hung or stuck throttle that he’d been meaning to fix. In an interview with Competition Plus years after the crash, he does remember thinking that not fixing that stuck throttle would bite him in the back one day.
Three hundred feet into the run, things went awry. As planned, he let go of the throttle but the throttle got stuck. His Funny car turned quick enough to rip the steering wheel from his hands dislocating his fingers. His Funny car slammed into the rail on his left flipping his car up landing back on the track charging forward. He then slams into the other guard rail on the other side of the track.
The chassis separates from the body with the chassis landing on the knife edge of the rail. The fuel tank rips open and bursts into flames. Thankfully Tim crawls out and away to safety before his fire bottle runs out and his car self-immolates in front of a packed crowd.
8 weeks later and with a new car, Tim made pole at his next event and kept on racing.
Next: #29- Nissan GT-R Tries To Show Off But Gets Airborne and crashes.