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If you’re child of the ’60s and ’70s, before cable TV and the internet, the chances are good that your first exposure to national drag racing—and a multitude of other sports as well—came from ABC’s Wiide World of Sports, the long-running sports anthology TV show. As host Jim Mckay declared in his famous introduction every Saturday afternoon, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” And along with figure skating, cliff diving, and the Harlem Globetrotters, NHRA drag racing was a staple of the program.

This 12-minute segment from a 1966 broadcast features the U.S. Nationals from Indianapolis, the Big Go as NHRA calls it, and the reporter is none other than Keith Jackson, who later found glory as the college football announcer with the catchphrase, “Whoa, Nellie!” There’s a nice piece on the legendary Top Stock Eliminator showdown between Jere Stahl’s Hemi Plymouth and Bill Jenkins’ small-block Chevy II, but the focus here is on the big show, Top Fuel. In those days the slider clutch had not yet been developed, so the fuelers smoked their tires halfway down the track to add even more drama to the spectacle. Top Fuel at Indy in ’66 was another battle for the ages, but we’ll let you watch for yourself. Video below.


 
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