Gapp, Garlits And Nicholson Top ’73 Professional Winners
1973’s TOP PROFESSIONALS – Wayne Gapp, Don Garlits and Don Nicholson were the biggest winners of 1973 in the Professional ranks, with Ford Pro Stock driver Wayne Gapp (left) leading the way with wins at the World Finals and Supernationals, along with runner-up performances at the Gatornationals and U.S. Nationals. Garlits took the Winternationals and Supernationals, as well as finishing second at the Springnationals, while Nicholson utilized an early season hot streak to take the Winternationals and Gatornationals.
Ford Pro Stock campaigner Wayne Gapp, with 2 wins and 2 runner-up performances this past year, was 1973’s most successful racer in National Hot Rod Association Pro Stock competition. Right behind Gapp’s heels in the close ratings were Top Fuel driver Don Garlits, with 2 wins and 1 runner-up, and Don Nicholson, who had scored 2 victories and no runner-ups.
The 1973 season, with no one professional racer able to produce more than 2 victories, compares contrastingly to the past two years in NHRA professional competition, which saw Ronnie Sox score 6 wins in 1971 and Bill Jenkins matching the feat in 1972.
There were no double winners in Funny Car at all this year, and aside from Garlits’ 2 wins, the same stands for the Top Fuel ranks.
For Gapp, the season started in frustration, losing the Gatornationals final round to Nicholson’s hole-shot, 9.040 to a 9.039, and then dropping the U.S. Nationals run-off to Bob Glidden by one-hundreth of a second, 9.08 to 9.09. He came on strong at the World Finals however, blasting Bill Jenkins’ 9.34 effort with a 9.17, and then got even with Glidden at the Supernationals, 8.87 to an 8.96.