California Hot Rod Reunion

October 21-23, 2011

October 6, 2011

Nostalgia Racing Highlights 20th California Hot Rod Reunion

More than 300 Vintage Dragsters Ready to Roar Down the Track

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – More than 300 racers are headed to the 20th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 21-23 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Jim Murphy, Tony Bartone, Brett Harris, Ron Capps, Mendy Fry, Ron Huegli and Mike Lewis are just some of the recognizable racers that are looking forward to on-track action at the Reunion.

“I always look forward to the track at Famoso....There is a certain feel that place has, a certain smell that takes me right back to being there when I was a kid. The most unique is the atmosphere of what it was years ago watching nostalgia nitro funny cars, front motored top fuel dragters, Henry J's, Anglia's, and best of all the Fuel Altereds, all make runs during the day, it's a great time,” said NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps.

From Nostalgia Top Fuel and Funny Cars, to exhibitions and even some Midwestern Gassers, the California Hot Rod Reunion gives fans a one-of-a-kind experience different from today’s drag races. “This is racing just the way it used to be 50s through 70s. It’s also a great opportunity to share it with younger generations and share the unpredictable, fun of nostalgia style drag racing,” said Reunion organizer and this year’s Grand Marshal Steve Gibbs.

Since its inception in 1992, the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion has offered hot rodders and racers the opportunity to reunite with old friends and reminisce about “the good old days.” The Reunion includes nostalgia drag racing, historical displays, legends and stars of the sport, and the highly popular “Cacklefest,” which involves early-days-style front-engine dragsters being push-started, then all gathered together down the drag strip center line with engines running or ‘cackling.”

Here is a list of the 20th CHRR racer entries:

TOP FUEL

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

2006 CHRR & March Meet Champ Jim Murphy of Santa Rosa, CA.,
2007 CHRR/2010 NHRR Champ Brad Thompson of High Speed Motorsports (Anaheim, CA.),
First CHRR Champ (1992) Bill Dunlap of Placentia, CA.,
Jim Boyd of Redondo Beach, CA.,
2009 NHRA Winternationals FC champ Tony Bartone of Long Island, NY,
Brett Harris of Utah,
Dan Horan of Big Bear City, CA.,
Terry Cox of Sacramento, CA.,
Mike Irwin of Sacramento, CA.,
James Young of Morrison, IL.,
Howard Haight of Mr. Boston Motorsports (Springfield, MA.),
Mendy Fry with Mike Fuller Racing (Livermore, CA.) and
2009 CHRR Champ Rick McGee from Exeter, CA.
2008 CHRR Champ Rick White of San Diego, CA

FUNNY CAR

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Nathan Bugg of Orange, CA,
Mark Hentges driving for Bucky Austin/Tacoma, WA,
Mike Lewis of Moreno Valley, CA
Mike Halstead of Paso Robles, CA
Paul Romine of Fishers, IN,
John Hale of Dallas, TX,
Dennis Taylor/Accelerated Motorsports of Anaheim, CA,
Mike Savage/Nostalgia Motorsports of Tucson, AZ.,
Roger Garten (Fallbrook, CA),
Dale VanGundy of Anaheim, CA,
Steve Rajic of Orange, CA,
Ed Dougan of Brea, CA,
Ronny Young of Wylie, TX,
Chris Davis of Spokane, WA,
Rick Rogers of Atascadero, CA,
Donald Watkins of Corona, CA,
Kurt Cruise of Fair Oaks, CA,
2009 CHRR Champ Kris Krabill,
Garrette Bateman of Hesperia, CA,
John Powers of Phoenix, AZ.,
Jim Adolph of Fallbrook, CA,
Dan Horan Jr. of Rancho Cascades, CA,
Chad Head of Columbus, OH,
NHRA driver Ron Capps driving Del and dad Chuck Worsham’s car,
Will Martin of San Dimas, CA,
Chris Bennett of North Las Vegas, CA,
Claude Lavoie of Anderson, CA,
Rian Konno of Rosemead, CA,
Dwayne Patton of Visalia, CA,
Steven Densham of Bellflower, CA,
Kebin Kinsley of Clovis, CA,
Lee Paul Jennings of Sonora, CA,
Dennis La Charite of Torrance, CA,
Jon Capps of Schertz, TX,
Mike Smith of Schertz, TX.


A/FUEL

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Bobby Evans of Mariposa, CA,
John Evans of Salt Lake City, UT,
2009 CHRR Champ Bill Wayne of Bullhead City, AZ,
Bill Genco of Westchester, CA,
Les Davenport of Alberta, Canada,
Jerry Kamre Jr. of Rohnert Park, CA,
Shawn Corbari of Santa Clara, CA,
Jeremy Sullivan of Riverside, CA,
John Hanless of Tulsa, OK,
Darrell Waters of Bakersfield, CA.

JR FUEL

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Jeff Jones of Garland, TX,
Johnnie Laird of Ardmore, OK,
Dean Carter of Glendale, AZ,
Odie Coker of Dallas, TX,
Brandon Lewis of Kiefer, OK.,
Bud Hammer of Oxnard, CA,
2009 CHRR Champ Bob Lander of Sebastopol, CA,
Fred Notzka of Ventura, CA,
Rich Fenton of San Lorenzo, CA,
Brandon Lewis of Kiefer, OK,
J.D. Zink of Chico, CA,
Marc McCormick of Escondido, CA.

7.0 PRO

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Darrell Webb/Webb Family Motorsports of Alberta, Canada,
Terri Brewster of Rio Rico, AZ,
Bob Murphy of Clovis, CA,
Ronnie Lennon of Macdrel, CA,
Michael Bearsken of Redding, CA,
Greg Howland of Wenarhee, WA,
Mike Smith of El Cajon, CA,
Richard High of Lake Havasu City, AZ,
Don Dicero of Vacaville, CA,
Tommy Schiffilea of San Gabriel, CA,
Mike Hoyt Sr of Lake Elsinore, CA,
Dean Oberg of Norco, CA,
Richard Phillips of Visalia, CA,
Dan Maciel of Sonora, CA,
Dave Rosenberg of Long Beach, CA,
Cody Anstead of Spruce Grove, Alberta, CAN,
Lawton Ferreira II of Spring Valley, CA,
Dewayne Sanders of Albany, OR,
Chris Ludwig of Bailey, CO,
Todd Miller of Fairview, OR,
The Sekura Bros Ron and Corey of Alberta, CAN,
Cal Tebb of CAN,
Joey Steckler (Alberta, CAN),
Jerry Beach of Woodland Hills, CA,
Brian Nancy of Amado, AZ,
Jim Scott of Fallbrook, CA,
Jess Sturgeon of Costa Mesa, CA,
2011 Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion 7.0 Pro Champ Ron Huegli of OR,
Mark Vaught of Indiana, and
the legendary NHRA driver Larry Dixon Sr.

A/GAS

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Dave Torgrimson of Fresno, CA
Aaron Wakdell of Rancho Cordova, CA
Steve Pullin of Tacoma, WA
Andy Hiemstra of Northridge, CA
Wayne Schott of Clovis, CA
Frank Merenda of Paso Robles, CA
Augustine Herrera of Montebello, CA
Craig Powell of Modesto, CA
Rafael Quroga of Santa Ynez, CA
Richard Wilson of Azusa, CA
Mark Gordon of Mendocino, CA
Rich Roberts of Atwater, CA
Robert Patten of Tracy, CA
Dean Lindsey of Santa Paula, CA
Jim Godec of Carson City, NV
Al White of Azusa, CA
Mike Doushgounian of San Martin, CA
Ray Padgett of Santa Paula, CA
Casey Treur of Santa Maria, CA
Ken Ratzloff of Idaho Falls, ID
Ralph Willis of Salinas, CA
Bret Pichler of Cameron Park, CA
Dave Gruzen of Garden Grove, CA
Leonard Perry of Strathmore, CA
Bruce Sanders of Clovis, CA
Rick Logsdon of Bakersfield, CA
Terry Newton of Tulare, CA
Jimmy White of Covina, CA
Monti Fitzgerald of Richmond, CA
Jim Data of Ojai, CA
Dennis Burch of Santa Ana, CA
John Overholser of Selma, CA
2009 CHRR Champ Chris Beanes of Arcadia, CA
Brent Harris of Alberta, CAN,
Terry Hatcher of Alberquerque, NM, and
Brendon Frye of Taft, CA.

NE1

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Frank Miller of Gold Hill, OR,
Gil Valencia of Tehachapi, CA
Alex Barrett of Beaumont, CA
Hans Jakob of Ontario, CA
James Valencia of Tehachapi, CA
Jordan Frolka of Simi Valley, CA
Chris Edwards of Porterville, CA
Chuck Bayuk of San Diego, Ca
Johnny Cofer of Napa, CA
Dave Gruzen of Lakewood, CA
Robert Byrd of Reseda, CA
Dan Cantrell of La Habra Heights, CA
Brian Shubert of San Diego, CA
Dennis Neverve of Palo Alto, CA
Ted McCord of Kiefer, OK
Bryan Carmack of Palisade, CO
Alan Hull of Arcadia, CA
Phil Lukens of Pasadena, CA
Eily Stafford of Mt Laguna, CA
Tim Brown of Lakewood, CA
Bruce McDowell of Chula Vista, CA
Dale Taros of La Mirada, CA
Don Taros of San Pedro, CA
Rick MacDonald of Escondido, CA
Dave Ward of Crestline, CA
Jim Black of Paso Robles, CA
George Johns of Bakersfield, CA
Tony Wimer of Redlands, CA
Joe Roseberry of Wofford Heights, CA
Randall Kearney of Tarzana, CA
Dan Schrokosch of San Marcos, CA
Garret Crisp of Visalia, CA
Kevin Sarginson of Atwater, CA
Robert Lee of Monrovia, CA
Scott Corbett of Sparks, NV
Mike Fitzello of Glendora, CA
Gabe Wood of Bakersfield, CA

A/FX

Entries as of Oct. 6, 2011:

Lynsi Martinez of Glendora, CA
Justin Ruby of Visalia, CA
Todd Hoffman of Vista, CA
Mike Donn of Yuba City, CA
Ken Godsey of Anvada, CO
Denny Sanders of Victorville, CA
Joel Miner of Ramona, CA
Bobby Shahan (son of “Drag-On Lady” Shirley Shahan) of Tulare, CA
Larry Knapp of Pinow Higgs CA
Marvin Reiser of Escondido, CA
Dave Scott of Santee, CA
Thomas Tuso of Frisco, CO
Steve Whitemore of Dixon, CA
Ernie Algorri of Pasadena, CA
Frederick Kyle of Covina, CA
Jack Goodrich of Laguna Nigel, CA
Val Torres of Baldwin Park, CA
Clint Haskin of Aztec, NM
Glen Gibbons of Apache Jct., AZ

CACKLEFEST – 57 entries

Kuhl & Olson 1969 Top Fuel Dragster
Green Monster #5 Dragster
Beebe Mulligan
Don Long’s AA/FD
Doug Thorley’s Chevy 2 Much
“Iron Mule”
“Addict”
Ed Pink’s “Old Master”
Doss, Clayton & King with Honoree Wayne King

EXHIBITION

Pat Borovicka of Spring Valley, CA
Tom Sceberras of Laguna Hills, CA
George Scarpenti of San Jose, CA
Dale Snoke of Glendora, CA
Bill Workman of Long Beach, CA
“Hot Rod” Sharai Steinbacher (NHRA Motorsports Museum staff) of Upland, CA
Jerry Miller of Lake Havasu City, AZ
Mike Thompson of Ridgefield, WA
Jackie Brown of Ventura, CA
Ken Brown of Ventura, CA
Roy Pool of Camarillo, CA
Tim Dodd of Eagle Rock, CA
Paul Soliz of El Monte, CA
Lindsey Lister of San Pedro, CA
Wayne Darby of Richmond, BC
Joe Grace of Burson CA
John Hildetsrand of Encinitas, CA
Past CHRR Honoree Jess Tyree of Canyon Lake, CA
Bill Grace of Burson, CA
Joe Furiani of San Gabriel, CA
Doug Auzene of Burbank, CA
Danny Roslan of Paso Robles, CA
Steve Duke of Arleta, CA
Steve Rutkowski of Duanesburg, NY
Troy Moyle of Reno, NV
Jeff Utterback of Irvine, CA
Ron Hope’s “Rat Trap” Fuel Altered of Franklin, TN
Jason Richey of Pleasanton, CA
Roger Burton of Hoguiam, WA
Bones Balough of Long Beach, CA
Gary Campbell of South El Monte, CA
Tom Kuenzi of Menifee, CA
Gregg Scott of El Cajon, CA
Kathy Lloyd Castro Valley, CA
Phil Featherson of Stockton, CA
Jeremy Hanger of Norwalk, CA
Ross Walker of Langley, CANADA
Devery Berry of Modesto, CA
Mark Capps of Fresno, CA
Bobby Tocco of Riverside, CA
Gary Morris of Fontana, CA

GASSERS from the Midwest - 6

Chuck Lipka '41 Willys coupe "Little Booger”
Jesse James '40 Willys coupe "Gunslinger”
Ron Doran '40 Willys coupe "Ferdinand”
Ron Normann '41 Willys coupe "Airoso Brothers"
Randy Addington '37 Chevy coupe "Addington Speed Shop"
Al Chernik '41 Willys coupe "Acme Racing"

October 3, 2011

Here is a tentative list of CHRR racer entries:

TOP FUEL - 10
Notables: Former Reunion & March Meet Champ Jim Murphy, 1992 CHRR Champ Bill Dunlap, 2009 NHRA Winternationals FC champ Tony Bartone of Long Island, NY, another Reunion Champ Brett Harris of Utah, and Dan Horan of Big Bear City, CA.

FUNNY CAR - 20
Notables: Nathan Bugg of Orange, CA, Mark Hentges driving for Bucky Austin/Tacoma, WA, Mike Lewis, Mike Halstead, Paul Romine of Fishers, IN, John Hale of Dallas, TX, Dennis Taylor/Accelerated Motorsports of Anaheim, CA, Mike Savage/Nostalgia Motorsports of Tucson, AZ.

A/FUEL - 10
Notables: Bobby Evans of Mariposa, CA, John Evans of Salt Lake City, UT, Bill Wayne of Bullhead City, AZ, Bill Genco of Westchester, CA, Les Davenport of Alberta.

JR FUEL - 10
Notables: Jeff Jones of Garland, TX, Johnnie Laird of Ardmore, OK, Dean Carter of Glendale, AZ, Odie Coker of Dallas, TX, Brandon Lewis of Kiefer, OK.

7.0 PRO - 27
Notables: Darrell Webb/Webb Family Motorsports of Alberta, Canada, Terri Brewster of Rio Rico, AZ, Todd Miller of Fairview, OR, Sekura Bros Racing of Alberta, Jim Scott of Fallbrook, CA, Jess Sturgeon of Costa Mesa, CA, 2011 Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion 7.0 Pro Champ Ron Huegli of OR, Mark Vaught of Indiana, and the legendary Larry Dixon Sr!!

A/GAS - 33
Notables: Brent Harris of Alberta, CAN, Terry Hatcher of Alberquerque, NM, and Brendon Frye of Taft, CA.

NE1 - 34
Frank Miller of Gold Hill, OR, Gil Valencia of Tehachapi, CA

A/FX - 18
Lynsi Martinez of Glendora, CA

CACKLEFEST - 53

EXHIBITION - 36

GASSERS - 6

 

Gibbs honored as Grand Marshall

Steve Gibbs has a busy next few weeks ahead of him. Along with planning one of largest nostalgia drag racing’s events on the West Coast and just returning from Bonneville and Indy, Gibbs will be honored as Grand Marshal at the 20th Annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 21-23, at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in McFarland, CA near Bakersfield. This year, the Reunion celebrates 20 amazing years, and who better to act as Grand Marshal than the man who played a major role in the creation of the first California Hot Rod Reunion back in 1992.

For those of you who don’t know Steve, affectionately known as “Big Hook”, his love affair with drag racing started in the 1950s. He started working part time at the old San Gabriel and Fontana Drag Strips numbering cars and reporting for Drag News. By the mid-‘60s, Gibbs had become manager of Irwindale Raceway. He ran staging in the heyday of the Smoker’s March Meets when six Top Fuel dragsters would be lit at the same time; two on the starting line, two waiting to stage and two on the fire-up road. In 1969, he joined NHRA as advertising director of National Dragster. A year later when NHRA increased its national event schedule, “Big Hook” was appointed assistant to Executive Director Jack Hart. In 1982 he was appointed NHRA Vice President-Competition and directed more than 400 national events. In the early 1990’s he formed NHRA Historical Services to gather material and provide the genesis that led directly to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum where he served as its first Executive Director. In 1991 he received the prestigious Car Craft Ollie Award for career-long contributions to the sport and was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Today he’s semi-retired and serves as a board member of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. Besides acting as Grand Marshal at Famoso, Gibbs plans to still help run the event but take some time to enjoy his Grand Marshal duties as well as have some fun with his family and friends reminiscing about the past 19 Reunions and what’s to come.

 

Steve took a moment in his busy schedule to talk with us about the past 19 Reunions and reminisce of his 30-plus NHRA career:

1. The California Hot Rod Reunion is celebrating 20 years, now, did you think it would come this far?

When we initiated the CHRR, we had no conception of where it was headed….but we’re still here after 20 years – so I guess it was a pretty good idea. Drag racing and hot rodding was such a big part of so many of us especially those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and we were all reaching an age when we started looking back on shared times - the best times of our lives.

It has been a very rewarding event that has brought many friends back together, and continues to do so after 20 years. The event has grown, and changed, but I hope we always keep our focus on the original intent.

2. When did you get hooked into drag racing?

One of the first places I went to, when I got my first car in 1956, was to the original San Gabriel Drag Strip. I was intrigued by the cars, and the challenge. The sport was young, the rules were wide open, and so many new things were being tried. You didn’t know from one week to the next what might show up.

I didn’t have the money or skills to race, so I started working my way into the organizational part of drag racing and I have been fortunate enough to carve out a long career. Being a kid of the 50’s, I shared the love affair with cars that so many of us experienced. I’m not overjoyed with the fact that I’m now a 71 year old senior citizen, but I’m glad that I grew up when I did, and was able to experience this sport through so many exciting phases.

3. How has drag racing changed since you’ve started?

It has evolved tremendously, and is now a highly sophisticated professional motorsport. When I first got into the sport, everyone basically did their own creating and development and it led to some really unconventional cars. The development continues today, but it is much more refined and less visible. Also the sheer expense of competitive racing has taken the sport to a level that is beyond the reach of the general public. Also, in the past, there was a sense of unpredictability which has faded due to the domination of the elite teams. It’s just evolution and refinement, and not something unique to drag racing. We need to continue to find ways to attract the younger folks into drag racing, and perpetuate all that we collectively created.

4. What are some of your other memorable moments at the California Hot Rod Reunion? Tell Us about the Ring of Fire?

The “Ring of Fire” was a fun deal, and I would like see it done again someday. We definitely maximized the sounds, smell, and feel of power by having 50 cars…mostly nitro burners line up a huge circle, and fire their engines simultaneously. All of the cars had their drivelines disconnected for obvious safety reasons. To raise money for the museum, we sold 1320 tickets, at $13.20 each, to stand in the middle of the circle, and the fans are still talking about the “sensory overload”. Anyway, it was definitely something that was never done before…or since…and it generated some well needed funds for museum projects. There are many great memories from the past 19 reunions, including the introduction of Cacklefest…which has done so much to get legendary cars and racers re-involved. In the end however, I appreciate, and take pride, in what the reunions have done to pull old friends back together. It’s easy to get a little sentimental, as I recall so many old friends that have passed on, but I’m thankful for the chance we had to cross paths once again at the CHRR events. I certainly miss Wally Parks, and the never ending support he gave us.

5. What are your thoughts on the future of the Museum, the Reunions and nostalgic drag racing in general?

I am very encouraged on the future of the Museum. We have a great Board of Directors, and a dedicated staff, with a rich history to share. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate the continued support of individual donors, the backing of NHRA, and Fairplex, and the concentrated efforts of Mr. Tom McKernan, and

The Automobile Club of Southern California, in supporting the goals of the museum. I think Wally would be proud of the progress that is being made.

As for the reunion, I am hopeful that enough of the younger folks share the same feelings about the sport, and continue to keep things going after we old timers fade away. There is a great deal of current interest in the more traditional…or nostalgic style of drag racing, and it is encouraging to see a lot of younger guys and gals getting involved. We have a great heritage to preserve.


Along with Gibbs, this year’s Honorees to be recognized for their contribution to drag racing’s history are Harry Hibler, Wayne King, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury, and George Santos.

 



The 20th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 21-23, 2011 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm.

Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum (www.museum.nhra.com), presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, and located in Pomona, Calif., the Reunion is part of the museum’s “living history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.

Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods and customs of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.

Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso Raceway gate, (www.famosoraceway.com). The cost per person per day is just $25. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available at the gate. Purchase 3-day credentials prior to Oct. 14 and receive a ticket discount and “goodie” bag. Ticket available online at www.nhratix.com or by phone, 1-800-884-6472

The Reunion features a wide variety of activities and events, including:

NHRA vintage drag racing, featuring some the sport’s most famous and historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Nostalgia Top Fuel, Nostalgia Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Gassers, AFX, Hot Rods and others. It’s the grand finale of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series.
Hundreds of gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, custom cars, rat rods, classics and muscle cars. Hot Rod Deluxe Memory Lane will have a display of nostalgic race cars.
British motorcycle and music icon Ace Cafe London will erect a party tent at the 20th California Hot Rod Reunion, offering beverages, snacks, live music and memorabilia. If you love speed and rock n roll, then you will want to visit the temporary Ace Cafe London at the Reunion.
California Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bakersfield, Fri., Oct. 21, from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Open to everyone at no charge, it’s a tribute to Reunion Grand Marshal, Honorees and the Justice Brothers Car Care Products Reunion Spotlight. The reception offers a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing’s heroes.
A Colossal Cacklefest on Saturday and Sunday, where nitro-burning historic, front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are push started just like in the “old days.”

The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with hot rod and automotive related vendors. Something for everyone!
Information, including a full activities schedule, entry forms and tickets, is available through the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at http://museum.nhra.com. For general Reunion information, please call the Museum at 909/622-8562.

Proceeds of the California Hot Rod Reunion benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif. Founded in 1998 and named for the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, the Parks Museum, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 60 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.


BAKERSFIELD, CA – Here are the top 10 reasons to attend the 20th annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Oct. 21-23. Our suggestion -- Do it all and come back for more!

1. Racin’, racin’ and more racin’ like the good ol’ days

Three action-packed days of nostalgic drag racing keeps the grandstands at Auto Club Famoso Raceway jammed. As many as 300 racers in Nostalgia Top Fuel, Nostalgia Funny Car, A/Fuel, Junior Fuel, 7.0 Pro, A/Gas, Nostalgia Eliminator, A/FX and Exhibition battle it out for the Reunion championship. The Reunion is also the season finale of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series.

2. Shop ’til you Drop at the Vendor’s Midway
The California Hot Rod Reunion is a great place to shop. Find vintage speed equipment, used parts and memorabilia of all kinds in the swap meet at the top end of the track. Shop for new garb in the Vendor’s Midway where dozens of well known names like Clay Smith, Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and NHRA set up shop. Make sure you pick up this year’s commemorative items including the official Cacklefest shirt and Reunion poster. Get it signed by your favorite racing legends. Look for Reunion Central Tent.

3. ACE Cafe London - The World Comes to Bakersfield

The Ace Cafe London will have you shouting “The British are coming! The British are coming!” because the motorcycle and music icon will erect a party tent at the Reunion, offering live music, beverages, snacks, memorabilia and a spot of Brit humor. British motorcycle icon Ace Cafe was originally built in 1938 as a roadside stop, and soon attracted young motorcyclists from all parts of London looking for a place to call their own, meet friends, listen to rock n’ roll, and talk bikes. By the 1960s, this combination produced the generation of Rockers and Mods. Ace Cafe became legendary. Mark Wilsmore restored and reopened the Ace in 2001 (http://www.ace-cafe-london.com/), and today thousands of visitors drop by from as far away as Berlin, Cape Town, or Tokyo to enjoy a cup of tea or a meal with other enthusiasts. If you love speed and rock n roll, then you will want to visit the temporary Ace Cafe London at the Reunion.

Famoso becomes the United Nations of drag racing when racers and fans from across the globe flock to Bakersfield, CA. Some of the world contenders on the drag strip include race teams from Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Stroll through the racing pits for the chance to meet and see these world visitors. Look for the world flags represented in the pits!

4. Hit the Road with the 2011 AMSOIL STREET RODDER Road Tour

Back again for another adventure at the Reunion is the popular AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour. The NHRA Hot Rod Reunion Tour will make stops at manufacturers and street rod shops in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. The destination is Famoso Raceway, north of Bakersfield, where the Tour roadies join in the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the famous NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. The Tour will be parked opposite the top end of the Famoso grandstands. Stop by and hear the Road Tour stories from Tour Leader Jerry Dixey and his Road Tour roadies. It may inspire you to come along on next year’s Tour. Check out the Tour schedule at www.streetrodderweb.com.

5. Swap Meet – A PICKER’S DREAM

If you’re restoring an old race car, building a hot rod or a self-proclaimed “picker”, then the Reunion’s Swap Meet is the perfect spot for you. Hunt through rare speed equipment, motors, bodies and frames, and memorabilia of all kinds. You could find a gem and learn a history lesson along the way.

6. Hot Rod Deluxe Memory Lane

As part of the exciting new partnership, HOT ROD Deluxe magazine will host the Memory Lane display area along the Grove at Famoso Raceway. The tree-lined Memory Lane behind the grandstands is filled with dozens of historic race cars and nostalgic hot rods which pays homage to drag racers and hot rodders both past and present. HOT ROD Deluxe promises to bring plenty of eye candy for fans including some amazing vehicles, hot rod legends, giveaways and a few pin-up models. Now, that’s service!

7. Quarter-Mile Courtyard – VIP Style!
Experience the Reunion from the best seats at Famoso, near the starting line. The QMC features exclusive starting line grandstand seating, private food and beverage vendors, private restrooms, hospitality tent and shaded seating, VIP parking, and giveaways. Purchase prior or upgrade at the track.

8. Chrisman’s reign at Famoso -Justice Brother’s Car Care Products Spotlight Award
One of the most iconic names in hot rodding history is Chrisman. They have participated in all areas of the sport from Bonneville and drag racing, to hot rods and car shows. Art, Lloyd, Jack and their sons Mike and Steve will be honored with a display of outstanding cars that will include the first dragster to reach 140 MPH (Art’s #25 car), the first to 180 and winner of the first March Meet (Hustler 1), Jack’s Model A fuel sedan and Howards’ Twin Bear dragster, along with some surprises will make this a tribute you won’t want to miss.

9. Stars & Cars
The Reunion brings together a unique group of the motorsports legends, heroes and old-school fans who relive the early days of drag racing. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet some of these legends. This year’s racing celebs include Tom “Mongoose” McEwen, Gas Ronda, “Jungle” Pam Hardy, TV Tommy Ivo, the Chrisman clan and countless others. Keep your eyes and ears open. You may get a chance to shake hands and snap a photo with one of your heroes!

The best time to catch them all under one roof is at Friday night’s (Oct. 21) Honoree Reception at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bakersfield, CA. Best of all it’s absolutely free to attend. Join us in paying tribute to this year’s Grand Marshal Steve Gibbs whose vision created the wildly-popular Reunion, and Honorees Harry Hibler, Wayne King, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury, and George Santos.

10. Double Dose of Cacklefest

The first Cacklefest in 2000 (at the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, Calif.) featured only nine dragsters, but as the event’s popularity rose with subsequent Reunions so did the Cacklefest show. To the uninitiated, “Cacklefest” sounds as if it might be the nickname for a chicken coop. To the initiated, Cacklefest is the sweetest sound in the world. Cacklefest starts with participants push-starting their early-style front-engine dragsters as they did in the 1950s and ’60s, then gathering them all together down the center of the drag strip with the engines running, or cackling. Reunion fans will be getting not one but two Cacklefest shows, one on Saturday (Oct. 22) evening and a static-start up on Sunday (Oct. 23). Some of this year’s notable cacklers are the 1957 Cook & Bedwell dragster, Tom McEwen’s Tirend Activity Booster AA/Fuel Dragster, Big John Mazmanian’s “Football” AA/Gas Supercharged Austin, the Adams and McEwen Shark Car, and Shirley Muldowney’s Rear Engine Top Fuel Dragster. It’ll be a symphony of sight and sound.

 

 
 

 

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