Nostalgia Drags “Top 5” at NHRA Museum’s CHRR

Famoso raceway California Hot Rod ReunionStart getting excited NOW! Mark your calendars for October 16-18 in Bakersfield California for the best of Nostalgia drag racing at the California Hot Rod Reunion. It’s a “Reunion” because is more than just a huge gathering of vintage styled racers and the real-deal, too valuable and historic to actually race diggers… it’s a social gathering of friends and competitors from all over, but certainly the hot rod-packed southern California scene where the 1320-craze started.  The Reunion includes 3 days of nostalgia drag racing, a car show of hot rods, a growing swap meet and manufacturers midway and a gathering of drag racing legends from years gone by.

If you can make it to only 1 drag race, make this one. (pssss… bring your camera!)

Press release from the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

Top 5 Things to See at the 18th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California

Auto Club Famoso Hosts Vintage Drag Race Event, Oct. 16-18

BAKERSFIELD, CA (Sept. 1, 2009) – The cackling noise a vintage dragster makes when fired up. Rubbing elbows with legendary racers. These are a few of our favorite things to see and do at the 18th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.

Make sure to add these things to your bucket list, to do list or whatever list when at the Reunion scheduled for the weekend of Oct 16-18 at Auto Club Raceway Famoso–more commonly known as Bakersfield. High on anybody’s list, the Reunion is a great weekend of vintage drag racing, the finals of the NHRA Heritage Series and a cool time for all the family.

1941 Stone Woods Cook at Famoso Raceway1. Justice Bros. Car Care Products Spotlight Award: This year the Spotlight highlights the team of Stone, Woods & Cook, voted the Favorite Race Car ever in an poll. On display will be both the first and last cars: Swindler II and Swindler A, from this iconic race team.

2. The Grove: Is always the place to check out cool stuff from the hundreds of rods and customs that gather there to the special static displays. This year museum friend John Stein will bring a display of vintage drag bikes including Pat Miller’s triple-engined Yamaha–one of only a hand full (pun intended) of triple-engined drag bikes. It had three, three cylinder Yamaha TR2 350 road racing motors. And ya gotta hear it!

3. Honoree Reception: The Reunion is all about the people and it’s as much our pleasure to honor the honorees as it is theirs to be honored. On Friday night, we throw one heck of a free party for all comers to take time to recognize those in the sport who have made a difference. Join us at the DoubleTree Hotel at 7:00 pm and say hello to Grand Marshall Jess “Mr. Pontiac” Tyree and honorees: Danny Broussard, Don Moody, Steve Reyes, “Jet Car” Bob Smith and Walt Stevens.

4. Cacklefest: Coined by our curator Greg Sharp, the word cacklefest, describing the cackling noise a Top Fuel motor makes on nitro, has now entered the vocabulary and nowhere is the word more expressed that an the Hot Rod Reunions. Saturday, as the sun goes down is the time to see dozens of vintage, front-motored race cars push started and fired up just like they used to be in the day. It’s a sight and sound guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes as nitro fills the sky.

This is what the Cacklefest looks like:

Nitromethane Cacklefest at the California Hot Rod Reunion!

The immaculately restored and polished "Poison Ivy" front engine dragster shooting yellow flames into the night. Imagine dozens of these push-started to life!

5. Renegade Vintage Dragster Display: You may have seen the Renegade/Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum vintage dragster display at several NHRA National events and at Beech Bend.  The vehicles change for each venue so be sure to visit the trailer which also contains vintage drag racing images from the museum’s archives. For more information about Renegade trailers go to:

Just a few more pics to get you excited! (Click any picture to see it full size)

The Snakes Funny Car and HaulerAltered Hot rod buring the tiresFront Engine Dragster roasting the tires

More information you’ll need:
The 18th annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 16-18 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm.  It’s also the season finale of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage nostalgia drag racing series.

Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, 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.

Those purchasing their credentials at least three weeks before the event receive significant added value including a “goodie” bag, Reunion program, commemorative dash plaque and a colorful and collectible plastic souvenir credential.  Three-day credentials ($55 each) are available by calling 800/884-NHRA (6472) or online at  Auto Club members receive a $5 discount off Adult credential prices (limit of 4 credentials).

Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso Raceway gate, ( Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15.  Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available at the gate.

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, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic Super Stock, 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.  “Memory Lane” will have a display of nostalgic race cars. The Justice Bros. Spotlight Award will fall on the team of the Stone, Woods & Cook.
  • California Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bakersfield, Fri., Oct. 16, from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Open to everyone at no charge, it’s a tribute to Reunion Honorees including Grand Marshal Jess Tyree. The reception offers a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing’s heroes.
  • Cacklefest on Saturday evening, 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 or by calling the Reunion Info Number at 909.622.8562.   Requests can be emailed to moc.arhnnull@muesumeht.

Proceeds of the California Hot Rod Reunion benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by Auto Club of Southern California. 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 50 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., PST. Current NHRA members are admitted free and Auto Club members enjoy a $2 discount. Admission for non-members is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older, $5 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum is also available for special group tours. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit