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20th California Hot Rod Reunion - 10/11

20th California Hot Rod Reunion - 10/11
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20th California Hot Rod Reunion
Auto Club Famoso Raceway
Bakersfield, CA.
October 21-23, 2011
Story and Photographs by: Roger Rohrdanz

Can you believe this was the 20th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion at the Auto Club Famoso Raceway? Where has the time gone? Spectators filled Auto Club Famoso Raceway to enjoy wonderful weather, racing royalty, cool cars, and amazing nostalgia drag racing. Over 300 racers including 20+ Top Fuel Dragsters, and over 40 Funny Cars participated. There was a lot to do aside from racing, with vendors, a big swap meet, lots of good food, and 100’s of cool street rods in the “Famoso Grove”. The “Cacklefest” was spectacular. Over 60 classic Top Fuel dragsters produced a sight and sound like no other. This “Living Museum” was an explosion of hot rods, nostalgia cars, racing, friends, and drag racing legends. "This has been our largest-attended Reunion ever. We are thrilled with the support of the sponsors, spectators and participants.” said Tony Thacker, Executive Director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. This Reunion brought out some big names in the sport to come play including NHRA President Tom Compton, Auto Club President Thomas K. McKernan, who proudly sponsors and participates in the Reunion every year, and NHRA drivers John Force, Robert Hight, Jack Beckman, Del Worsham and Ron Capps. It was a special treat for fans but for the NHRA pros, the Reunion was their time to enjoy some nostalgia drag racing and meet some of their heroes like Tom McEwen and Don Prudhomme.

  This year’s Grand Marshal was Steve Gibbs. Honorees included Harry Hibler, Wayne King, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury, and the late George Santos.
If you missed it this year, don’t miss the 21st.
Thanks for the Show!!

The 20th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion logo.
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum logo.
Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series logo.
Banner at the starting line.
Tony Bartone (near lane) comes into the Top Fuel Final having set both the ET and MPH record this weekend. Brett Harris (far lane) pulls off a holeshot win and takes the 2011 Heritage Top Fuel Dragster Championship by 6” at the finish line. Brett Harris’ ET was 5.725 vs Tony Bartone’s ET of 5.693.
Brett Harris in Nitro-Thunder takes the 2011 Heritage Top Fuel Dragster Championship home to Utah.
Brett Harris in Nitro-Thunder takes the 2011 Heritage Top Fuel Dragster Championship home to Utah.
Tony Bartone set a new ET record at 5.566 and a speed record of 269.29MPH this weekend.
The Nostalgia Funny Car Final results in John Hale (far lane) beating Kris Krabill. In the process Hale sets a new ET record of 5.589 and wins the 2011 Reunion Nostalgia Funny Car Event.
Hale sets a new ET record of 5.589 and wins the 2011 Reunion Nostalgia Funny Car Event.
Jason Rupert, from Yorba Linda, CA. won the 2011 Heritage Series Nostalgia Funny Car Championship.
The 7.0 Pro class Final results in Ronnie Lennon (near lane) beating, Wenatchnee, WA. based, Greg Howland as he broke out.
Ronnie Lennon from Sonoma, CA. is the 2011 7.0 Pro Reunion Champion.
Ronnie Lennon from Sonoma, CA. is the 2011 7.0 Pro Reunion Champion.
The Final in A Fuel was a Chevy vs Chrysler match-up. Kin Bates Chrysler (near lane) ran a 6.261ET at 222.25MPH to beat Jeremy Sullivan’s Chevy at 6.717ET and 195.65MPH.
Kin Bates, from Anderson, CA., takes the 2011 Heritage A Fuel Championship, again.
Dean Hall, from Guerneville, CA. (far lane) gets a hole shot win in A/Gas Final over a quicker Rob Patten, from Tracy, CA.
The AFX cars are always a good show. The Final pair were Joel Miner’s ’64 Plymouth Belvedere (near lane) from San Diego, CA. vs. Lynsi Martinez’s ’69 Dodge Dart from Glendora, CA. Joel won the race.
"This has been our largest-attended Reunion ever.” said Tony Thacker, Executive Director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. This is a quarter mile of spectators! That’s not showing the other side of the track!
After the big “Cacklefest” Saturday night, the small Sunday “Cacklefest” involved about 14 historic classic drag cars.
After the big “Cacklefest” Saturday night, the small Sunday “Cacklefest” involved about 14 historic classic drag cars.
After the big “Cacklefest” Saturday night, the small Sunday “Cacklefest” involved about 14 historic classic drag cars.
After the big “Cacklefest” Saturday night, the small Sunday “Cacklefest” involved about 14 historic classic drag cars.
Mike Boyd and “The Wing” make a fabulous, action packed, burnout. Then he raced the Bradford altered.
Mike Boyd and “The Wing” make a fabulous, action packed, burnout. Then he raced the Bradford altered.
Stormy Byrd always does a great burnout in “Revolution”. Check out his hand and the “V” sign. 
The AFX (factory experimental) cars are always a good show. These became known as “Funny Cars”.
The AFX (factory experimental) cars are always a good show. These became known as “Funny Cars”.
The AFX (factory experimental) cars are always a good show. These became known as “Funny Cars”.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
Historic, classic Top Fuel Dragsters are “push-started” down the return road in front of the cheering spectators.
The exhibition Gassers bring back memories of those ‘50’s – ‘60’s
The exhibition Gassers bring back memories of those ‘50’s – ‘60’s
The exhibition Gassers bring back memories of those ‘50’s – ‘60’s
The swap meet area at dawn before the herds of people arrive.
The swap meet area at dawn before the herds of people arrive.
The swap meet area at dawn before the herds of people arrive.
The vendor area was packed.
The vendor area was packed.
Chico from Mooneyes was on-hand.
The famous, quarter mile long, Famoso Grove.
The famous, quarter mile long, Famoso Grove.
The famous, quarter mile long, Famoso Grove.
The famous, quarter mile long, Famoso Grove.
The Justice Bros. spotlight focused on the Chrisman family legacy. Around the booth in the “Grove” the clan and their “Toys” were available for viewing and autographs.
The Justice Bros. spotlight focused on the Chrisman family legacy. Around the booth in the “Grove” the clan and their “Toys” were available for viewing and autographs.
This Reunion brought out some big names in the sport to come out to play including (l-r) Tony Thacher (NHRA Motorsports Museum Director), Tom Compton (NHRA President), Thomas K. McKernan (Auto Club President), Steve Gibbs (Grand Marshall), Greg Sharp (NHRA Museum Curator).
Tom-Tom? NHRA President Tom Compton talks with Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.
Photographer Mark Gewertz shares a laugh with NHRA Museum Curator Greg Sharp.
Steve Gibbs (l) with “Ageless” NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driver Chris Karamesines.
NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driver Chris Karamesines with NHRA Top Fuel Funny Car driver Jim Head.
The “Snake” and The “Mongoose”, beautifully restored car haulers were on display in the pits.
The “Snake” and The “Mongoose”, beautifully restored car haulers were on display in the pits.
Always popular “TV” Tommy Ivo posses by his restored Top Fuel Dragster.
NHRA Funny Car pilot “Fast Jack” Beckman slows down for a picture.
“Miss Hurst Shifter” Linda Vaughn signs autographs.
“Isky” was driving his roadster.
John Force was checking out the action.
Driving ace Jack Harris watches as his Son Brett wins the Top Fuel Dragster Championship.
NHRA Funny Car pilot Robert Hight (l) talks with NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driver Del Worsham.
NHRA Funny Car racer Ron Capps is ready for a pass in the Worsham Nostalgia Funny Car.
NHRA Funny Car pilot Robert Hight hangs out with “Mr.Woodpecker” George Stregal.
Dave & Dave. Editor Dave Wallace Jr (l) with the “Master of the Ceremonies” Dave McClelland.
MOTC, Dave McClelland talks with Reunion Grand Marshall Steve Gibbs.
Reunion Grand Marshall Steve Gibbs.
Reunion Grand Marshall Steve Gibbs is paraded in front the grandstands with his wife Gloria and his special “Wally”.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.
Pictures from around the event.