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The March Meet’s Golden Anniversary - 03/08

The March Meet’s Golden Anniversary - 03/08


The March Meet’s Golden Anniversary
Auto Club Famoso Raceway
March 8, ‘08

Story by and photographs by Roger Rohrdanz


Not only is the notorious March Meet celebrating its 50th anniversary, it’s also the FIRST event in the NHRA’s new 7-race nostalgia drag race series called the Hot Rod Heritage Series. This high octane combination generated a field of 25 Top Fuel Dragsters, 30 Top Fuel Funny Cars and over 35,000 spectators from around the world. The Kern County, CA economy is expected to see $6.5 million from this single event. All available race slots were filled with 500 drivers, 4 weeks before the event! The Grand Marshals this year are Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. 

Spectators and racers enjoyed perfect weather. The inaugural Hot Rod Heritage Series running on the track, hundreds of Hot Rods packed “The Grove”, vendors showing their wares, and a cool swap meet provided plenty of excitement. A WWll fighter plane made a very low pass over the track and Saturday night after the races, Famoso put on an awesome fireworks show. Tragically, the March Meet was saddened by the death of Sacramento veteran Top Fuel driver John Shoemaker. The 65-year old racer crashed during Saturday’s competition and was airlifted to the Kern Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He is survived by his wife and son. “Our hearts go out to John’s family”, said Blake Bowser of the Kern County Racing Association. “It’s a terrible loss”.

Sunday began with more of that beautiful weather. The racing was a little behind schedule, but the Bowser’s and their great crew got the show back on track. The Top Fuel class saw “The Sheriff” Jack Harris pilot his dragster to a 5.568 et at 263.62 mph for new world record. In the Top Fuel Final Jack Harris beat Brad Thompson to take home to Kaysville, Utah his third March Meet title. Bucky Austin took the Funny Car “A” class by beating Steve Romanazzi. The Funny Car “B” class winner was Kris Krabill after he beat Michael Grekul from Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

Shoemaker and the 50th March Meet will live on in the memories of all who attended.

Thanks for the Show!