An Overdose of Nostalgia Filled the Air – The 17th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion

June 10th, 2010

This mighty Mopar yanks ‘em high and reaches for the sky, demonstrating just how much bite was available on the Famoso starting line.

Fortunately, the price of gas was coming down, but so was the economy, however, that didn’t keep diehard gearheads from finding their way over Southern California’s “Grapevine” going north toward Kern County, where all roads lead to legendary Auto Club Famoso Raceway and the 17th California Hot Rod Reunion.

The newly paved pit area was filled with race cars of all shapes and sizes. Those popular Factory Experimentals were well represented, as were the wild A/Gas and AA/Gas Supercharged cars.  We’ll try to cherry-pick our massive file of photos and select a broad variety, in order to really show you the flavor of this awesome, non-stop weekend. Aside from the muscle-car-era doorslammers, 20 Nostalgia Funny Cars were listed as having officially run in Sunday’s One-Shot qualifying to determine the Quick Eight. This format was reminiscent of the old Chicago-style Shootouts of the ‘70s. The majority of the Famoso crowd would have preferred to see the flip-tops run at least one round each day, but the format was predetermined and set for Sunday only.

Phil Featherston’s genuine A/FX Fairlane Thunderbolt qualified sixth and used his Bob Panella horsepower to crush all comers during eliminations.

Racers aside, a massive gathering of meticulously restored Slingshot Top Fuel Dragsters congregated at Famoso. They were literally everywhere. Fans were even surprised by Bruce Larson’s beautifully restored “TV” Tommy Ivo rear-engine dragster, made famous for going through the lights at Pomona upside down (and on fire) many years ago. Bruce tinkered with it all weekend long and really seemed to enjoy the time he spent with his fans. Of course, Ivo, the ultimate showman, was also in attendance with his trademark smile and his contagious enthusiasm. Some other drag racing heroes spotted in the massive crowds included John “Tarzan” Austin, Al Bergler, “Spider” Razon, “Waterbed” Fred Miller, Jerry “The King” Ruth, Dave Uyehara, Butch Leal, and (as the commercials used to say) many, many more.

Leah LeDuc did a great job during her first competitive ride in the Plueger & Gyger Mustang, qualifying ahead of 12 other cars. Leah nailed down the fourth spot in the Quick Eight Chicago-Style Shootout and finished third overall, running 6.06, 5.90 and 5.83. That was a great outing for her sponsors at Dickies Girl.

Following its 17-year tradition, the prestigious list of 2008 Honorees included: Grand Marshal Junior Thompson, Steve Davis, John Edmunds, Georgia Seipel, Walt Rhoades, and Butch Maas, while the Justice Brothers’ Reunion Spotlight honoree was Gas Ronda. Officially labeled a “Nostalgia” event, the California Hot Rod Reunion is best described as a must-see happening. It’s like Woodstock on Nitro and leaves you wanting more and more.

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One Response to “An Overdose of Nostalgia Filled the Air – The 17th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion”

  1. jphillips (http://www NULL.motortopia says:

    I love the old school drag stuff,,,,nice work !

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