Bakersfield Hot Rod Reunion summary

"Chicago-style" One-Day Nostalgia Funny Car Racing Highlights the final day of the 15th Annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion California Hot Rod Reunion: Oct. 6-8, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, Calif. BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct....

"Chicago-style" One-Day Nostalgia Funny Car Racing Highlights the final day of the 15th Annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion

California Hot Rod Reunion: Oct. 6-8, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, Calif.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2006) -- A new attraction has been added for the 15th anniversary of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. Nostalgia Funny Cars will compete in a "Chicago-style" qualifying and elimination session on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.

Funny Cars were named during the 1960s as they transitioned from factory stockers to all out race cars and with altered wheelbases they looked...well, funny. Nostalgia Funny Cars have pre-1973 bodies that compete against similar machines and by rule, make less horsepower than today's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competitors. But, they are every bit as exciting to watch.

"Chicago-style" competition is different from traditional drag racing, in which competitors attempt to qualify for the final day's eliminations by setting the best times during one or more qualifying sessions. In Chicago-style competition, all entered cars race side by side in a qualifying round to open Sunday's program at 11 a.m. The eight quickest cars (win or lose) will return for the first round of eliminations at about 1:30 p.m. From the four first-round elimination winners, the two quickest will return for the final event at about 4 p.m.

"Chicago-style racing is a throwback to the match race days of the '60s and '70s." said Greg Sharp, curator of the non-profit Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, which produces and benefits from the Reunion. "It's a way to run a complete program in a short length of time and each competitor has to give it their best shot every time down the strip, or face elimination."

Among the notable Funny Cars expected to compete on Sunday are "Back in Black," the 2004 California Independent Funny Car Association (CIFCA) Champion, from Torrance, Calif.; "Estrus," an original fiberglass Vega-bodied car from the '70s entered from Santa Fe Springs, Calif.; "Hard Times," a 1971 Dodge Challenger from Riverside, Calif.; "Pedaler," a 1979 Plymouth Arrow from Orange, Calif.; and "Pisano & Matsubara," a 1971 Vega from Los Angeles.

The 15th annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 6-8 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 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.

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 competition on the racetrack, a car show, a chance for fans to meet the legends and stars of the sport and the highly popular "Cacklefest," which involves historic front-engine dragsters being push-started, then all gathered together on the drag strip with engines running or 'cackling."

Tickets for the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, are available at the gate of Auto Club Famoso Raceway for 15 dollars on Friday, 20 dollars on Saturday or Sunday. Kids under 16 are admitted free with a paid adult. AAA members receive a two-dollar discount on Saturday and Sunday tickets when they show their card.

For 12th consecutive year, the Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, is the presenting sponsor of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. The Automobile Club of Southern California has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by the organization's emergency road service, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs, automotive testing and analysis and legislative advocacy. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's web site at www.aaa-calif.com.

Proceeds of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, will benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. Named for the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the 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.

-credit: mh

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