Hot Rod Reunion Bakersfield pre-event news

Two Top Fuel Finals, Plus Nostalgia Funny Cars Highlight Reunion Racing Auto Club Famoso Raceway Buzzing with Vintage Drag Racing Action California Hot Rod Reunion: Oct. 6-8, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, CalifBakersfield, . BAKERSFIELD, ...

Two Top Fuel Finals, Plus Nostalgia Funny Cars Highlight Reunion Racing
Auto Club Famoso Raceway Buzzing with Vintage Drag Racing Action

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

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2006) ^S You could call it a dual duel in Top Fuel. For the first time in NHRA Hot Rod Reunion history, two final- eliminations will be held for Top Fuel cars at the 15th Annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion, Oct. 6-8 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Along with the newly added Chicago-style nostalgia Funny Car races on Sun., Oct. 8, races fans will get their money's worth at the Reunion.

The first of these Top Fuel shootouts will be from the rained-out final elimination event at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in June. Sean Bellemeur and Adam Sorokin will square off on Sat., Oct. 7 during qualifying sessions, and unlike the event in Kentucky, they don't expect weather to be a factor.

"We ended up racing golf carts in the rain down the quarter mile to settle it," said Sorokin. "Sean won going down the track and I ended up winning coming back (after a little side swiping on my part)."

"We're going to Bakersfield for one reason," said Bellemeur, "to sweep the Hot Rod Reunions. We came so close in '04 with a win at Bowling Green and a runner-up in Bakersfield. We know we have the right formula to make it all happen. I'm not ready to let go of our strangle hold of the NHRR, but I know that our task isn't easy. It's a very intriguing match up considering the rivalry that Adam and I have developed. You really can't write the script any better. It's gonna be a huge race in front of the hometown crowd!"

Sorokin and Bellemeur are friends off the track, but rivals when it comes to the quarter-mile.

"I had a lot of fun with our match race in Pomona," Sorokin said. "Before the race, Sean and I were out one night with our girlfriends having dinner and Sean and I started talking smack to each other on who was gonna beat who at the race. We decided to match race each other (best 2 out of 3) during qualifying. The Snake vs. Mongoose rivalry was something we thought was pretty cool and decided maybe we should try it too."

"I got Sean on a hole shot in the first round and then lost in the second round when we lost a motor at around the 1,000-ft. mark. It was 1 round apiece when we went into the third and final round of qualifying to decide who was the winner. Sean got me in the third and ran a stellar 5.80 something run."

Saturday's "final" won't be the only racing event. Drivers in eight different classes, plus a group of about 40 cars on exhibition, will be trying their best to get down the track quickly on Friday and Saturday to qualify for Sunday's final eliminations. Both Bellemeur and Sorokin will attempt to run in two finals on a single weekend.

In addition to Top Fuel, there are cars entered in A Fuel, Junior Fuel A, Junior Fuel B, Nostalgia Eliminator, AA/Gas Supercharged, A/Gas and A/FX.

A special "Chicago-style" Funny Car program will run only on Sunday only. Among other important nostalgia racing competitors is Pandemonium V, a steel-bodied vintage Funny Car owned by Greg Sullivan and driven by Cory Lee

"It's been a while since we've been able to race the car, and I can't wait to get back behind the wheel for some serious fun," said Lee.

Powered by a 572ci TFX engine, the vintage 1965 Plymouth Barracuda has a best quarter-mile elapsed time of 8.60 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph with Lee at the helm.

Jess Tyree will bring his vintage B/FX Pontiac Tempest for a rare, classic- style match-race showdown with Lee.

"We've definitely got something up our sleeves again this year," Lee said. "Jess and I are always trying to outdo each other on the strip, with burnouts or elapsed times, and this event will be no different. Sure, Jess Tyree is a drag racing legend and all that jazz, but when we stage up together...it is on!"

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 by calling 800/884-6472. A full- event credential is $55 for adults and kids under 16 get in free with a paid adult. Credentials include a "goody bag" that features the highly collectible Reunion Annual and a dash plaque. AAA members receive a $5 discount on a full-event credential or $2 off on Saturday or Sunday daily tickets when they show their membership card. Daily ticket prices are: Friday, $15; Saturday, $20; and Sunday, $20. Camping passes are available with credential purchase at $50 and swap meet spaces are just $40 for a 20' x 20' space. Daily tickets may be purchased at the gate of Auto Club Famoso Raceway, north of Bakersfield on Highway 99. For additional Reunion information, call 909/622-8562 or visit museum.nhra.com.

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.

One of the best entertainment values in Southern California, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pacific Time, with extended hours during NHRA national events. Current NHRA members are admitted free. Admission for non-members is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors 60 and older, $4 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum is also available for private parties, meetings, corporate events, weddings and 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 museum.nhra.com.

-credit: museum.nhra.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory Lee