The NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion is not only the real deal, it's a great deal! Now in its 14th year, the Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, is an authentic, one-of-a-kind American car lover's dream. More than car show, it's living history with nostalgic drag racing, famous cars and hot rod heroes. The Reunion, running from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, has something for everybody, which makes it a great inexpensive family outing.
The Reunion's colorful and unique combination of sights, sounds and activities is an extension of the "living history" philosophy of the event's organizers, the staff of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, located in Pomona, Calif.
"The great thing about the California Hot Rod Reunion is that it's like visiting a museum come to life. Legendary drag cars from the past are push started just like in the old days and fabled race drivers are available to talk to and sign autographs. People aren't just spectators at the Reunion, they're participants. All this is important in fulfilling our mission," said Sam Jackson, the Museum's executive director.
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 original concept was devised by Steve Gibbs, former NHRA vice president and current Museum board member. According to Gibbs, he, along with Bernie Partridge and some other NHRA folks, "started talking about the need for a major drag racing reunion event, using all the communications tools available to us, and to try to get a bunch of old friends together and have some fun. We had no idea what to expect, and approached the project as a one-time deal. Our original budget was based on a thousand people attending*.which was off by a mile. We apparently did a good job of getting the word out, and the people responded. The inaugural CHRR was a tremendous success, and it was immediately clear that we had an annual event on our hands. It's hard to believe that we are about to gather for the 14th time!"
The Reunion includes competition on the racetrack, a car show, a chance for fans to meet the legends and stars of the sport, a barbeque and the highly popular "Cacklefest," which involves early-days-style front-engine dragsters being push-started, then all gathered together on the drag strip starting line with engines running or 'cackling."
"The creation of Cacklefest is obviously one of the highlights," said Gibbs. "It's hard to believe that nearly 100 such cars are now in existence, or are in progress."
The Reunion represents a unique confluence of hot rodding and drag racing, bringing to life the story of high-performance motorsports and preserving and extending the history.
"During my 36-year career with NHRA," said Gibbs, "I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in many of the sport's major developments, but I have to say that my role in the creation of The California Hot Rod Reunion is probably the thing I am most proud of."
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 only $10 for those under 16. Full event 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. 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 Famoso Raceway, north of Bakersfield on Highway 99. For additional Reunion information, call 909/622-8562 or visit http://museum.nhra.com.
For the eleventh 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.