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World’s most celebrated nostalgia drag racing event looms large

This year’s 18th California Hot Rod Reunion, a living, breathing, nostalgic drag racing dream, will take place at Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, California over the weekend of October 16-18.


The reunion, which is presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, is the premier gathering of vintage drag racers. It’s also the Finals of the NHRA Heritage Series so you can be sure of an action-packed weekend. Reunion organisers are planning a memorable event, filled with legendary racers and cars including Don Prudhomme’s recently restored old Dodge D700 ramp truck and his ’70 ’Cuda Hot Wheels Funny Car.


Drag Strip Legend Don Prudhomme's recently restored old Dodge D700 ramp truck and his '70 'Cuda Hot Wheels Funny Car to make debut at CHRR.


Also taking the trip up the grapevine is the old Shelby Prudhomme SOHC Top Fueler from 1968 and, promising to be there is Lynn Park with his original 1964 Cobra DragonSnake “El Cid.” Heck, even Ol’ Shel’ might even make an appearance. Other cars coming out of the woodwork include, a tribute to the 1965-’66 Hawaiian, Tommy “Watchdog” Allen’s unique Woody Gilmore Top Fueler with IFS, one of the early Arfon’s Green Monsters with Allison V-12 power being restored at Chrisman’s and Kenny Bernstein’s 1980 Budweiser King Funny Car.


Meanwhile, because they were such a hit at the Holley NHRA Nationals Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, the Justice Brothers Car Care Products Spotlight will once again shine on the team of Stone, Woods & Cook. Both Swinder II and Swindler A will be at Famoso. Pure Heaven also joins the boys back from Bowling Green. Also in addition to the quarter-mile thrills, we’ve added a bonus feature of Funny Cars versus Fuel Altered.


Lynn Park with his original 1964 Cobra DragonSnake “El Cid.”


Another living legend celebrating a milestone at the Reunion is race director Steve Gibbs, celebrating 40 years with NHRA. Gibbs assures us that the all conquering Cacklefest will have no less than 70 participants—maybe even as many as 80. You can be sure it’ll be a show worthy of joyful tears.


Another milestone is the Famoso track itself. This year the Auto Club Famoso Raceway is blowing out 51 candles of drag racing excitement and memories. At the Reunion, track operators John and Blake Bowser will be sure to have their cake and eat it too! The father and son team are die-hard drag race fans before their roles as President and Vice President of Famoso.


For a piece of the California Dream, the 18th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, buy tickets today at, or call 800.884-NHRA (6472). (AAA members receive a discount).


Story & Photos: Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

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