Down in the Grove at Bakersfield

A week has past since we drove into the drizzle with a 207 thousand plus miles econobox to get to Bakerfield for a drag race that also happened to be a swap meet and car show. The roots of the California Hot Rod Reunion run deeper into history than a modern drag racing event. Behind the bleachers at Famoso Raceway is… » 10/19/07 4:00pm 10/19/07 4:00pm

Super Nova Melt Down at CHRR

The bad news is the Randy Walls Super Nova exploded in a horrific fireball at half track during Chicago style first round action at the California Hot Rod Reunion. The good news is Randy walked away with only minor burns and smoke inhalation. The MaxChevy crew were down at the top end and captured the full destructive… » 10/15/07 7:00pm 10/15/07 7:00pm

Monday! Monday! Monday! CHRR Funny Cars!

The mayhem that was the Chicago-style Nostalgia Funny Car battle at the California Hot Rod Reunion wrapped yesterday with Bucky Austin driving his 1977 Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste Plymouth Arrow-bodied Funny Car to the king of the hill spot. The struggle to the finish was as heavy in the pits as it was on the track, as… » 10/15/07 3:45pm 10/15/07 3:45pm

Nitromethane Illuminates a Cacklefest Dusk

The good stuff kept burning long after the last pair of race cars lit up the clocks at the California Hot Rod Reunion. With dusk came the return of Cacklefest to the hallowed track surface of Famoso Raceway. Over 50 restored fuel machines of the slingshot and funny car variety first ran parade in front of the capacity… » 10/14/07 5:30pm 10/14/07 5:30pm

Round one of CHRR Chicago Style Funny Car action is a wrap. Randy Walls is OK after his Super Nova went fireball at half track. Terry Capp holds the number one spot with a 6.031 ET at 239.93 mile per hour assault. Full rundown of all the flopper action at Drag Race Central. [CHRR FC Action] » 10/14/07 4:30pm 10/14/07 4:30pm

Fire and Rain and The Ridge Route Blues

In a vain attempt to join Jalopnik stringer Bumbeck at Famoso Raceway yesterday morning for Day 2 of the California Hot Rod Reunion, yours truly loaded up the Chrysler with camera gear, sundry recording devices, the Fall box set, and a hot thermos of 80 weight Cafe Bustello. Ahhh.... the Cali Hot Rod Reunion, where… » 10/14/07 3:30pm 10/14/07 3:30pm

Smirnoff Vodka and the Spirit(s) of the Sixties

I barely remember the days when Smirnoff vodka sponsored a AA/Fuel Dragster, and how gorgeous the car was in its original incarnation. But I do recall the car and that it was at one time shoed by the legendary dragster driver, Larry Dixon. What I really remember most is the stuff of family legend. Back in the day, my… » 10/14/07 2:00pm 10/14/07 2:00pm

Saturday Racing Action from Bakersfield

Skies are clear here at Famoso Raceway and the staging lanes are packed. Yesterday brought qualifying along with voluminous amounts of nitromethane, alcohol, and even a bit of race gas burned up for what was the largest single day crowd the CHRR has seen to date. Sunday will bring elimination rounds and the Funny Cars… » 10/14/07 1:30pm 10/14/07 1:30pm

Mopowered Shopping Cart

Taking the big box philosophy one step too far are these drag race fans. It's always a good idea to bring a shopping cart to the California Hot Rod Reunion. Just make sure the cart is large enough to seat many, and make absolutely sure to stuff a Mopar V8 and TorqueFlite into it. Wing optional. » 10/14/07 12:30pm 10/14/07 12:30pm

Swap Meet Stroll: We'll Give You Eight Bucks

Half the fun in referencing the past is collecting the bits and pieces of an era that still survive. We would like to spend our vast earnings on a corroded set of Mickey Thompson wheels, a Hilborn injector stack, or even a set of Cragar five-spokes with Wide Oval bias ply tires cracked into patina with age. What we… » 10/13/07 3:00pm 10/13/07 3:00pm

Famoso Raceway remains socked in with drizzle. Top Fuel qualifying is set to begin again at high noon, weather permitting. The swap meet and car show on the grove is in full effect. Race fans seem oblivious to the few raindrops, and celery stalks have been seen in the cups of many. » 10/13/07 1:15pm 10/13/07 1:15pm

Live From the Tower at Famoso Raceway

The bad news is we won't have time to shoot photos, go to the swap meet to read a March 1967 issue of Car Craft, eat hot dogs, and post round-by-round racing results all at the same time. The good news is Daryl Jackman will be running the action as he sees it from the Famoso Raceway tower through his keyboard, and… » 10/13/07 1:00pm 10/13/07 1:00pm

The Bakersfield Smell

The Bakersfield Sound is well heard. Anyone who has motored through the Bakersfield also knows of the Bakersfield smell. While we don't hold a job at the company that makes mirror hanging stinky pines, we do have a theory. The first component is the fumes of agribusiness. The next odd brew of scent arises from oil… » 10/13/07 11:00am 10/13/07 11:00am

Friday Night Car Show Bakersfield Style

Qualifying action may have been rained out on Friday afternoon, but the Reunion went ahead at full gas-powered margarita mixer speed down where Buck Owens Boulevard State 99, and 58 east converge. Also on deck was a preview of tonight's on track Cacklefest. Famoso will host restored versions of the very cars that… » 10/13/07 10:00am 10/13/07 10:00am

It may never rain in Southern California, but it is certainly raining in Bakersfield at this moment. After some bitchin Top Fuel qualifying, the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion is on hold for the time being. The only thing on the track are the sweepers and dryers. Forecast calls for a clearing tomorrow and Top Fuel… » 10/12/07 6:30pm 10/12/07 6:30pm

Get Thee to Bakersfield: NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion

DATELINE — Bakersfield, Calif. Just as Perry Mason used to dispatch his private-eye Paul Drake, we're sending Bumbeck and drag-racing legman Cole Coonce to Bakersfield. We're urging the two to bypass the annual artichoke festival and competitive sluicing event. Instead, they're headed to the NHRA California Hot Rod… » 10/12/07 3:30pm 10/12/07 3:30pm

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Nitro Floppers to Hit Famoso

As some of our earliest memories are of fiery roots superchargers tumbling free of their engines down the grassy median between the grandstands and the race track at the New England Dragway, '60s and '70s era Funny Cars still occupy a hallowed portion of the old grey matter. The California Hot Rod Reunion has a 22 car… » 10/11/07 6:00pm 10/11/07 6:00pm

The Horrors of Nitro: Winged Express

Proving that use of alternative fuels is nothing new is the reborn Marcellus-Borsch Winged Express fuel altered. The original Winged Express was made famous by one Wild Willie Borsch, who often drove this beast with one hand on the wheel and other either hanging onto or off the side of the bucket. Mounting a hemi on… » 10/11/07 4:00pm 10/11/07 4:00pm

Ed "The Ace" McCulloch Grand Marshall of California Hot Rod Reunion

The Crew Chief of the Brut Racing but no longer by Faberge Funny Car driven by Ron Capps is coming back to Bakersfield this weekend as Grand Marshall of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. The Ace's qualifications for the job include hammering the Northwind Top Fuel dragster to the number one spot on the Drag News » 10/10/07 1:00pm 10/10/07 1:00pm