Monthly Archives: October 2010

Reunion from above

Some people are not impressed with hyperbole such as I mentioned last week, which maybe had the biggest Nostalgia drag racing meet; a week ago at Famoso.  So this is just a quicky (hey, careful), in regards to the California Hot Rod Reunion.

2010 California Hot Rod Reunion

The picture here, was taken from one of those many helicopter rides that went on all weekend.  In fact, I’m looking for more and if you have one, let me know.  I’d be happy to show it and give credit where needed or wanted.  As you can see, it only shows the main pit area and not the rest of the pits or swap meet or, or …

Fans Filling Famoso

These indeed are incredible events and we are lucky to have them.

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

Want to learn more about the CHRR and related info? Click here.


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Bigger than ever?

Is drag racing, and in particular, Nostalgia drag racing growing in popularity?  Now to say anything is growing in popularity in sports is saying something but lets take this past weekend for instance.  There were two – not one, but two Nostalgia drag meets on the same weekend.  Some might say that wasn’t good planning but this is the point.

In Bowling Green, Kentucky at Beech Bend Raceway Park, there was standing room only for the 3rd annual Goodguys Nostalgia Nationals presented by Snap-On.  This is the same drag strip that 6 months ago was completely under water due to the terrible floods in the Mid-South earlier this past Spring.  Then, they were able to clean up the facility in time for the Hot Rod Heritage Series race – a remarkable feat.  The race was a big success, the weather was fine and MILLIONS of dollars were generated for the area.

Now with all that, you couldn’t have another event on the same weekend, could you?  Ha!  Not only another event but one of the larger sporting events in the country.  People from all around the globe could be found at Auto Club Famoso Raceway (which I talked about last week) for the 19th annual California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield Ca.  Standing room only?  Not hardly.  There was no standing room.  Probably like no other meet in remembrance, the pit area was full … all the time – with fans.  Cars could be found parked nearly a mile away in the orange groves around the area.  A site to behold for sure.  Boy, how they need more seating!

California Hot Rod Reunion

So with all these enthusiastic fans (THE MOST BRAND LOYAL IN ALL MARKETING), adding to the hoopla that is Nostalgia drag racing, a question may arise, especially considering the decline in sports attendance:  Is Nostalgia drag racing still growing, even during a recession?

It would visibly seem the sport of drag racing is doing better than most sports, but Nostalgia drag racing, which for many years had been the fastest growing sport, is still getting bigger.  One of the most Americana of sports, Nostalgia drag racing still has what most every American wants, plenty to do and see with smells, sites, sounds and feelings that are pure excitement.

Persons of every age are enjoying these events and next year can’t get here soon enough.  You know, we need indoor drag racing for the Winter months.  Hey, did you know …

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Information On Nostalgia Drag Racing

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The Patch

Lambeau FieldBack to the future.  There are certain locations that have a truly warm feeling.  When you visit memorials such as in Washington DC, you get the chills; it’s a special feeling.  When you go to venerable sports stadiums like the Coliseum in Los Angeles or Lambeau Field in Green Bay, there’s a certain aura that emanates from the time you first see it until you step inside – again it’s a warm and special feeling.

There are race tracks that can do that too.  One in particular has tens of thousands of people heading to it now and for the next few days in California – Famoso Raceway.  The California Hot Rod Reunion is one of the biggest races in the country and the history that goes with it is unmatched.  Great drivers from old will be there, along with current and up-and-com’ers.  The Patch, as some like to call it, is where different era’s come together.  The future is now and it’s looking good.


Don Garlits Swamp Rat – 1958

The race facility isn’t anything to write home about.  The race track is not bad but isn’t memorable.  The accommodations are adequate at best.  Parking is uh, well um, lacking.  You’re surrounded by farms and ranches which is fine but you’re so close, you can enjoy the smells abounding from them along with the flies – oh yea, the flies.  So why would something as so-so as this place be special?  Ask anyone who’s been there, these are hollowed grounds.  This is where Don Garlits first came west to compete.  One of the grandest and most famous races is run here; The March Meet.  Every great drag racers, whoever ran in the 50’s through the 70’s ran here.  It is one of the oldest race tracks in the country.  So when you sit in the stands or roll up in the staging lanes, you know you’re somewhere historical – after the Star-Spangle Banner is sung and the engines fire up, the hair stands on end and you get that warm special feeling.

You should expect to get there early as parking is a bit of a pain.  There’s so much to see, what with all the old drivers, old cars and old pictures along with the new race teams, new paraphernalia (memorabilia) and the Quarter-Mile Courtyard.

Luckily, we have Nostalgia Drag Racing to keep us connected – kind of like back to the future.  Also, it will be on the hot side until Sunday when it cools down to mild weather.  So be prepared to enjoy a little history at the Patch and remember to bring your hat and sunglasses – or to paraphrase: The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing



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More info on indoor racing

We had been asked additional questions (one in particular) about indoor drag racing, so here’s an update of more information about the why’s and wherefore’s of indoor drag racing back in 1962 (I actually can remember back that far as I went to the Seattle Fair – I was a tike).

Winter indoor drag racing in Chicago was located in the International Amphitheatre adjacent the stockyards at 42nd and Halstead in Chicago.  It was built in 1934 mainly to handle large crowds for operas and political gatherings.  It cost $1.5 million and was built for Frederick Henry Prince, owner of Union Stockyard Transit Co.  At different times over the years it housed political conventions, anti- war demonstrations, headline singing groups, wrestling, pro basketball, car shows, an 1/8 mile midget auto race track and in 1962 the drag strip was developed.  The strip was 440 ft. long (1/3 of a standard quarter mile strip).  The lanes were 60 ft wide on each side and 600 feet of shut down area.

During the 1980s, newer convention centers began to be built including McCormick Place and attendance at events began to wane.  The building was huge, the noise was deafening and although it was originally built with air conditioning, it was 1934 vintage and was inadequate to handle the tire smoke and exhaust fumes from drag racing.  The indoor strip only existed off and on during the 1962-1963 winter seasons.  In 1983 it was sold to a real estate investor for $250,000.  Unable to generate enough income to maintain the site it was then sold to the City of Chicago.  In a deal between the City and Aramark Uniform Services Co, in August 1999 the structure was demolished and a new building built for Aramark.

The reason we have not seen another indoor drag strip since then, is that environmental laws and regulations are so much stricter today and the expense would probably be unbearable.  As unique and exciting as it was at the time, it is doubtful we will ever see another indoor drag strip.  And as we pointed out earlier, the sound was deafening – and that’s back before we really learned how to make cars fast; and much louder.

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

Need ear protection? Look no further.

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