Tag Archives: Bowling Green Kentucky

2014 National Hot Rod Reunion

The professional drag racing world was paying close attention to Bristol Dragway and the Thunder Valley Nationals in Eastern Tennessee this past weekend. There, the defending Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon won for the first time this year, the Funny Car victor Tommy Johnson Jr. won for the first time in 11 years and in Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens was the first women to ever win at Bristol while continuing her historic romp in 2014. However, 300 miles to the west in Western Kentucky, drag racing the way it used to be – sort of  – was playing out at the National Hot Rod Reunion, which was performing for the 12th time in its successful history.

Other than a brief shower or two, which made for typical late spring muggy conditions at times, the weather was great at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green. Bonneville legend George Poteet was the grand Marshal. Poteet owns the land speed record for the fastest piston-driven car – go to the bottom of the page for a little video of his record breaking runs.

The main storyline among the ground-thumping Top Fuelers heading into the race was longtime NHRA Sportsman driver Dave Hirata out of Indiana driving the Orange Crate Top Fueler from Iowa – Hirata is fairly new to Nostalgia Top Fuel. Of course, big names like Tony Bartone out of New York and Jim Murphy from California truly made this big race, a national event through-and-through.

Tony Bartone - Bowling Green 2014

Tony Bartone won Top Fuel at the National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green

In the end, Bartone was the winner over Jim Young, while Hirata and Murphy were knocked out in the semis. This was Bartone’s second Nostalgia win of the year after taking the famed March Meet victory to start the season. That puts Bartone securely on top of the Top Fuel standings, with Young, Murphy and Hirata over 100 points back, in second through fourth respectively.

The other class winners were Ken Hawkins in Jr. Fuel, Michael Sexton in 7.0 Pro, Ross Laird in 7.5 Pro, Don Nave in Competition Eliminator, Buddy Wray in Gas Eliminator, Kerry Williams in Modified Eliminator, Mike Moss in Super Stock, Chad Mahlosky in Stock, Terry Lindsey in Hot Rod and John Gray in the Geezer Gasser category.  Saturday night ended with the always impressive music-to-the-ears-splitting Cacklefest.

Next up for the Top Fuelers is the Nightfire National in Boise, Idaho, August 7-10.

Additional sources: NHRA, AA/Fuel Dragsters

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Daryle W. Hier

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National Hot Rod Reunion – Fathers Day Weekend

Rat Trap powers down Beech Bend Raceway

Fueled Altered Rat Trap powers down Beech Bend Raceway
Courtesy of NHRA Motorsports Museum

This Father’s Day weekend comes the largest Nostalgia drag racing events east of the Rockies: The National Hot Rod Reunion (NHRR).  The race takes place starting tomorrow – although teams and vendors are there today – the event going from June 13-15 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky (source: NHRA).

This is the 11th annual NHRR and was originally created to give those in the eastern half  of the country an ability to see some of what those that had visited the California Hot Rod Reunion (CHRR) were able to enjoy.  The CHRR is the largest Nostalgia drag meet in the world and the popularity was such that the NHRR was established.  In-turn, the NHRR has become such a success that there’s is now a third reunion that will take place at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, as the New England Hot Rod Reunion.

The NHRR will have of course Top Fuel along with many of the other popular classes that Nostalgia meets have.  There will be a Cacklefest, which is memorable all by itself bringing back and actually firing up the original cars of yesteryear.  There’s a Show N Shine with all kinds of classic cars on hand, plus a swap meet and vendors for everything under the sun – in other words, something for everyone in the family to enjoy.  And don’t forget that Beech Bend is also an amusement park.

Companies such as Holley, AAA Insurance and Axalta Coatings are major sponsors of the event.  Preston Davis is the Grand Marshal  and gained his fame during the ’60s and ’70s as both a successful Top Fuel and Funny Car racer driving the famed Tennessee Bo Weevil throughout the southeast.

Reunions, unlike other drag meets, are a combination of drag race and get-together with some of the legends of the sport always on hand.  If you’ve never been to one of these magnificent spectacles, head on out to the rolling hills of western Kentucky and enjoy the time of a lifetime.  And no, I don’t get paid anything for saying that … it’s just the truth.  By the way, if you can’t make it out, the race is being broadcast through live streaming at BangShift.com.

Otherwise – Be There!

Daryle W. Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

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