We spent last weekend in Bakersfield for the NHRA’s 22nd Annual California Hot Rod Reunion. We always look forward to the Reunion because we get to hang out with old friends, see some great hot rods and racecars, and relive our favorite era in drag racing at the historic Auto Club Famoso Raceway. We wanted to share some images from the weekend, and also to congratulate the folks at the NHRA for putting on another first class event.

On Saturday we were able to find the perfect parking spot for the TRJ roadster right in front of our booth. Ryan Reed joined us with his ’37 Ford coupe, which looks as good as it did when we featured it in TRJ #52.

On Saturday we were able to find the perfect parking spot for the TRJ roadster right in front of our booth. Ryan Reed joined us with his ’37 Ford coupe, which looks as good as it did when we featured it in TRJ #52.

 

There’s always an impressive field of hot rods both on and off the track at the Reunion, and this year was no exception. Everything from traditionally styled rods and customs to recently unearthed or restored Top Fuelers, Gassers, Altereds, and Funny Cars were on display. We had the TRJ roadster parked in front of our booth with Ryan Reed’s ’37 Ford coupe, which was featured in issue #52. It was great talking with those of you who came to see us and check out the cars and TRJ merchandise throughout the weekend, and we appreciate you stopping by.

The “Rat Trap” Fuel Altered has been burning the tires for decades and continued doing so at Famoso. Photo by Greg Stokes.

The “Rat Trap” Fuel Altered has been burning the tires for decades and continued doing so at Famoso. Photo by Greg Stokes.

 

It is amazing how the “Cacklefest” has grown over the past decade or so. There were over 70 nitro burning Dragsters and Fuel Altereds that fired up on the track at dusk on Saturday. It is an event that all hot rodders should see and hear at least once in their lives. Photo by Greg Stokes.

It is amazing how the “Cacklefest” has grown over the past decade or so. There were over 70 nitro burning Dragsters and Fuel Altereds that fired up on the track at dusk on Saturday. It is an event that all hot rodders should see and hear at least once in their lives. Photo by Greg Stokes.

 

The action on the track is non-stop during the final rounds of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series, from historic drag cars making exhibition passes to nostalgia Gassers, Top Fuelers, and more. This year Adam Sorokin, son of legendary “Surfers” Top Fuel racer Mike Sorokin, took the championship with a 5.912-second pass at over 216 mph in the Champion Speed Shop dragster. One of the highlights of the weekend is always Saturday evening’s Cacklefest. This year featured over 70 vintage dragsters and racecars, including Ed Pink’s “Old Master,” Tommy Ivo’s “Barnstormer,” and the Burkholder Brothers’ AA/Fuel Altered, to name a few.

It was a treat to attend the induction ceremony for the 2013 Hot Rod Reunion Honorees on Friday evening. Shown in the back row (left to right) are Mitch Kelly, Butch Leal, Roy Brizio and Jim DeFrank. Seated are (left to right) Tom Kelly, John Rasmussen, Tommy Allen and Larry Dixon Sr. The Kelly’s were recognized for generations of innovative paintwork in an award presented by Tommy Ivo, while the rest join a very distinguished group of honorees with unquestionable hot rod and drag racing credentials.

It was a treat to attend the induction ceremony for the 2013 Hot Rod Reunion Honorees on Friday evening. Shown in the back row (left to right) are Mitch Kelly, Butch Leal, Roy Brizio and Jim DeFrank. Seated are (left to right) Tom Kelly, John Rasmussen, Tommy Allen and Larry Dixon Sr. The Kelly’s were recognized for generations of innovative paintwork in an award presented by Tommy Ivo, while the rest join a very distinguished group of honorees with unquestionable hot rod and drag racing credentials.

While we were there we attended the 2013 Hot Rod Reunion Honorees ceremony, which recognized the contributions made by a group of hot rodding and drag racing luminaries. This year’s honorees were Tommy Allen, Roy Brizio, Jim DeFrank, Larry Dixon Sr, John Rasmussen, and Butch Leal, who was also the Grand Marshall of the event. Many of those names evoke images of the honoree’s performances and accomplishments on the track, but it’s interesting how many of them were first known for the hot street cars they built, drove, and raced early on in their careers.

 

Pete Eastwood piloted the restored Ed Pink “Old Master” Top Fuel Dragster in the Cacklefest. Photo by Greg Stokes.

Pete Eastwood piloted the restored Ed Pink “Old Master” Top Fuel Dragster in the Cacklefest. Photo by Greg Stokes.

 

The “Groundshaker Jr.” T-roadster bodied Fuel Altered looked as good as it sounded in the Cacklefest. The blown-Hemi shot impressive flames from the zoomies. Photo by Greg Stokes.

The “Groundshaker Jr.” T-roadster bodied Fuel Altered looked as good as it sounded in the Cacklefest. The blown-Hemi shot impressive flames from the zoomies. Photo by Greg Stokes.

 

In addition to the 2013 Honorees, the NHRA also recognized Kelly & Son Crazy Painters for their work painting, striping, and lettering everything from custom cars to dragsters for over six decades. Tom Kelly’s grandfather partnered with Ed Roth in the original Crazy Painters shop, which Tom joined at the age of 15. He’s been striping ever since, and now he is joined by his son Mitch who is carrying on the family tradition.

 

Dennis and Debbie Kyle lent their Deuce highboy to friends Greg and Rebecca Stokes who were visiting from New Zealand. The Kyle’s drove the TRJ Roadster up from Southern California.

Dennis and Debbie Kyle lent their Deuce highboy to friends Greg and Rebecca Stokes who were visiting from New Zealand. The Kyle’s drove the TRJ Roadster up from Southern California.

 

For our money you can’t beat a weekend at the drags with friends. We want to congratulate all those recognized by the NHRA, and to once again thank those of you who stopped by to see us in Bakersfield. And if you weren’t there this year, mark your calendar for 2014 because we’re sure it will be another fantastic event.