The drag racing season kicks off every year at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series, 57th Annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, held at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA. On February 9 thru 12, 2017 the premier NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series began its 24 event season with the Winternationals. Competitors come from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada to make this an international event. Racers came from the 7 NHRA divisions in the United States to participate.
The weekend weather included a brief rain Saturday morning, other than that, the temperatures were in the mid 70’s. The track was ready for some good times. The wheel standing Stock Eliminator’s & Super Stock’s were, as usual, very entertaining. Top Fuel Harley’s were an interesting addition.
In year 2016, Pro Stock champion Jason Line made it 2 in a row by outrunning his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson. In Funny Cars, Matt Hagan’s 3.875et & 330.07mph Dodge Charger R/T edged out Courtney Force and her Chevy Camaro. In Top Fuel, #1 qualifier Leah Pritchett and the Papa John’s Pizza dragster left Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools dragster struggling at the start.
In the pits, a classic car show, celebrity autographs, Nitto Alley, and food vendors were packed with families enjoying the show.
There are 23 more races to go in the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series!
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.
This was the 26th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion at the Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, CA. The highly anticipated event began with light morning rain that soon made way for an afternoon filled with quarter-mile nitro racing and just a taste of what was to come for the next two days.
Thousands of spectators filled Auto Club Famoso Raceway to enjoy comfortable weather, racing royalty, cool cars, and amazing nostalgia drag racing. This race not only produced winners for this event but also wrapped up the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage series season. Despite the runner-up finish, Murphy was crowned the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel world champion by winning in the semifinals.
Over 200 racers, including 10+ Top Fuel Dragsters and over 30 Top Fuel Funny Cars participated in the event. There was a lot to do aside from racing: vendors, a big swap meet, silent auction, lots of good food, and lots of cool street rods in the “Famoso Grove”. With so much going on, you can’t see it all in only 3 days!
The Honorees came from all aspects of the sport, including Bakersfield native, Grand Marshal Rick Stewart, with Honorees, Pete Eastwood, Bill Holland, Bob Lambeck, Bob Panella, Sr., and Jimmy Scott were presented, before the famous Cacklefest, with a parade down the track with introductions by former voice of the NHRA and a legend in his own right, Bob Frye.
Over 200 racers, including 10+ Top Fuel Dragsters and over 30 Top Fuel Funny Cars participated in the event
Saturday evening featured the famous “Cacklefest@” featuring over 20 classic Top Fuel dragsters that produced a sight and sound like no other as they returned to a format familiar to the fans and participants. Popular exhibition push starts throughout each day added excitement. This “Living Museum” was an explosion of hot rods, nostalgia cars, racing, friends, and drag racing legends.
This Reunion brought out some big names in the sport including Gary Densham, Bob Frey, Greg Sharp, Mike English, Mike Lewis, John Force, Cory Lee, Robert Hight. It was a special treat for fans but for the NHRA pros, the Reunion was their time to enjoy some nostalgia drag racing and meet some of their heroes like Tom McEwen, Don Prudhomme, Rick Stewart, Ed Iskendarian, Roland Leong, and Tommy Ivo.
Thanks for the Show!!
This “Living Museum” was an explosion of hot rods, nostalgia cars, racing, friends, and drag racing legends
…the Reunion was their time to enjoy some nostalgia drag racing and meet some of their heroes
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2018 print issue of the Drive Magazine.