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The 9th Annual CHRR, held at Famoso Raceway, was an absolute "barn burner!" Every class, from Top Fuel down to C/FX, featured event records, great side-by-side racing, a record car count, and plenty of first time winners. The above mentioned, alone, should prompt you into making reservations for next year's event, but hold that thought for a second...there's more, actually, there was a "blur" of activity going on all weekend! What really captures the essence of what the CHRR is all about, or any other regional reunion for that matter, are the folks in attendance.

It's a gathering of drag racing legends who honor their peers, and it's for the fans and their treasured memories of years gone by. Yeah, you could be rubbing elbows with the likes of Pat Foster or Art Chrisman, or be doubled-over in laughter and slapping that knee listening to bench racing stories told by Al "Mousie" Marcellus. It's that relaxed of an atmosphere.

 In addition to these highlights, you'll find plenty of restored vehicles on display, a Saturday afternoon BBQ, the RCS Auction/Dinner, and new to the event this year, the "Cackle Fest". "Cackle Fest", orchestrated by Steve Gibbs and Bill Pitts, featured eight vintage and legendary front engine dragsters, that were push-started up the return road, and filed in on the track one by one, all cackling in front of a cheering and emotionally stirred crowd. Larry Dixon Sr., who was behind the wheel of the "Howard's Cams Rattler", was already reduced to tears as he climbed out of the digger. It was "that" moving of an experience. Plans are already in the making to have 16 fuelers in attendance for "Cackle Fest 2001"...that alone, would be worth the price of admission to the 10th Annual CHHR! Now, if we could just get the organizers of the event to add a "Saturday-evening-under-the-lights" qualifying session, life would be really great! So go ahead and make those plans to attend, you won't be disappointed! I'll now take you on a photo recap of the event presented by Mark Hovsepian and myself. Enjoy!-Dawn

Dawn Mazi Photo

Rance McDaniel drove the "Champion Speed Shop" entry into the number one spot of the Top Fuel "A" field, with a fantastic 5.98/233.34 during Saturday's first qualifying session. McDaniel was defeated in the opening round however, as he experienced tire smoke at the hit of the throttle. The winning opponent, Glenn Hutchison/"Foothill Flyer", was unable to make the second round call, along with several others who were eligible, thus granting McDaniel a spot back into eliminations. McDaniel and the CSS gang took full advantage of the opportunity as they went on to the final round, where they lost a close one to Jack "the Sheriff" Harris. Whew! Did I get all of that straight?
Following Saturday's final qualifying session, a special session of exhibition runs was granted to those who campaign a variety of nostalgia vehicles. Here, Randy Bradford lays a healthy burnout down in his gorgeous Fiat altered.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Jr. Fuel competitor, Bill Wayne, hikes the front end up en route to a 7.33, good for the number one qualifying spot. Wayne appeared to be on his way to winning the event, but was stopped short in the semi-final round by, Mike Chrisman. Chrisman used a 7.386 to defeat Wayne's much quicker 7.336... a .434 light to a .520 light, will get ya every time!
Stan Blosk drove his Ford A/FX entry like he "stole it". Blosk set low e.t. and top speed of the event with a great 9.202/149.77, en route to his victory over Jess Tyree in the final.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Mark Hovsepian Photo

The normally tough "Orange Crate" entry, driven by Roger "Radar" Lechtenberg, surprisingly did not qualify for either of the Top Fuel fields. Lechtenberg's best effort of the weekend, was a very off pace 6.84/196.80. Look for this team to turn things around during the upcoming Goodguys "Fuel & Gas Finals" event at "The Strip" in Las Vegas.
Jack Bielinski, out of Kent, WA, brought the gorgeous Burkholder Bros. Fiat altered out for some shakedown runs, during the exhibition sessions held at the Reunion.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Steve Woods has literally dominated the Pro Supercharged category this season, so his end results at the CHRR were really no surprise. Woods qualified number one with a great 6.86/199.64, and went on to win the event using a low e.t. of the event 6.82/201.02 to defeat Brian Souza's 7.11/195.05 in the final.
"I had already shot a couple of frames of this pass, but I'm still panning along as Mike hammers the throttle and lifts the front end. Natch, I had to shoot it even though I had too much lens on him. He carried the front end and touched it down around 400 feet out, the car then made a move around 800 foot, but Mike never lifted. Check out that relaxed driving style...Willie woulda been proud."-Mark Hovsepian

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Top Fuel Rookie, Jason Howell, is just a "win waiting to happen". Howell qualified second in the Top Fuel "B" field, with a 6.35/222.38. Unfortunately for Howell, he would meet eventual finalist, Mark Malde, in the opening round. Malde used a 6.375/224.60 to dispose of Howell's off pace 6.91.
Mark Malde drove the "Birky Bunch" entry all the way to the final round of the Top Fuel "B" field. Malde defeated Jason Howell and Ty Norton along the way using consistent 6.30s, but was defeated by Gerry Steiner in the final, as a result of his entry experiencing tire smoke during the run. Steiner used a 6.38/212.06 to take out Malde's shut off 8.94.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Bob Muravez, aka "Floyd Lippencott Jr.", has returned to the driver's seat after a three decade long retirement. Muravez, along with the help of "Pit Crew Pete" Starrett and "Jet Car Bob" Smith, completed licensing runs in the "Western Hoist" Top Fuel entry, formerly driven by, Dave Uyehara. Keep an eye out for this team in 2001.
Ron Hope, driver of the gorgeous "Rat Trap", provided fans with the sights and sounds of the golden era of Fuel Altered racing during the exhibition sessions.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Mark Mahood enjoyed another great outing at the CHRR , as he qualified number three with a 7.837 in the A/GAS program. Mahood lasted until the final round, where he lost a close battle to Jim Pace. Mahood's 7.64/180.50 was not enough to hold off the consistent 7.60 running Pace.
A flurry of timing cones fall behind Bill Dunlap, during his first round win over Rick McGee. Dunlap used a 6.10/227.96 to vaporize McGee's cone clipping 6.41/174.26.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Mel Bryson posted career best e.t.s of 7.00 & 7.01 in the Pro Supercharged class. Bryson qualified third in the tough program, but was defeated in the semi final round by eventual winner, Steve Woods.

Just clearing the lights in victorious form is Utah's Jack "The Sheriff" Harris. The ailing "Circuit  Breaker" entry, driven by veteran Howard Haight, nipped a few pistons, allowing Harris to collect the 1st round victory in the Top Fuel "A" group. Harris would go on to win the event, taking out Jim Murphy and Rance McDaniel. Harris set Top Speed of the event with a 237.27 effort in the final round.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dale Boomgarden qualified the Mallicoat Bros. entry fourth in the Pro Supercharged category, but lost in the opening round to Rick Souza, as a result of a redlight.
"Ground Zero" driver, "Wild Bill" Alexander, qualified third in the Top Fuel "B" field with a 6.37. As irony would play out, Alexander met former "Ground Zero" driver, Denver Schutz, in the opening round. Schutz strapped a holeshot on Alexander, .470 to a .534, and coupled that with a 6.39 to take out Alexander's much quicker 6.36.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Brendan Murry, ever the consummate nostaligia competitor, awaits the signal to fire his Top Fuel entry. Murry missed making the tough Top Fuel program, as his 6.63 effort left him sitting in the 21st spot. Murry was quite visible during eliminations though, as he also competed with his "Running Wild" entry in the Nostalgia Eliminator class, where he wound up taking home runner-up honors.
Ty Norton, who competes on a very limited budget and schedule, enjoyed considerable success at the CHRR. Norton was granted a shot in the Top Fuel "B" field by virtue of his alternate status, and lasted until the second round where he was defeated by eventual runner-up, Mark Malde.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

Jim Pace collected the A/GAS title in fine fashion, as he used consistent 7.60s during eliminations to defeat the likes of Chris Beanes, Bob Clayton and Mark Mahood respectively.
Bob Clayton qualified his gorgeous Willys in the number four spot of A/GAS with a 7.84. Clayton lasted until the second round, where he was defeated by eventual winner, Jim Pace.

Dawn Mazi Photo

Dawn Mazi Photo

The "Ground Zero" team came back after their first round loss to work out their combination and make another pass. They did just that, as they tuned Alexander to a "round too late" 6.10/233 blast! Go figure!
Glenn Hutchison, driving the "Foothill Flyer", has just upset Rance McDaniel and the "Champion Speed Shop" gang in the opening round. Not only did Hutchison strap a major holeshot on McDaniel, .453 to .522, but he also out-pedaled/drove McDaniel for the win, as Hutchison had his entry up on either side more than once during this run. Unfortunately for the "Foothill Flyer" gang, they were unable to return for the second round.

Mark Hovsepian Photo

Mark Hovsepian Photo

The crowd favorite WWII team, driven by Jim Murphy, qualified fourth in the Top Fuel "A" field, with a 6.25. Murphy escaped losing in the opening round, as he went up in smoke at the hit of the throttle, but his opponent, Lee Jennings, redlighted away his fine 6.35!

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