Combustion Chamber-2002 California Hot Rod Reunion

“I fell in!”   “The highlight for me was the unveiling of the recreated Blown Pontiac Fueler, “Shudderbug”.”  ” What an incredible show! Made all three days and I’m still a nitro-stinking, grinning fool.”  “Without question, my “highlight” of the event was seeing Rance McDaniel receiving his NR AA/FD 5 Second  Club jacket.” “My first year here, I forgot to eat the first day…and I don’t miss too many meals!”  “If you didn’t have a good time, you don’t like drag racing!”  “It should be against the law to have so much FUN in three days.”  “I told Bobby before the race we we’re going to win this one for Rance.”  “I have been to the mountain. I have seen the elephant and heard the wolf howl. I have trod the sacred asphalt of the Patch where the Nitro Gods live.”

Yes folks, those are just some of the testimonials on the events that happened during the 11th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion.  Very true, yet they don’t even begin to scratch the surface on what transpired October 4-6.  If you were there, you know exactly of what these people speak.  If you weren’t there or have never been to the “Patch”, you must think we’ve all gone mad!  Not exactly, but we are mad about vintage drag racing and this event showcases the best of the best from years’ past and the present.  For example…

Top Fuel was absolutely the toughest, most competitive field anyone had witnessed anytime, anywhere.  Period.  It took a 6.09 to make the cut in the “A” field, and a 6.19 to make the “B”.  By comparison, last year’s bump spot for the “A” field was a 6.20 held by Bill Dunlap, and the “B” field bump was a 6.409 held by Rick McGee.  Interestingly, Gerry Steiner grabbed the “A” field pole for the second year in row with a 5.99.  Incredible!  Rance McDaniel, with the help of many friends, made a surprise trip to the track Saturday to accept his Nitronic Research 5 Second Club jacket.  The SRO crowd was flat out emotionally charged and let their hero know just how much they appreciated him being there.  “Cacklefest”?  Nearly 50 cars, one by one, THUNDERED for 21 minutes and 46 seconds.  Anyone who is still hearing “Freight Train” sounds in their heads, knows this all too well.  The “Ring of Fire”?  We all “Fell in”.  That was a terrific finale to Saturday’s events.  Which leads us to Sunday, and I could just go on, and on, and on…

As I’ve mentioned in the past, if you have not been to a CHRR, you must make plans to attend next year.  (There will also be a National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, Kentucky…June/2003)  I don’t want to hear any complaints down the road that YOU were sorry to have missed them.  The following photos and captions are just a portion of the “stories within stories” and what went on just one week ago.  Enjoy!  Dawn

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