October 1-3, Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA-The 13th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion returned to Famoso Raceway in a most fashionable way, as fans were treated to three beautiful days of racing, while racers and event honorees basked in their achievements. This year’s Reunion featured Grand Marshal Paula Murphy, and Honorees receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards, The ‘Frantic Four’ Team of Norman Weekly, Ron Rivero, Dennis Holding and Jim Fox, hot rod cartoonist Tom Medley, Joe Mondello, Amos Saterlee, and good friend “Wild Bill” Alexander.
The trackside action was plentiful, as many firsts were achieved during the course of the weekend. Most notable was the first ‘5’ turned in by a woman behind the wheel of a front engine fuel dragster, that of course being Mendy Fry. On her one and only pass of the weekend, Fry prompted many jaws to hit the ground with a stellar 5.87 e.t. at 251.32 mph! Fellow Top Fuel competitors Scott Mason and Sean Bellemeur also scored their first ‘nickel’ with a 5.989 and 5.999, respectively. By comparison, the top half of the Top Fuel show featured seven entries in the fives (six of which were in the 5.80 zone!), while only four accomplished that in 2003. And for those of you who enjoy more interesting notes, the 2000 – 2002 fields featured only one, Rance McDaniel (2000) and Gerry Steiner (2001-2002). Scoring the biggest and most overdue win of the weekend was the ‘Razmataz’ Top Fuel team led by Rick McGee. McGee proved that he didn’t have to have the quickest or fastest ride to man-handle the stout field of competitors, just the most consistent. Also worth noting is the 219.08 speed turned in by Bill Wayne in A/Fuel Blown; Sean Renteria’s third consecutive CHRR A/Gas title; and J.D. Zink’s 6.972 e.t. in Jr. Fuel. Herm Peterson enjoyed his first trip to the CHRR, as he spent time behind the wheel of the Chris Karamesines Cacklefest digger, and Bakersfield’s own Buck Owens made his first trip to the ‘Patch’ on Sunday. The list of ‘firsts’ could go on and on and on….”Everyone smiles at this event. This is the only drag race where everyone is happy and no one bitches.” -Former NHRA VP, Steve Gibbs
So, if you’ve yet to make your first California Hot Rod Reunion, mark your calendars for September 30-October 2, 2005 for the 14th edition , and don’t forget the 3rd Annual National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky, June 17-19, 2005. Better start making those plans for one or both soon!
The following photo highlights are just a portion of what goes on during this event. Enjoy! Dawn & Mark