Nostalgia drag racing is bigger than it’s ever been, and nowhere is this more prevalent than at the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. What started as a small gathering to reunite hot rodders and racers eager to reminisce about the good ol’ days has, twenty years on, turned into one of the largest gatherings of vintage front-engine dragsters, racers, hot rodders, and fans; a literal mecca for nostalgia drag racing fans.

Vintage floppers, altereds, diggers, and rails, blown and injected, were packed throughout the grounds, filling the air with open-headered cackle and Nitro. Some have been resurrected, saved from decades-long rafter slumber, while others have been built from scratch with just memory and photographs to go from.

But of course, those drag cars don’t push themselves from the pits through the staging lanes to the starting line. Nope, they got trucks for that. And just like they did in the ’50s and ’60s, today’s nostalgia drag cars are supported by equally nostalgic trucks of the era, done up in full race car guise complete with the car’s name, crew members, and sponsors emblazoned upon them. Part utilitarian, part street rod, many of the trucks look like they were culled from show car status to support vehicle by way of a few graphics and a push bar installed. They serve a purpose and complete the nostalgic vibe carried over from the car and driver. Standing in the staging lanes at dusk, watching a crew attend to a 392 Hemi-powered front engine dragster while a ’63 Chevy pickup waits patiently behind, ready to inch the car up to the starting line; it’s like 1965 all over again. That is, had I been around back then. And that’s what the CHRR is all about. Old guys get together to reminisce about the good old days, while the young guys gather to experience the closest thing to actually being there. It’s like one massive show and tell, but ours has smoke, fire, and Nitro!

Check out www.famosoraceway.com or www.museum.nhra.com for information on next year’s event. See ya there! CCT

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