October 23 - 25, 2016

 

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Tony Bartone and team took home all there was to take from Famoso. Bartone not only won the race but sealed the deal for another Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Championship.

 

In Funny Car, it was a popular win for Jason Rupert who absolutely dominated the class from day one. It was a convincing win for Rupert who spent the season on tour running the IHRA schedule.

 

Kris Krabill cinched the Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Funny Car Championship in the stout Austin & O'Brien entry. Krabill was also runner-up to Rupert at this race.

 

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Bakersfield, CA - 10/26/16: The 25th edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion is in the books and what should have, and could have been one of the greatest events ever, wasn't. Since starting our coverage of this great event online 17 years ago I've never given it anything but glowing reviews. Until now.

There were rumbles and rumors about a take over as the CHRR approached and none of them were good. When we rolled into the pits on Wednesday the feel was different, much different. Sally's smiling face was absent. Racer parking was in total chaos. It was no wonder considering NHRA took the event away from the museum and made it their game. First off, in their infinite wisdom, they "dismissed" the best pit tender/parker in the business, Gino Gastelum, and replaced him with people who had no clue and I mean NO clue. Tempers were already starting to flare - and it was only Wednesday. We who have supported this event for 25 years foresaw a big problem when Steve Gibbs bowed out and it was worse than anyone could imagine.

On Friday things really came off the rails. The parking issue was still a mess, but it was the cacklecar guys and their loyal legion of fans who really got screwed, but that is a story too long and ugly to share here.

As the cacklecar rules changed hourly, and after more schedule confusion, the first session of Funny Car went off midday. It seemed early on that the so-called schedule was turning into a whatever the powers to be wanted to do at the moment. When asked for clarifications, many of the staff, from the race director on down were rude and dismissive. Nothing like the folks from years past. Oh yea, how nostalgic is it to have people running the deal with Mellow Yellow shirts on?

Cacklecars aside, nitro qualifying did get finished and went on to feature some great racing. It will be very interesting to see where this once sacred event will go from here. Many, and I mean many, spectators, cacklecar owners and racers said they will never come back. If the so-called leadership and "new format" remains the same, I'm sure they won't. Leave it to Glendora to take something that was really working great and ruin it in 4 days.

PS. Kudos to Don Irvin who did his usual great job running the safety crew and Heather Roberts who got thrown into the difficult and thankless job of coordinating the staging lanes. And to Larry Fisher and Greg Sharp who did the best they could in an impossible situation.

Other winners were: A/FUEL Drew Austin, JUNIOR FUEL Alan Hull, 7.0 PRO Allen Taylor, NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR 1 Hans Jakob, A/GAS Keith Morovich, NOSTALGIA PRO MOD Bret Williamson, AA/SUPERCHARGED Mike Molea, A/FX Bob Moreland, GEEZER GASSER Greg Porter.

For the full event story visit: 2016 CHRR at: NHRA Museum News

*There are A LOT of photos in this coverage because: (1) Several photographers contributed and I want them all represented. (2) The driver's and teams really deserve the recognition they don't get anywhere else.

 

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Funny Car Qualifying Session One

The first session for the floppers went off on Friday midday.

 

The first pair to test the track was Rich Townsend in the "Nitroholic" '69 Camaro and Richard Hartman from Anderson SC, in his '69 Camaro "Runnin Wild".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hartman's 5.840 at 238.30 and Townsend's 5.870 at 249.76 serviced notice that there was a track with teeth.

 

 

 

 

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Pair two featured James Day in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" Challenger and Chris Davis down from Spokane WA, in his '77 Arrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Davis had problems on the burnout and the engine went dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating pistons, the clocks came up with a 5.77 at 236.39.

 

 

 

 

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Next out was the newly crowned 2016 Funny Car champ, Kris Krabill in the Austin & O'Brien Trans Am and Matt Bynum in the Mathews Motorsports Mustang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krabill carded a 5.776 at 225.18 while Bynum stopped the clocks with a 5.983 at 238.60.

 

 

 

 

 

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Out next was Danny Gerber in his "wasn't easy" Trans Am and Alex Miladinovich in the "Hot 4 Teacher" '69 Mustang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerber got there first with a 6.01 at 234.21 while Miladinovich could only muster a 6.16 at 186.36.

 

 

 

 

 

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Up next was the newly married Mendy Fry Coonce in the "Dark Side" '78 Challenger and Big Show driver John Hale in his "One Bad Texan" Mustang.

 

 

 

 

 

Hale carried the front end past the tree and then clicked it.

 

 

 

Fry clicked it early to a 6.240 at 197.10 while Hale coasted through.

 

 

 

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Next pair was the 2015 FC champ, Steve Densham in the "Teacher's Pet" '69 Camaro and Geoff Monise in the "Quarter Pounder" '77 Monza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monise got a 6.03 at 233.96 time slip while Densham coasted through.

 

 

 

 

 

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Next pair pitted Marc White out from Chicago IL. in Frank & Debra Ousley's "Crop Duster" '77 Monza and fresh off the IHRA tour, Mark Sanders in the "Mr. Explosive" '70 Mustang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanders had problems and shut off early, not so for White who went to the pole with a sterling 5.694 at 234.78 which was slowed by piston eating.

 

 

 

 

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Clint Thompson in Paul Shakelton's stunning '74 Camaro "Shark Attack" and Tim Boychuck in his "Happy Hour" '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boychuck grabbed a 5.91 at 242.76 slip while Thompson shut off early to a 6.19 at 218.43.

 

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Up next was Tim Nemeth down from Chilliwack BC in his "Iceman" '77 Firebird and Don Hudson in the Sizemore Construction TrasAm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nemeth got in the top 16 at the time with a 5.838 at 239.06 while Hudson was right there was 5.88 at 239.06.

 

 

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Next out was Rick Rogers in the "Fighting Irish" '74 Camaro and Cory Lee in the California Hustler '78 Trans AM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogers squared the tires before tree and was done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee ran a nice 5.740 at 253.61 while Rogers took the early turn out.

 

 

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Next up was Dan Horan Jr. in his '69 Camaro paired with Ryan Hodgson from Edmonton AB, in the Pacemaker '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hodgson ran a baseline 5.95 at 246.71 while Horan had problems and shit off to a 7.93.

 

 

 

 

 

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In what seemed to be an endless stream of floppers, Bill Windham in his "Shakedown" '69 Camaro and Paul Romine in his Man-O'-War '69 Mustang rolled into the waterbox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windham went into tire smoke before the tree.

 

 

 

Romine stopped the clocks with a 5.81 at 238.85 but for whatever reason, the run was disallowed and marked a DQ.

 

 

 

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Out next was Marcus Lawson in his '78 Trans AM and Barrie "Bazz" Young in the "Thunder Down Under" '69 Camaro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young carded a sub-par 6.11 at 238 while Lawson shut off early to a 6.45 at 218.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Canadian in the bunch was Nathan Sitko in his '77 Arrow in the left lane and Mike Halstead in the "Code Red" '78 Camaro.

 

 

 

Halstead was added to the list of FC's smoking the tires in the right lane.

 

 

 

 

Both cars had problems, no chutes necessary.

 

 

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Next to last pair featured Jason Rupert in the Littlefield & Rupert "Rolling Thunder" '69 Camaro tribute car and Jim Maroney in the 1970 Candies & Hughes Cuda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rupert was off like a rocket while Maroney encountered handling problems early on and shut off.

 

 

 

 

 

Rupert went low for the session with a great 5.67 at 255.10. This was just the beginning of his weekend domination of the plastic fantastics.

 

 

 

 

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The final pair was John Weaver and in his '78 Omni and Shawn Van Horn in the Choo Choo Mama '77 Trans AM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weaver went into tire shake before the tree resulting in a premature chute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Funny Car Qualifying, Session 1

Top Fuel Qualifying, Session 1

Funny Car Qualifying, Session 2

Top Fuel Qualifying, Session 2

Funny Car Qualifying, Session 3

Top Fuel Session 3 & Funny Car Round 1

Top Fuel Round 1 & Funny Car Round 2

Top Fuel & Funny Car Semis

All Finals & Winners Circle

Fuel Altereds & Other Cars

CHRR as seen by a fan

 

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