Photos and Text by Bob Brown

 

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Randy Winkle hosted his 4th DRAGFEST event at Famoso Drag Strip near Bakersfield in conjunction with Rod & Kulture Magazine on the weekend of April 13-14. First held in 2009 and 2010, the event was on hiatus until 2018 when it came back to the delight of many, and this year did not disappoint either. Billed as "A party where a drag race breaks out" sort of fits the event, although the racing appeared to be well organized with classes using a unique approach to index racing that I'll explain in a minute. There were also plenty of test & tune runs including some nitro cars. All in all, it was a "Run whatcha brung" deal in a relaxed atmosphere. Lets begin...

 

 

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Friday afternoon was load-in day along with tech inspection for incoming cars. First car I encountered was Joe Higginbotham's "Fowl Play" in the tech inspection area. Unfortunately, Joe's car suffered a driveline problem early in the weekend.

 

Saturday Qualifying and Test & Tune

 

Saturday morning a wide variety of cars hit the track. Racing was on an index, but with a twist. This was an over-and-under deal... no breaking out and whoever was closest to the number whether above or below would be the winner. But wait, that failed to take reaction times into account, so a method was derived to include both ET and RT as a "package" in determining the actual winner of each pair. The usual win lights were irrelevant- it was the announcement over the PA after some quick math in the tower that told who won each pair. Seemed to work well from what I could see.

 

Here are some qualifying pics along with testing by various fuel cars. Ron Anzalone makes a run starting at the water box.

 

 

 

Class indexes were 7.60, 8.60, 9.60, 10.60, 11.60, A/FX and the catch-all Open Wheel-Hot Rod 9.60-16.00 class which included bikes along with many door cars. Randy Winkle brought out his Famoso Speed Shop Opel in the OW-HR class.

 

Dragster Jeff Crider launches on an 8.60 index run

 

Eric Christianson in the potent Valley Head Service '57 Chevy shuts off during the burnout and gets backed up while Larry Ofria looks on in concern.

 

 

 

A couple of red A/FX Mustangs at the launch- Cliff Lozis goes up while Dave Budgett keeps all four on the ground.

 

 

Charlie See launches in the 7.60 class

 

Michael Beebe hikes 'em up in his Beebe & Mulligan injected SBC digger

 

 

Doty & Flournoy made some test runs with their alky altered.

 

There was plenty of testing that went on through the weekend. Jim Murphy was one of many who made several hits over both days.

 

Tommy Schiffilea was back at Famoso in his beautiful red 'Vette FC

 

Tedford & McGee were testing with Rick's nephew, Tyler Hester in the seat.

 

 

This orange Pro Mod made a number of passes.

 

Rian Konno was out to do some testing in the Kazanjian-Lemon & Konno nitro funny car.

 

On another pass later in the day, Rian struck the tires before the tree.

 

 

Ernie the Attorney faces off in his A/FX Ford against Ken Moreland in his Chevy

 

A fine pair of gassers launch hard...

 

Brendan Murry made some test passes in his Nostalgia Top Fuel car.

 

Bikes competed in the Open Wheel- Hot Rod 9.60-16.0 class. Here's a cool example of a rider on his mount- didn't get the driver's name.

 

Back in the pits, Alex Miladinovich cleans the sump pan of his Hot-4-Teacher Big Show car, while one of his crew works the bottom end to get ready for some licensing runs. Alex was formerly a regular in the Nostalgia FC ranks, and has now moved up a notch. Graphics were freshly applied to the car early in the weekend.

 

 

Alex's first Licensing pass was a short hit. Please excuse the camera work- I was shooting stills with a camera in one hand while running a video camera on a tripod with the other hand.

 

 

 

Jim Murphy and crew came out for another testing pass in his NTF dragster.

 

The run was short lived though when traction turned into tiresmoke before the tree.

 

 

High Speed Motorsports NTF owner Tom Shelar made a surprise visit (without his racecar) in order to deliver some parts to Rick McGee and enjoy the day.

 

Tyler Hester made a second test pass in the Tedford & McGee digger. Tom Shelar and Brad Thompson can be seen observing.

 

 

 

A new fuel altered was out for testing by the name of "Bandito" (little bandit). Driver's name on the body is Dirty Ernie Harmon.

 

 

 

 

Randy Winkle made a couple of afternoon passes in his Strange Brew machine, complete with dry hops.

 

 

Billy McDevitt did some testing in the Borjon Auto Center Nostalgia RED.

 

 

Adam Morgan lights 'em up.

 

Lucas Nunez and some other Hot Rods came out to play.

 

 

 

 

The 9.60 class featured Jim Hulse in his quick 240-Z and Brian Smith in his Mercury Cougar.

 

 

Bruce Boardman reached for the sky at just about every launch in his 11.60 '55 Chevy called "Bad Obsession"

 

Tommy Schiffilea winds up the slicks.

 

Last pass of the day was Jim Murphy.

 

Kleet Norris, Kevin and the boys take down the tree after a successful, fun-filled Saturday at the drags. Back tomorrow for more...

 

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Sunday Eliminations and Winner's Circle

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