In an era when mainstream drag racing is ever more corporate, and the little guy can’t hope to compete in the professional classes, interest in nostalgia racing continues to grow. Witness the increase in such events, from the original reunion, to the sister event at Bowling Green, Kentucky, the March Meet at Famoso, and the new for 2013 event at New England Dragway, New Hampshire.

All these events really do offer living history before your eyes, with front-engine dragsters, nostalgia Funny Cars, Altereds, Gassers, and Super Stocks from the ’60s and ’70s in the NHRA Heritage Racing Series, both on display and racing on the tracks. Add the restored and re-created cars that aren’t race legal but which take part in the cacklefests, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time.

Last October saw the 21st staging of the Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, near Bakersfield, California, where in addition to the above action, the crowds were treated to the likes of Big John Mazmanian’s ’41 Willys and the Rat Trap and Winged Express Altereds out on the track during the three-day event. Seeing Winged Express carry the front wheels for almost the entire 1,320 feet to the finish line is an experience not to be missed for sure!

While the racing starts during the day on Friday, for many the event kicks off at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield that evening with the Lifetime Achievement awards. Honorees were “TV” Tommy Ivo, who was also Grand Marshall of the event, Bob and Jim Brissette, Gary and Jerry Mallicoat, Jim Nicoll, Marv Ripes, and Ed Sigmon. Continuing the tradition, Fuelers were fired up in the parking lot, assaulting the assembled crowd’s ears, noses, and throats, thanks to the nitro fumes, though we’re sure no one present would have it any other way!

Similar sensory overload could be enjoyed on Saturday night, with the cacklefest parade and presentation at the track in the evening, the fading light perfect to view the flames and glowing headers on the race cars. Why not enjoy it for yourself next October 18-20, or if you can’t wait check out www.nhramuseum.org for the Kentucky and New Hampshire dates.