Jim Baker's Then and Now


Twelve years ago, in 2007, a young drag racer from Las Vegas got involved with a new organization called the West Coast Hot Rod Association. Several races were planned for tracks what needed exposure to the rapidly growing street car drag racing scene. The young group had immediate competition from another start up, the Pacific Street Car Association, which has changed their name to Premier Street Car Association.


Danny Topol and wife Rachelle have nurtured the WCHRA and purchased full ownership in 2016. They do a superb job of managing the limited number of drag races offered each year. While events have run at Sacramento, Bakersfield, Las Vegas and Tucson, they only offer three per season in the PRO SERIES, and their AMATEUR SERIES will have seven. These include five events at LVMS and two at AAA Dragway in Fontana, CA.


And make no mistake, Danny is a drag racer and a successful business man.

In addition to the WCHRA, the enterprising Topols also own the West Coast Tattoo Parlor in Las Vegas. But that does not keep Danny from racing at events like the Street Car SuperNationals (shown above) or taking care of all his enterprises. This writer has attended and reported on two of the WCHRA’s Duels held at Tucson Dragway and can say that the events were properly promoted and administered from start to finish.

The entire WCHRA crew was in matching uniforms, and the two ladies made certain the correct sponsor placards were set for each class winner. Shown above is John Wright celebrating his win in Ultra Street. The largest event on their schedule is the ‘Battle’ which takes place the first of June at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Since the WCHRA started in the San Joaquin Valley of Southern California, one of the Topol’s big decisions was producing an event at their home track, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. During the 2016 season, they made the leap, producing the ‘Battle’ during the weekend of May 19th and 20th. That weekend was not super-hot in Las Vegas, but moving forward two weeks to June 1st (this year’s date) and high temperature can be a problem. The solution? Make it a night race. By utilizing an all evening format, a successful series of ‘Battles’ has evolved.

At the March WCHRA event at Bakersfield, CA, Frank Merenda’s ’59 Rambler Wagon was #1 Qualifier in Top Doorslammer with a .017 RT and went on to take the win against Tom Fowler with an ET of 7.575 at 180.43 mph (7.57 Dial-in) to Fowler’s ET of 7.625/176.03 (7.59 Dial). (Paul Schmitz photo)

The 2013 Edelbrock Shootout Champion, Rich Hoyle, was back with a new nitrous system and lighter race weight to try and fight off the high HP “boosted” cars that have been laying down impressive numbers at early events and testing.


WCHRA Crowns Winners at ‘The Battle’ in Las Vegas

Lamar Swindol,Jr. came all the way from Beach City, TX, to compete in the Small Tire class at the Battle in Las Vegas and the Duel at Tucson Dragway.


At the recent ‘Duel’ at Tucson Dragway, a large contingent of racers from as far away as Redding, CA, made the long trek to attend. They melded with local groups which were attending a WCHRA event for the first or second time.

Tom Fowler’s ’70 Camaro A/Gas winner is shown here in the Tucson Dragway staging area prior to his winning run at the ‘Duel’. Tom traveled some 700 miles from Paso Robles, CA, to attend the event.

The local area was well represented by Rocky Salcido, Jr.’s wild ’54 Ford Truck competing in the Big Tire class. Big Tire was hotly contested in both 2017 and 2018 events, with Troy Baugh taking the win, just as he did in June at the ‘Battle’!

The September ‘Duel’ at Tucson Dragway had to go off without a hitch with these two at the controls! Tucson Dragway Manager Matt DeYoung points to his counterpart Danny Topol during starting line action.


2019 WCHRA Schedule:

MARCH 30-31: The California SHOOTOUT, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA

MAY 31–JUNE 1: The BATTLE, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

OCT. 19–20: The DUEL, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA

Troy Baugh celebrates in the Winners Circle with Danny and Rachelle Topol, plus their staff with Troy and his entire crew at the 2018 ‘Duel’ at Tucson Dragway.


This writer has witnessed first-hand two ‘Duels’, and heard from many racers who have been a part of ‘Shootouts” and ‘Battles’; the WCHRA events are always first class!  Danny and Rachelle are racers too, and this shows through at all of their races. Payouts are very attractive and give a reason to travel for all that attend.


Until Next Time, Be On Time! 



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