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On Oct. 21-22 as a satellite to the California Hot Rod Reunion held annually at the dragstrip made famous by the Smokers Car Club near Bakersfield, Calif., a sizeable group of former Pro Stock racers got together with a Reunion of their own.
Starting on Friday night in the Lobby/Lounge area of the Double Tree Inn, and winding up Saturday morning at the crowded race track, the event brought together many who had not seen each other for more than 35 years.
Jim Clark, who was there in the beginning at Pomona 1970, had his restored ’68 Dodge Dart at the CHRR, running in A/FX. To our knowledge, it was the only active Pro Stock racer from ‘back in the day’; and it certainly represented our group well.
The 2016 version of the CHRR was not only crowded, it was packed with every type of display or race car the NHRA Museum would allow. There were more than 30 AA/FC and over 30 A/Gas trying to qualify for 16 spots in their eliminator program. Plus a large number of hopefuls, who could not enter traditional CHRR classes, showed up anyway and just ran as an exhibition car.
True to his original mandate, event manager Steve Gibbs made certain that every category had ‘their space’. This included the show cars; swap meet vendors; merchandise and sponsor exhibits as well as traditional food outlets. And of course, Steve included the ever more popular ‘cacklefest’ cars of yesteryear. Boy, it was really stuffed!
A highlight of Friday evening’s festivities at the track was daughter Cindi helping Dad with this poster. During my watch, Steve Gibbs went from track manager at San Gabriel to GM at Irwindale to NHRA Competition Director, retired and then operated the new NHRA Heritage races for 25 years!