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This time of year always makes me feel, I don’t know, melancholy. The reason is that the racing season is coming to an end and it will be a long five months before we can hear the sound of nitro in the pipes of nostalgia cars.
The other thing that makes me melancholy is that for many of us it looks like we might have to enjoy the California Hot Rod Reunion in front of our computers. Thank God for the people at Bang Shift.
But enough of this pouting. There is one more race to be had in the world of NHRA Heritage Series Drag Racing, and that is none other than the California Hot Rod Reunion. The Bowser family will be putting their best face on the historic Bakersfield facility, and I am sure that the place will be wall-to-wall people, as it was for the March Meet.
Therefore, I figured, we would do a recap of this year in the Nitro Nostalgia racing on the NHRA side of things.
This past year has been an interesting one and very competitive one. The year got off to an inconceivable start.
When we left the March Meet, we pretty much knew who the winners and runners-up of the event were. Then about a week later a bit of a bombshell hit the sport. An event that would get many people, well, let us just say, “On the chip”, “up on the tire”, or more simply, angry. Top Fuel runner up Rick White and Funny Car winner Tim Boychuk both had their fuel pumps deemed illegal by the authorities at the NHRA, stripping them of their final round results and compensation. The event winners were Jim Young in the Crop Duster fueler and in funny car, Chad Head in the Jim Head tribute car.
This did not have an effect on the overall points races in retrospect. However, it did bring to light the testing procedures of fuel pumps in the two nitro classes. There was debate on whether or not these tests were completely accurate and consistent. Something that we explored here at DRO, and in full disclosure, since that piece ran there has been a change in the testing and inspection procedures at the NHRA races. Coincidence? Possibly, probably. Nevertheless a change was made in how the pumps are tested, it appears that it was the right change to make, and those issues have gone by the wayside.
The next event for the Funny Cars was the NAPA Auto Part Ignitor held at Firebird Raceway in Eagle, Idaho, just outside of Boise. Jason Rupert made it through the five-car field to take on Texan John Hale in the Mike Burkhart tribute car. Rupert ran a stout 5.78-second run to take the title over Hale’s off pace 6.04-second run.
The next race for the floppers was the Rockabilly Rod Reunion at the Strip at Las Vegas. This was unique as it was a race that allowed racers to score points for both the NHRA Heritage Series and the Mickey Thompson Tires DragRacingOnline.com AA/FC Challenge. Nineteen cars populated the Strip looking to make the eight-car field.
Steven Densham was the low qualifier when racing started, but when the dust settled (which is prudent to say in Las Vegas) it was once again John Hale and Jason Rupert meeting in the finals. There was a much different outcome at Vegas as Rupert left first, but 2011 DRO champ Hale was able to drive around Rupert to take the win at Vegas.