Adam Sorokin scored a breakthrough Top Fuel win over Denver Schutz. Adam, son of fabled Surfers driver Mike Sorokin, won in dramatic fashion: Leaving first, he experienced a teeth-rattling blower explosion, allowing Schutz to close the gap, much to his dismay Denver cut into Adam’s lane—no harm but a foul.
Forty-six, that’s right, count ‘em—46 nitro burning machines filled the air with the wonderful stench of their spent fuel. If you count the cackle cars, the count jumps to near a hundred. Where else on planet Earth are you gonna experience such a show? If you’re a nitro junkie, the California Hot Rod Reunion is a must-attend event.
But nitro is just a portion of what’s to love about the Reunion. In addition to the hundreds of race cars in all classes, the car show, swap meet and merchants, the best aspect is the people. At some events, the cars may be the stars, but in drag racing, and here especially, the people attending are equally as important.
For the “seniors” who want to reminisce or the younger fans yearning to learn more about the sport they’re growing to love, the Reunion is like a time machine. There are so many stories to share, so many teachable moments that are only available here.
The 2014 edition is scheduled for 17-19 October, so start making your plans to attend.
…and the winners of the 22nd Reunion were: John Hale (Funny Car), Adam Sorokin (Top Fuel), Don Enriquez (Junior Fuel), Mike Smith (7.0 Pro), Richard Phillips (7.0 Pro B), Mitchell Akers (AFX), Tom Fowler (A/Gas), Jason Barta (Nostalgia Eliminator), Ryan Davenport (A/Fuel) and Dan Myers (Nostalgia Pro Mod).
John Hale claimed his second Reunion Funny Car championship by defeating Dan Horan in the finals.
Jim Murphy lost the battle but won the war. He was eliminated in the second round but earned enough points to capture his first NHRA Heritage Series T/F title.
winJason Rupert also relied on the kindness of others to secure his third consecutive Heritage Series F/C title. Hale’s over Horan made that honor come to pass.
Legendary Jr. Fuel shoe Don Enriquez defeated D.J. Zink for yet another national title.
Mike Smith, flying Crower colors, scored the 7.0 Pro (A Class) crown by defeating Steve Faller’s ’63 ’Vette.
Tom Fowler’s unconventional New Wave Gasser took the A/G crown.
Local hero Jason Barta trailered Alan Hull to capture the Nostalgia Eliminator crown.
Funny Cars with doors: the Pro Mod championship went to Dan Myers.
Colorado lads Dean Seevers, Del Wiesner and Harold Owens resurrected their early ’60s record-holding ’33 Willys blown Olds gasser. She’s a beauty.
Todd Paton did his best Joey Chitwood Thrill Show imitation during qualifying.
Tim Krupa’s bad-ass ’Vette was RU in Pro Mod.
Roger “Riceman” Lee’s faithful recreation of the Master’s & Richter Special was one of the highlights of the cacklefest.
Jack Goodrich’s A/FX Plymouth brings back some memories!
Mark Oswald returned to the cockpit in the Candies & Hughes memorial F/C. Sadly, we lost Paul Candies earlier in ’13.
Text by Pete Ward and Photos by Doug Adams, Jim White and James Drew