THE CAL­I­FOR­NIA HOT ROD RE­UNION TURNS 25

IT WAS A STER­LING SIL­VER EVENT

Drag Racer - - Contents - Text by Pete Ward Photos by Doug Adams, Keith Hu­dak, Tim Mar­shall, Kleet Nor­ris and Jim White

It was a Ster­ling Sil­ver Event

WHEN THE OR­GA­NIZ­ERS OF THE FIRST CAL­I­FOR­NIA HOT ROD RE­UNION (CHRR) WERE KICK­ING AROUND THE IDEA FOR THIS SHINDIG, DO YOU THINK THEY HAD A FARTHING OF A NO­TION WHAT THEY WOULD UL­TI­MATELY CRE­ATE?

The sil­ver an­niver­sary of this mo­men­tous event was all those in­volved, or­ga­niz­ers and par­tic­i­pant alike, had hoped for. A few feath­ers were ruf­fled at first, but the is­sues were quickly ad­dressed and all in at­ten­dance were treated to a boffo show. Lest we forget, at the heart of all the CHRR hoopla is a kick-ass drag race.

The main sto­ry­line run­ning up to the CHRR was Tony Bar­tone’s at­tempt to cap­ture his third con­sec­u­tive Her­itage Se­ries N/TF ti­tle. With Adam Sorokin and Jim Mur­phy still very much in the hunt, there were no guar­an­tees. Sun­day elims fell into place like a Hol­ly­wood script. In the semis, Sorokin and Bar­tone faced off, Adam launched first, but his feisty lit­tle Chevy ex­pe­ri­enced is­sues and Bar­tone ad­vanced to the fi­nals to meet—wait for it—Jim Mur­phy. Sadly, Jim went into tire shake, hand­ing the race and Her­itage Se­ries T/F crown to Bar­tone.

Though Kris Kra­bill had se­cured the Her­itage Se­ries N/FC prior to the CHRR, his com­peti­tors showed him lit­tle re­spect. The 33 teams in at­ten­dance thrilled the fans, with five flop­pers run­ning un­der 5.70. Ja­son Ru­pert was par­tic­u­larly dis­re­spect­ful. He took the pole (5.60), ran a 5.57 for

Low ET and thumped Kra­bill in the fi­nal with a 5.59.

No team has had a lock on the Her­itage Se­ries like Kin Bates and Gene Adams, win­ning eight of the past nine A/Fuel cham­pi­onships (in­clud­ing 2016). This event saw big num­bers posted, Bates crushed the A/F record with a 6.07. Bates met his fiercest op­po­nent, Drew Austin (2016 A/F RU), in the fi­nal; Austin pre­vailed.

CHRR event win­ners were crowned in other cat­e­gories: Jr. Fuel, Alan Hull; 7.0 Pro, Allen Tay­lor; NE1, Hans Jakob; A/Gas, Keith Morovich; Nos­tal­gia Pro Mod, Bret Wil­liamson; AA/Su­per­charged, Mike Molea; A/FX, Bob More­land and Geezer Gasser, Greg Porter.

The NHRA Her­itage Se­ries con­cluded its sea­son at the CHRR and the 2016 champs, in ad­di­tion to Bar­tone, Kra­bill and Bates are: Jr. Fuel, Brad Woodard; 7.0 Pro, Michael Peck; NE1, Dale Taros and A/Gas, Frank Merenda.

We can only hope the next quar­ter cen­tury of Re­u­nions will be as ex­cit­ing as the first, and thanks to Auto Club of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia for your sup­port.

/ABOVE. IN A BATTLE of new wave A/Gassers, lo­cal hero Keith Morovich (far) de­feated Bren­don Frye, 7.60 to a 7.61.

/THE CLASS (Geezer Gasser) and car (an orig­i­nal C/Gasser built in 1963) were most be­fit­ting the CHRR. Greg Porter hauled his ’55 Chevy from South Carolina, nearly coast to coast. He de­feated Kirk Dupre’s Willys with a 9.24/120.33 for the vic­tory. The nose-high Willys got out of shape (sur­prise!) and shut off.

/RIGHT. BILL WORK­MAN’S flaw­less re­cre­ation of the fa­bled Vul­can’s Car Club Ford Vicky is al­ways a CHRR fave.

/ABOVE. KIN BATES and Drew Austin (Her­itage Se­ries Champ and RU) met in the fi­nal. Austin (near) was vic­to­ri­ous in a squeaker, 6.198/219.47 to Bates’ 6.204/217.63.

/LEFT. ALL SEA­SON Jim Mur­phy fought the good fight against the Tony Bar­tone jug­ger­naut. For the Her­itage N/TF cham­pi­onship it went down to the fi­nal round of the fi­nal race be­tween the two. Bar­tone pre­vailed for his third crown.

/HANS JA­COB de­feated Greg Schier­holt in an elec­tri­fy­ing NE 1 fi­nal by the slimmest of mar­gins, 7.742 to 7.747.

/ABOVE & RIGHT. JA­SON RU­PERT de­feated 2016 Her­itage Se­ries N/FC champ Kris Kra­bill (Bar­dahl) in the fi­nal with a strong 5.59/250 charge. Kra­bill clicked early.

/BE­LOW. THE 7.0 PRO win went to Allen Tay­lor in a holeshot vic­tory over Dave Rosen­berg, 7.07 to 7.06.

/LEFT. BRET WIL­LIAMSON re­ceived an early Christ­mas gift in the form of a red light by Jay Diedrich, giv­ing him the Pro Mod vic­tory.

/BE­LOW. BOB MORE­LAND’S rather un­tra­di­tional A/FXer de­feated Ken God­sey, 10.99 to 12.59.

/JIM AND Al­li­son Lee, two of the finest folks to ever com­pete in drag rac­ing, were on hand to help grand­son Tyler Hil­ton race the N/TF trib­ute to the Lee’s Great Ex­pec­ta­tions III fu­eler, which his dad Bobby drove.

/MIKE MOLEA did a mas­ter­ful job of re­pair­ing his se­verely crunched AA/Su­per­charged Willys just prior to the CHRR and took the event win.

/MUCH TO the de­light of all in at­ten­dance, the highly an­tic­i­pated Cack­le­fest fea­tured “The Snake” and his im­mac­u­lately re­stored Shelby Su­per Snake.

/BE­LOW. 7.0 PRO is home to an eclec­tic group of race cars. One of the most beau­ti­ful is Tommy Schif­filea’s ’Vette.

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