THE CALIFORNIA HOT ROD REUNION TURNS 25
IT WAS A STERLING SILVER EVENT
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.