Brett Harris 2010 CHRR TF Champion
Sorokin 2010 Hot Rod Heritage Top Fuel Champion






Bakersfield, CA - 10/18/10: After three days of 90 degree sunshine the race had to be called due to inclement weather after the semi final rounds. Thus the 19th California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California finals in Nostalgia Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car will be finished at the 46th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals held at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 10-14. Remaining classes (A/Fuel, Junior Fuel, A/Gas, AA/Gas, 7.0 Pro and Nostalgia Eliminator) divided the purse equally and the lowest elapsed time of each class in the previous round received the 19th California Hot Rod Reunion trophy.

“We stuck it out until Monday but we decided to call off the racing due to severe weather conditions,” said Greg Sharp, Reunion Event Director, “Reunion fans can expect to see more action come November as the CHRR Funny Car and Top Fuel Champions are crowned at Pomona.”

Second-generation Top Fuel driver Adam Sorokin made it to the finals on the same track he won the 2010 March Meet in the Nostalgia Top Fuel class. He got there by getting by Keith Burgan, Brad Thompson and Jim Murphy. Sorokin posted his career-best elapsed time of 5.634 at 252.03 against Murphy in the semi finals and that win clinched the Nostalgic Top Fuel Champion in the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series.

A month later the 46th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals returned to its roots when vintage dragsters and funny cars met at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the final race of the 19th California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.

“In the Reunion’s 19 year history, this is a first,” said Museum curator Greg Sharp, “It’s an added bonus for these nostalgia racers to be a part of the Auto Club Finals and give today’s fans a small sample of how drag racing used to be.”

Nostalgia Top Fuel finalists met at the starting line late Sunday afternoon for the final run for the championship title of the California Hot Rod Reunion, postponed last month due to bad weather. In a good 'ol drag race (until Sorokin's engine damage) Harris captured his first CHRR crown with a 5.748 at 248.48 to a 5.883 at 209.65.

Both Harris and Sorokin went home champions. Brett Harris won the Nostalgia Top Fuel championship title of the 19th California Hot Rod Reunion. Adam Sorokin donned the 2010 Hot Rod Heritage Series crown.

Oil downs and a tight schedule scratched the Nostalgia Funny Cars from racing. Contenders Leah Pruett-LeDuc and Mark Hentges made test runs earlier in the weekend but were unable to complete the final run on Sunday.

Reunion organizers propped up a spontaneous 19th California Hot Rod Reunion backdrop in the racer pit area for the Winners Circle and presented the coveted Reunion trophy to the winning teams.

Although she didn’t get the chance to make a final dash to the finish line, Leah was still all smiles. She took home the esteemed 2010 CHRR Finals trophy for having the lowest elapsed time back at Famoso. She also won the 2010 Hot Rod Heritage Series championship in nostalgia funny car. The purse was split between LeDuc and Hentges.


Complete stroy and photos below...




Adam Sorokin and the VanDyke Motorsports team, your 2010 Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Champions.


Sorokin and Heritage funny car champ, Leah Pruett-LeDuc who was also awarded the CHRR title by virtue of low ET in the semis.




Qualifying Session 1 - Friday

3:15 p.m. After some timely delays because of some oil downs Top Fuel finally got out for its first session. The temperature was in the low 90s which made the track groove pretty narrow.


The first pair out was the 2009 CHRR champ Rick McGee in the Tedford & McGee "Overtime Special" and Bill Dunlap in Bob Richardson's "Curcuit Breaker".





McGee picked up right were they left off in March with a strong launch.








Both cars stayed together until Dunlap started smoking the tires about 150' out which trashed the run.





McGee stopped the clocks with a nice 5.89 at 224.32 while Dulap coasted to a 10.71 at 64.45.





Pair two featured Troy Green in Frank Ousley's "Crop Duster" and rookie Keith Burgan in the Burgan & Horan entry.






Burgan had a fair leave and was chasing Green for the first 600'.










Green had problems and clicked it to a 7.75 at 99.65 while Burgan clocked a 6.41 at 207.46.







Pair three pitted Mike McClennan in Mike Fuller's "Forever Young" and Rick Rogers in the "Foothill Flyer".






Neither car had great early numbers.









On the other end they were pretty much togeter with McClennan turning a 6.36 at 190.92 and Rogers a 6.35 at 227.23





Next out was Rick Williamson in the CBS Racing fueler and Brendan Murry in his "Running Wild Racing" Chevy car.







Williamson had the better leave but Murry was right behind him.











In a close qualifying run Murry carded a 6.07 at 230.94 to Williamson's 6.03 at 202.52.





Pair five would prove to be interesting matching James Day in the 426 powered Botelho-Comstock-Patterson car and TF rookie John Weaver in Butch Blair's "Fugowie".





Day left first and harder leaving Weaver in his rear view mirror... which would turn out to be a very good thing.








Weaver who started in the left lane and by the 1000' mark was in the right lane provided one of the marque stories of the weekend.



Thankfully Day was far ahead of the action after carding a 6.10 at 250.62.




Luckly the car stayed on its side glued to the wall and only suffered severe chassis damage.


Now for the rest of the story in the words of award winning photographer Mark Rebilas.

When a 200mph Parachute meets a Camera, the Camera Loses

"Normally when I post a drag racing blog I typically lead off with my coolest photo of the weekend. When a destroyed camera is the lead photo I am pretty sure you can guess what the story of the weekend will be for me!

For about the past eight years I have really gotten into setting up remote cameras. There are two reasons for this, one is to put a remote camera in a place thats too dangerous to stand or a place photographers are not allowed to stand. The second reason is by setting up a remote camera (or two) I am able to get multiple angles of the same moment. In the past several years I have done countless remotes. I have had some close calls but then again I have had many more close calls from where I myself was standing and had to run for my life or dive to the ground to avoid death. Thats all part of the job of being a sports photographer and its honestly part of the fun of my occupation.

For the California Hot Rod Reunion nostalgia drag race in Bakersfield, CA, I would set up a remote camera in a spot that I have done every year at that track for awhile. While setting up the Nikon D700 camera with a 400mm f2.8 lens that morning I had no idea that it would be the last time I would ever set up that camera again.

Shooting down past the finish line (top end is what its called in the biz) is by far the most dangerous place to shoot in any motorsports I have ever shot. The reward for that risk is you get really cool angles of the cars coming right towards you and it is also the best place to set up if you wanna shoot crashes (for those of you sick people into that sort of thing). Yea a big part of the danger is parts and pieces off of crashing or exploding cars but by far the biggest risk down there is parachutes coming over the wall and snatching you and/or your camera up. While its pretty rare, it has happened in the past and the results usually aren’t pretty.

I have shot countless crashes from the top end of numerous drag strips around the country but anytime I am at this particular track I have to be very mindful of whats going on. Most tracks have walls that are straight down to the track surface, at this track just past the finish line the walls in the shutdown area are like the walls in temporary construction zones where the bottom is wider than the top so if you hit it instead of bouncing off it the cars have a tendency to ride up on the wall which is very bad.

Below is an example of the straight walls (on left) and the beginning of the construction zone walls with the lip so you can better understand what I’m rambling about."


Below, my buddy Guy Rhodes lets me know that the camera is successfully firing as I tested the remotes range from my shooting position about 200 feet further down in the shutdown area.


Ok on to the moment of impact….

In the first round of qualifying for nostalgia top fuel dragster, driver John Weaver (in the far lane) would lose control while racing James Day.


I was initially following James Day in the near lane until I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Weaver was way out of control.



Weaver quickly got the parachutes out which usually straightens a car out….


But in this situation it appeared that the throttle was slightly stuck open (judging by the heat waves still pouring from the headers) so gaining control wasn’t gonna happen…


By this point it was time to make the decision to stay put and keep shooting or run like child. Below is my last shot I took before I bailed. (Note the remote camera being a bad ass and not running).


As I started running the camera fired the below frame which shows the car missing the camera but the parachute coming in to ruin the day.


When Weaver hit the wall the car rode up on the wall and rolled the car on its side. In the below frame from Guy Rhodes you can see the last instant of the cameras life…..
Photo by Guy Rhodes


After running from the track I quickly looked to make sure no parts or pieces were flying my direction before resuming shooting as the car headed away from me in a cloud of dust and smoke.


At that point I was pretty pissed that I ended up running for no reason and missed the crash but its better to be safe than sorry.

My anger quickly turned to shock when I looked over at the wall where I had my remote and noticed it was no longer there.


I started walking over to the spot expecting that the camera had simply fallen over to the ground during the crash….. until I saw my manfrotto magic arm and super clamp laying in the middle of the track.


At that point I knew I was completely screwed and began to pick up all the parts and pieces of my camera and lens.

My father Gil has destroyed at least four or five remote cameras in his career and I knew I would eventually kill a camera. I figured if it ever happened that I would quickly begin crying. Not sure why but I took the situation pretty well. Perhaps it was because several of my friends were across the track shooting me retrieving all the parts of the camera but all I know is that being sad wasn’t gonna help the situation at all so all I could really do is laugh as the cameras fired away at me.
Photo by Guy Rhodes


Guy Rhodes photo


After picking up all the pieces I sat them on the wall so all my buddies could see.


While I was able to find most of the camera the one thing that was missing was the compact flash card that had been in the remote. I knew that even if the camera had fired with the car coming at it that it would be way out of focus since the remote had been focused on the finish line. Even knowing that I still really wanted the card back so I could at least know what the camera had seen in its final moments.

I spent a lot of time searching for the card alongside the track as well as on the track following the day. Even the track owner (Blake Bowser) and an NHRA official (Don Irvin) spent some of their valuable time searching as well. Thanks guys.


Guy Rhodes and I found out that with the big piece remaining of the 400mm that you could quickly light fires by aiming the sun through it….
Guy Rhodes photo


….or you could make yourself look like a cyclops…..
Guy Rhodes photo


The day ended with nobody finding the flash card and that sucked. Suffice to say I got rather inebriated that night!

The next day while driving out to the track I got a text from my friend Dave Kommel letting me know the flash card had been found and was still intact!

Below is the photo from the camera. Yea its far from the coolest remote shot but I think it still tells the story of the imminent Nikon destruction about to occur.




The carnage. Thanks again to Mark for allowing me to share this....


More at Mark Rebellas Blog


Guy Rhodes Blog


Crash Sequence




The next pair featured Brett Harris in the Nitro Thunder "Big Red" and TF vet Denver Schutz in the Cullen & Schutz "Raisin Express 2".





Harris left very hard and had stout bottom end numbers. Schutz was a little soft.










Harris was on a great pass until...


At half track the car made a violent move to the left and Harris had his hands full to keep it upright.



After reeling it in, Harris coasted through with a 6.14 at 180.07.



Schutz got there first with a 5.92 at 226.01.




The next to last pair was Brad Thompson in the High Speed Motorsports "Great White" and Rick White in the San Diego based Neal & White car.





Both cars left hard and stayed together to the traps.








Just before the lights Thompson's ride ran out of fuel resulting in a 5.86 at 257.74 and the teams first engine loss of the weekend. White had no problems at all carding a 5.81 at 254.16.










The final pair of session one was a pre-view of the semis with a different result. Paired were #1 & #2 in the points, Jim Murphy in his WW2 Racing entry and Adam Sorokin in the VanDyke Motorsports - Champion Speed Shop car.







Both cars had agressive early numbers.










Nipping a couple of pistons in the process, Murphy carded a 5.80 (low for the session) at 230.35 while Sorokin shut off a tad early to a 6.02 at 212.86.








Page 2 - Top Fuel Quaifying Session 2

Page 3 - Top Fuel Elimination Round 1

Page 4 - Top Fuel Elimination Rounds 2 - Final

Page 5 - Funny Cars

Page 6 - Everything Else


Related Sites

High Speed Motorsports

Nitro Thunder Racing

WW2 Racing

Email For Photographer Contact Information




BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Sept. 1, 2010) – The dates have been announced for the 53rd running of nostalgia drag racing’s premier event, the 2011 March Meet. The three-day event will take place March 18-20, 2011 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, just outside Bakersfield, Calif.

"Traditionally, the March Meet is held the first week of March", said Blake Bowser, vice president and general manager of the Kern County Racing Association, operators of Auto Club Famoso and producers of the fabled March Meet.

“We decided to hold the March Meet later in the month for a few reasons,” Bowser explained. “The first and second weekend of March may be too close to the NHRA Winternationals. Traditionally the Winternationals is held in early February. In 2011 the Winternationals will be held the last weekend of February. A lot of our local race fans want to attend both, but it gets difficult for them when they are held only a few weeks apart. Also, thanks to the NHRA, we use the Winternationals as a promotional springboard to help kick-off the March Meet. The extra few weeks give us more time to get the word out.”

Bowser also said that many NHRA racers such as Robert Hight, Ron Capps, Gary Densham, Cruz Pedregon and Jack Beckman enjoy competing in and/or attending the March Meet every year. “The fans love it too when the NHRA stars attend. The way the 2011 NHRA schedule falls, there’s no NHRA race the third week in March, so there’s no conflict. Everyone wins.”

Weather is also a factor in the move, Bowser said. “Typically, as the month of March goes on, we see warmer weather, which can only help. It will make for better racing conditions. Plus, Daylight Savings will have already taken place. This will give us an extra hour of sunlight which will let us run a bit later under good conditions.”

Lastly, Bowser said the move to later in the month has some luck involved: luck of the Irish. “The Thursday before the March Meet is usually when we have our kick-off party,” he said. “In 2011, the Thursday before the March Meet is St Patrick's Day (Mar. 17). How fun can that be?”

March Meet ticket sales and prices, as well as other race information, including downloadable forms for race entries, car show registration and camping will be posted soon at Famoso Raceway

Now celebrating 53 years of racing, the March Meet is a three-day speedfest that enthusiasts call ‘the jewel of Nostalgia Racing.’ It attracts drag racers and spectators from around the world and also includes a hot rod car show, swap meet and a vendors’ midway. The 2011 March Meet will be held Mar. 18-20 at historic Auto Club Famoso Raceway

The Kern County Racing Association operates Auto Club Famoso Raceway (just north of Bakersfield, Calif.) and promotes a full schedule of races year round, including the world famous March Meet, which is recognized as the Mecca of nostalgia drag racing. For more details, visit  Famoso Raceway


Make your hotel reservations NOW!





NEW For the Real Race Fanatic




Join Now

Members Site Map || Visitors Site Map

Site Copyright Ewald Enterprises, 1998-2010. All Rights Reserved. is a
Left Coast Graphics  Web Property.

Return to Top