BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The second day of the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway was filled with excitement and history.
Legends from all aspects of the sport, including Bakersfield native Grand Marshal Rick Stewart, Pete Eastwood, Bill Holland, Bob Lambeck, Bob Panella, Sr., and Jimmy Scott, were honored before the famous Cacklefest with a parade down the track and introductions by former voice of the NHRA, and a legend in his own right, Bob Frye.
The parade and Cacklefest were the perfect cap to a day of nostalgia racing highlighted by a clinched championship in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series.
In the process of winning the NightFire Nationals, an event whose finals were weather delayed from Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho, Jason Rupert did not qualify for the California Hot Rod Reunion.
Rupert raced to a 5.654-second pass at 248.43 mph in his Rupert & Littlefield “Rolling Thunder” 1969 Camaro Funny Car to defeat Ryan Hodgson. However, Rupert was plagued with three oildown penalties that disqualified his qualifying efforts.
As a result, Hodgson clinched the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Funny Car championship. Hodgson, who qualified fourth for the California Hot Rod Reunion, went on to defeat Jon Capps in the first round of eliminations and will face Brad Thompson Sunday in the second round.
In Nostalgia Top Fuel, championship frontrunner Jim Murphy took over the No. 1 qualifying position with a 5.651 at 249.30. Murphy will face Brendan Murry in the first round.