War Horse funny car ready to run at Hot Rod Reunion (1 Viewer)

Fallbrook, CA – Twenty years ago in Bakersfield a group of racers staged a reunion and small race. They thought it was a one time event. Some brought their old race cars to display and relive the stories of early drag racing competition. Since then, NHRA’s California Hot Rod Reunion has become a mecca journey for drag racers and fans worldwide and it is happening again on October 21 – 23 at the hallowed Famoso drag strip. In the early years of this event, there were only one or two funny cars and they were exhibition only. Gradually, the class and spectator interest grew to offer an 8 car qualified field. On this 20th anniversary of the event, the nostalgia funny cars will have a 16 car qualified field and already 38 cars have entered ! But that’s just the beginning as there will be over 300 racers competing during the three day event, which will also crown the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing series season champions.

Nostalgia funny car owner and driver, Roger Garten will be looking claim another piece of history with his 1973 ‘War Horse’ Mustang. Garten was NHRA’s 1975 Division 7 Funny Car Champion with the original War Horse funny car, which he campaigned from 1973 - 1975. Now retired, Garten recently reunited with partner, Mike Tocco to re-create the car and started racing again in 2010. “This nostalgia funny car I think is easier to drive than the one I started my career in. The wheelbase is longer, the cars now are built better, the parts are better – everything is better. Although, even back in the ‘60s and ‘70s this track was tricky for me and my car, I’m looking forward to getting a good solid full track pass here at Famoso,” reports Garten. The team has run a best of 5.95 seconds at 240 miles per hour and won the Heritage Series race in Sacramento in 2010. Last year at the Reunion, Garten ran a 6.05 at 229 mph which was not quick enough to qualify for the 8 car race on Sunday. The team is chomping at the bit to get a shot at Famoso’s resurfaced quarter mile and qualify for the 16 car field.

The War Horse pit will have something for fans of all ages. There will be the standard hero cards, but the latest rage in the pits are baseball sized ‘race cards’ and temporary tattoos and the Horse pit has plenty of both. The ladies of the pit will be happy to help fans with those or sell you an official War Horse T-shirt.

Nitro fans can get their fix on Friday or Saturday at 1:00pm for the qualifying sessions. Round one of competition will be on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm and will continue on Sunday at 11 am.

A highlight of the weekend is the evening Cacklefest – a Steve Gibbs entertainment creation. Elimination and qualification schedule permitting, Roger Garten will be back in the seat of the Tocco, Harper and Garten AA/Fuel Altered for the push start in Cacklefest. Cacklefest starts with participants push starting their early style front engine dragsters as they did in the 1950s and ‘60s, then gathering them all together down the center of the drag strip with the engines running…or cackling. These cars may be too old to race, but they are never too old to light up the night !

Other weekend activities will include a HUGE vendor midway, a swap meet and a car show. The public is invited to the Napa KickOff party Thursday night at the Chuys/Roadhouse Grill parking lot on Rosedale Highway starting at 6:00 pm and also to Friday night’s Reception party at the DoubleTree hotel starting at 7:30 pm.

Fans that are not able to make it to Famoso can watch the event for free and LIVE on Bang Shift : News : Bang Shift Blog beginning on Friday, October 21st. Another web site for technical result information will be Drag Race Central | Presented by Summitracing.com 1-800-230-3030 and they will be posting nearly live class by class updates.

By day, the racers will live out and create their legends – but by night the legends of drag racing will live and breathe again. It’s the 20th California Hot Rod Reunion….what more is there ?

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