(Photos by Kim Fuller & Darr Hawthorne) • When the California Hot Rod Reunion was created by Steve Gibbs and Wally Parks in October of 1992, it was to be a gathering of old friends to celebrate the Golden Era of drag racing, swap stories, photos and honor a time that wasn’t part of today’s NHRA Championship Drag Racing.
Over time, the event expanded to include Heritage Series Drag Racing in addition to the Cacklefest™, featuring both original machines and reproductions, along with more storytelling. When Steve Gibbs left his position at the NHRA, the need to celebrate the Golden Era of drag racing persisted. Gibbs, along with his daughter Cindy have continued to organize and evolve this Nitro Revival event, and on Irwindale’s 1/8th mile track has became a significant part of drag racing’s legacy.
The new format of the Nitro Revival has de-emphasized the drag racing competition aspect while maintaining a focus on fostering connections among old friends and enthusiasts. The event has become a venue for showcasing a diverse range of static-displayed nitro burners, gassers, coupes, and sedans, creating a more intimate setting for fans to interact with the heroes of the Golden Years. Attendees can not only witness and photograph the impressive machines but also engage in storytelling sessions, obtain autographs, and actively participate in celebrating the history and camaraderie of drag racing.
So Cal Outlaw Gassers provided the drag racing show as dozens of nitro drag cars fired up their engines all over the Irwindale pits. Nitro Revival 6 was a three-day party, still about the drags, but emphasizing the people. With last month’s Wally Parks Nostalgia Nationals finished, it was clear the Reunion-type format is much better done by Gibbs and his friends at Irwindale Dragstrip.
Here’s a Gallery of a few of the cars, the engines and most of all the people of that real Golden Era.