As if you needed another reason to attend this weekend’s Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky, here it is. There will be a special eighth mile, heads-up eliminator featuring legit, period correct gassers. We’re not talking the winged, lowered, swoopy “gassers” of today. Nope, we’re talking the high riding, leaf spring, short wheelbase hellions of decades past.
Rocky Pirrone is the leader of this wild bunch, which is good news to us. Pirrone has been involved in nostalgia drag racing way before “it was cool”. Although we do not know how many, or what cars will be running in this deal, we do know that there will be LOTS of pop wheelstands on the starting line and some interesting engine battles, like small blocks versus Hemis and the like.
Here’s the full release from the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum!
BOWLING GREEN, KY. – On June 16-18, in the spirit of gasser legend “Ohio George” Montgomery, a group of gassers set up exactly as those nose high, non-winged, extremely popular supercharged coupes and sedans of the ‘60s will be match racing as a special attraction at the 9th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA at the historic Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky.
A thorough check of the current NHRA Rulebook will reveal no mention of an AA/Gas Supercharged class or even a Gas Coupe and Sedan category. The irony is that forty-five years ago these cars were every bit as popular and had as much fan appeal as fuel-burning Funny Cars do today. At the top of the heap was “Ohio George” whose “World’s Wildest Willys” took six NHRA Nationals titles as well as three Eliminator victories. The “Gasser Wars” of the 1960s created stars and drew exceptional crowds.
With no aerodynamic aids and the high speeds now possible, the racers, under the direction of organizer Rocky Pirrone, will restrict themselves to the 1/8th mile, but rest assured the launches will be spectacular and can only be experienced at the Reunion!
“Gassers epitomize the heart of the Hot Rod Reunion. These cars are true nostalgia and take fans back to the golden era of drag racing,” said Steve Gibbs, Museum Boardmember and Reunion Race Director. “Reunion fans are going to get a great lineup of Supercharged Gassers and an amazing show!”
In addition, Reunion fans can meet numerous Gasser legends including “the man” himself, “Ohio George” Montgomery, racing pioneer Barbara Hamilton, the first woman in drag racing to receive an NHRA license for driving supercharged cars, The Mallicoat Brothers, and popular members of the S&S Racing Team. All are regular Reunion fans!
The 9th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA, June 16-18 (Thursday through Saturday) at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm. Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California and located in Pomona, Calif., the Reunion is part of the museum’s “living history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.
Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods and customs of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.
Tickets ($20 each per day) are available at 800/884-NHRA, outside the U.S. call 626-250-2497 or online at www.nhratix.com. Individual tickets are available day-of the event at the gates. Cost per person: Thursday through Saturday, $20. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.
The Reunion features a wide variety of activities and events, including:
Hot Heads Eliminations nostalgic drag racing, featuring some the sport’s most famous and historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Nostalgia Top Fuel, Funny Car, Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic Super Stock, Hot Rods and others.
Street rod “Show ‘n Shine,” presented by SoffSeal, with thousands of gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, custom cars, classics and muscle cars. “Memory Lane” will have a display of nostalgic race cars.
On Wednesday, June 15, 5 p.m., Show N Shine participants are invited to The Heacock Classic Insurance cruise starting at the Holiday Inn University Plaza, the host hotel. Cruisers parade through historical downtown Bowling Green.
National Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the Holiday Inn University Plaza’s Bowling Green Convention Center ballroom on Thursday evening, June 16. Open to everyone at no charge, it’s a tribute to the Reunion’s Grand Marshal and Honorees and a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing’s heroes.
Cacklefest on Saturday evening, where nitro-burning historic, front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are push started just like in the “old days.”
The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with manufacturer exhibits and demonstrations
A separate amusement park with rides and games for all ages adjacent to the park.
Information, including a full activities schedule, entry forms and tickets, is available through the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at http://museum.nhra.com or by calling 909-622-8562 PDT. Requests can be emailed to [email protected]
Proceeds of the Holley Hot Rod Reunion benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. Celebrating its 13th anniversary and named for the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, the Parks Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California houses the very roots of hot rodding. Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., PDT. Current NHRA members are admitted free and Auto Club members enjoy a $2 discount. Admission for non-members is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 60 and older, $6 for juniors six through 15, and free for children under the age of five. The Museum is also available for special group tours. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit http://museum.nhra.com.