(story courtesy of Wally Parks NHRA Hot Rod Museum)
EPPING, N.H. – Hundreds of hot rods, classic cars and nostalgic race cars are revved up and ready to roll into the historic New England Dragway for the inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion® presented by AAA Insurance, Sept. 12-14. The New England Hot Rod Reunion promises to be one of the East Coast’s premier three-day festivals of family fun, vintage drag racing and classic American car culture.
The long-anticipated New England Hot Rod Reunion kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 12, featuring exciting side-by-side racing action with Hot Heads Eliminator time trials and exhibition runs. Fans will have plenty to see and do with a vendor midway, swap meet and an outdoor car show with hundreds of collector cars, hot rods and muscle cars. In addition, participants will want to take advantage of the incredible advance ticket offer: Purchase a three-day credential for $65 in advance and receive a goody bag filled with an event dash plaque and official Reunion program.
On Friday, fans will be treated to more Nitro qualifying and a side-by-side Jet Dragster exhibition as well as Wheelstanders making bumper-dragging runs down the quarter-mile. Fans will want to stop by the Dynamat Legends Lounge to meet Grand Marshal Jimmy King and the other 2013 honorees during daily autograph sessions. King, with his late partner Don Marshall, helped form the King Pins of the Southern New England Timing Association. The team raced competitive Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars until the mid-’70s and became perhaps the most successful team out of New England. Jimmy was voted Most Popular Driver by the fans at three New England strips four years in a row. They won the 1971 NHRA Gatornationals, four AHRA Nationals, one IHRA National and more than seventy-five local races. King is a member of the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. The day concludes Friday with a special reception in celebration of the Reunion Grand Marshal and honorees located in the big tent near the vendor midway. Admission is free and everyone is welcome!
Also honored during the event will be Pennsylvanian Darwin Doll, a former NHRA Division Director and founder of the Sportsters Roadster Association in 1957; New Jersey’s Tony Feil, NHRA’s Division 1 Sportsman of the Year, Sportsman Mechanic of the Year and member of the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame; and other popular New England racers of the past such as Don Roberts of Reading, Mass., who drove more than a dozen different race cars, Pete Shadinger the inline engine champion and brothers A.B. and Bernie Shuman who were racers themselves before chronicling New England hot rod history in their book Cool Cars Square Roll Bars. The Reunion Spotlight shines on the pioneer Orientals Hot Rod Club of Reading, Mass.
The weekend concludes on Saturday with Hot Heads eliminations in all categories. Reunion Champions will be crowned along with more Nitro, Jets and Wheelstanders. The spectacular grand finale Cacklefest® brings the memorable weekend to a close.
What’s a Cacklefest® you ask? It’s a sensory overload that can only be experienced at the Reunion. Where dozens of historic Nitro-burning race cars are push started one at a time and “cackle” together on the track at the same time as they shoot their header flames into the New England night sky just as they did in the ’50s and ’60s.
The Hot Rod Reunions are a series of premier car enthusiast festivals produced by The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The first Hot Rod Reunion was held 21 years ago in Southern California. Today, the Hot Rod Reunions continue to celebrate the early days of hot rodding and drag racing in Bakersfield, Calif., Bowling Green, Ky. and now in Epping, N.H.
The event begins at 8 a.m. each day with racing beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12; Racing kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13; pre-finals start at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. Cost is$65 for a three-day credential in advance ($75 at the gate), single day tickets at the gate are only $25, and children 15 and under are free accompanied by paid adult. For tickets, call NHRA at 800-884-6472. Tickets also are available online at www.NHRATIX.com. AAA Members show your card and save! For more information about the New England Hot Rod Reunion, please visit www.NHRAmuseum.org.
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