Northern Thunder Drag Racing - Feature Page

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Tired of having to hunt around the site, usually in vain, trying to find one of our "Feature" race coverage pages? Well, despair no more, as you've come to the right place this time. We'll be gradually expanding the listings here as we re-organize (for the umpteenth time) the entire website and dredge up some of those long lost or almost forgotten gems from the past.

The features will be listed in chronological order, from the newest to the oldest, with a short description of the "what, when and where" for each one. We hope you enjoy this addition to Northern Thunder. Click on the pictures/logos to access the pages. We've removed some of the older features until they're redone to fit the new format.

Nitro Madness 2021

March 26 - 27, 2021

If you weren't there (as so many of us weren't, including me) then you just missed the BIGGEST Funny Car race in history. Nearly SEVENTY blown, injected, turbocharged, nitrous oxided, nitro and alcohol burning floppers gathered at the Texas Motorplex for the season opening event of FUNNY CAR CHAOS. New records were set for the FCC, with Del Worsham vaporizing the previous marks, and new World Records were set in AA/Fuel Altered, with 4-second passes (1/4-mile) and 300+ mph speeds. We had two photographers catching the action, with BIG Bob Snyder leading the way and Dale Fackler providing backup from the grandstands.


October 30 - November 1, 2020

With 2020 being such a pandemic affected season, the traditional season ending AAA World Finals was cancelled, and the NHRA schedule concluded with the DODGE NHRA Finals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was just the 12th race of the year, from what was originally envisioned as a full 24-event calendar. Nonetheless, there were world championships on the line in all four Pro categories, and Top Alcohol Dragster. Our photographer, Bob Snyder, provided us with some great pics of the action throughout the final weekend of the season.

NHRA Division Seven Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series banner

October 8 - 10, 2020

With so many cancelled or postponed events due to the pandemic, the decision was made to run three Western Region events in the final month of the 2020 season, starting with a race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park where some of the heavy hitters from the west coast were anxiously waiting for a chance to drag their cars out of mothballs and make some serious noise. Our correspondent, Bob Snyder, was on hand to record most of the action on a very hot weekend.

Amarillo Funny Car Chaos banner

July 17 - 18, 2020

The mid-season charge continued for the FUNNY CAR CHAOS crew, as their fourth race in eight weeks went off under HOT and sunny skies in the Texas panhandle, at Amarillo Dragway. For the first time in this website's history we had two photographers covering the action and it worked very well as we saw the races from two separate vantage points. Despite a less than perfect track surface, the racers did their best and in the end, saved their best runs until the final rounds. Check it out in our report.

Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown

June 26 - 27, 2020

Pro Mods and Fuel Altereds. Both types of cars put on awesome displays of power, performance, and pyrotechnics. Why not combine them and see what results? This "test" has been going for eight years now, and the action gets wilder and better every year. Don't miss our full coverage of this one-of-a-kind event, provided by a true nitro junkie, "Big" Bob Snyder, as he makes another visit to Xtreme Raceway Park, deep in the heart of Texas for this once a year extravaganza.

Funny Car Chaos - Odessa, TX header

June 19 - 20, 2020

With the races stacking up on top of each other, it's been difficult to keep up with all the action, but we've managed to be in two places at once, due to a pair of hard working photographers. This report is courtesy of our Funny Car Chaos regular photog, (Bob Snyder) and features some more great photography from the fourth event on the FCC 2020 Calendar. Check it out!

Trailer Source - Thunder on the Mountain logo

June 19 - 20, 2020

Our newest correspondent, Colorado-based Dale Fackler, provided us with some great visuals that helped tell the story of the Trailer Source Thunder On The Mountain event at Bandimere Speedway. It was the first major race of the year at Bandimere and the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Central Regional event saw some great performances by some of the heavy hitters in the Top Alcohol classes. BONUS: We've got some shots from Thursday's test session also.

<San Antonio header>

June 12 - 13, 2020

The Funny Car Chaos crew kept the train rolling into west Texas, stopping at San Antonio's "Alamo City Motorplex" for this weekend's event. The ' fans arrived in droves - starved of drag racing action for many months - and the racers put on the usual great performances. See all the photos and results courtesy of FCC and our very own BIG Bob Snyder.

FCC Eddyville Header

May 29 - 30, 2020

Venturing east for the first time this season, Bob Snyder trekked to Oskaloosa, Iowa's Eddyville Raceway Park for the second event of the 2020 season on the FUNNY CAR CHAOS calendar. With a huge (27 cars pre-entered) contingent of floppers on hand, the action promised to be great, and it certainly was. Despite a rainy Thursday (move-in and testing day) the weather turned fine for qualifying and eliminations.

Good Vibrations March Meet

March 5 - 8, 2020

The 62nd annual incarnation of this iconic drag racing event took place at Auto Club Raceway at Famoso (Bakersfield, CA) last week. Our very hard-working photographer, Bob Snyder, got there early and stayed late to provide us with five full days of testing, qualifying, and eliminations photos from trackside. It's an annual trek that he's made for decades now and it's always worth the trip to see some serious nostalgia drag racing.

2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals logo

February 21 - 23, 2020

Following hot on the heels of the PRO Winter Warmup, the NHRA "Big Show" moved into Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the annual Southwest desert race. A larger car count than in some of the classes at the Winternationals, provided a great show for the Phoenix fans.

PRO Winter WarmUp logo

January 31 - February 2, 2020

Starting the NHRA Mello Yello season with their official/un-official PRO Winter Warmup, the "big show" cars strutted their stuff in the desert sun at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, just outside Phoenix, AZ. While there weren't as many new cars debuting as in previous years, the machinery in attendance was first class and fast. Check out the highlights of the weekend, provided by our ' Southwest photo guy, BIG Bob Snyder.


March 29 - 30, 2019

It's the one... the only... FUNNY CAR CHAOS... starting it's third season as a real alternative to all the other nitro/nostalgia circuits that keep popping up (and falling down). No rules - other than safety of course - real "run whatcha brung" racing with SERIOUS excitement and decent payouts for racers that are willing to put on a good show for the fans. Our goal for this season is to follow the entire circuit.


March 7 - 10, 2019

It's that time again... when all roads lead to Famoso (AutoClub Raceway) just outside of beautiful Bakersfield, CA. It's the season opener for the NHRA Heritage Series and the event that sets the stage for another full-tilt season of nostalgia drag racing. We've been covering this event - in person and through the kind assistance of Bob Snyder - for ten years now and it's one of the "must see" races on our calendar.


February 22 - 24, 2019

Our NHRA Mello Yello series reports start with the Magic Dry Absorbent Arizona Nationals (try saying that quickly three times...) held under unusal weather conditions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Chandler, AZ). After the cold and rain subsided and everyone got down to some serious competition, the big numbers started coming up on the scoreboards. As always, our SouthWest correspondent, "Big" Bob Snyder caught some great pictures of the action, especially in the nitro-burning ranks.


January 30 - February 2, 2019

Shaking off the rust and clearing out the cobwebs, a big batch of shiny new cars and refreshed crew members and drivers opened up their 2019 campaigns with the annual PRO Winter WarmUp test sessions at Phoenix's Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.


April 13 - 14, 2018

Kicking off the third season of the UNITED NITRO FUNNY CAR association, the Tucson Dragway Reunion saw eleven nitro nasties dueling in the desert. The supporting cast of blown fuel and alky funny cars, outlaw fuel altereds, and a mix of sportsman cars provided a very entertaining weekend for the Arizona fans.


March 1 - 4,2018

It's the longest running event in professional drag racing, dating back to 1959 and still relevant in this age of 3-second fuel cars. Paired with the California Hot Rod Reunion, it's the best one-two punch in Nostalgia Drag Racing. And we've got heaps of photos and words to go with our report.

Bobby Thunder's MORE Xcellent Adventures

August 24 - October 23, 2014

It's back.... another edition of vacation stories and pictures, but this time with a bit of a twist. It's three years later, the trip is two months this time and there's six races packed into eight weekends - with two weeks off to visit relatively relatives in Ontario and take a first bite out of the Big Apple. Other than that, it's more of the same, with fewer in-car pictures as I've promised someone that I wouldn't do that anymore. Join us as we criss-cross the United States and eventually find our way home some 20,000 km later.

Bobby Thunder's Xcellent Adventures

October 12 - November 15, 2011

Oh god no.... Vacation pictures? Run for the exits; log off; hit the back button.... anything but inflict Bob's travel snapshots on your retinal nerves and nervous system. Okay, if you must; if you really insist, I'll let you look at them... just this once.... unless you come back for more, and frankly you've got to keep doing that until you see how the entire story turns out. Five weeks (minimum) on the road; four drag races, a sidetrip up the California central coast; another sidetrip through Death Valley; yet another one to Baja California (again); and finally: a very long drive all the way up the coast from Malibu to Longview, WA and home. Daily, or almost daily updates will make this a "go-to" travel blog. Let's get started.

California Hot Rod Reunion

Bakersfield, CA - October 21 - 23, 2011

The final race of the season for nostalgia crowd, the end of the line, the holy grail... whatever you want to call it: it's the biggest event of the season for these racers, second only to the March Meet in car count, but first in the hearts of so many racers and fans of this era. If you want to see - and more importantly - hear and feel nearly 40 nitro-burning, ground-pounding, ear-splitting NITRO funny cars running the "can, lid and label" then Auto Club Famoso Raceway is the place to be. We were there to capture as much of the action as we could from the Funny Cars, Top Fuel Dragsters, A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, 7.0 Pro and the other eight categories in competition. If it's wild, weird and wonderful, it's running at Bakersfield.

Nostalgia Fall Championships

Bakersfield, CA - October 15 - 16, 2011

A very low-key lead-in to the season-ending 20th annual Hot Rod Reunion, this event was originally scheduled to be run earlier in the year at Fontana Raceway. Politics, cranky neighbours and onerous noise restrictions put paid to that idea, so Famoso Raceway stepped up and took on the race. While it was pretty much a secret to race fans, the racers showed up in substantial numbers (over 230 cars in total) and staged just a week before the Reunion, a strong contingent of nitro funny cars and a fuel dragster came out to test and tune. Great, almost too great, weather and sunny skies combined to produce a good, but largely ignored show. However, we were there and we've got the photographic proof.

Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society

Vancouver, BC - October 9, 2011

The 11th annual induction ceremony for pioneers and supporters of motorsport in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia is a fitting way to end the local motorsport season. Over the years 180 racers, hot rodders, builders, customizers and others associated with motorsport have been brought into the society. This year's event held a special personal significance as my drag racing mentor and friend, the late Bill Phillips, was finally recognized for the incredible competitive spirit, innovation and dedication that he brought to the sport of drag racing in the 30-something he was involved with it. It was a great afternoon spent bench racing and catching up with many racers, past and present, and getting a chance to see just who has shaped and brought motorsport forward in this area. A real bonus was the virtual car show in the parking lot.

Smoke Fire and Thunder

Mission, BC - August 27 - 28, 2011

The last major event of the drag racing season at Mission Raceway, the annual "Smoke, Fire & Thunder" show features a grab-bag of cars, led by the Jets - both Funny Car and Dragster configurations, the very popular Northwest BB/Funny Car Association, and the Canada West Doorslammer Association. Throw in a couple of wheelstanders and a group of crazy motorcycle stunt riders for good measure, season it with the regular Pro. Super Pro, Combo eliminators and the newly formed Bad Dog Shootout group, featuring Outlaw 10.5 and Pro Street cars, and you've got the makings of a great way to end the feature season at Mission.

Seattle, WA - August 5 - 7, 2011

It's the 24th annual edition of this venerable event, superseding the original FallNationals and the one-off Autumn Nationals, but the racers and fans still flock to the forests south of Seattle for this annual homage to the nitro gods. The track itself still hasn't progressed very far from its origins some 50 years ago, but one of these days we'll see what the Fiorito family has in store for what should be the finest facility in the Pacific Northwest. In the interim, let's just dig the sounds and smells of serious horsepower reverberating through the trees and shaking the ground at the Northwest Nationals.

Canadian National Open poster

Mission, BC - July 22 - 24, 2011

NITROFEST! returns to Mission Raceway at this year's Canadian National Open, with the feature attraction at this year's edition being the same three groups of floppers as last year: the Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars, the Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car Association cars and the Northwest BB/Funny Car association. Altogether, the plan is to have at least 32 funny cars in the pits and to round out the show, the track has added Nitro Harleys, Pro Street and Comp Eliminator to the mix, along with all the regular NHRA Sportsman categories. With much improved track lighting and two qualifying sessions scheduled on Saturday evening, it should even top last year's extravaganza.

Mopar IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals logo

Edmonton, AB - June 24 - 26, 2011

Despite the best efforts of mother nature to kill this event, it just seems to keep finding a way to get completed, year after year. The 2011 edition, the 9th annual, provided a different format, some great racing, and as always - expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather. The best we can say is that it didn't snow. And when the sun finally came out in force, the water trapped under the track surface appeared, causing the race to be finished at a shortened 1/8-th mile distance. Only in Edmonton.

Mission Raceway Park - Lordco BC Nationals

Mission, BC - May 27 - 29, 2011

This year's edition started out in it's usual "can we actually get this done?" mode, but after the Friday morning rain passed, the clouds dissipated and the sun came out, the event proceeded under decent conditions for the rest of the weekend. With low turnouts in many classes, especially the featured Top Alcohol categories, the race struggled to achieve the vibe that made it famous in previous years, but we still witnessed some awesome personal performances and some great racing, plus a very moving tribute to a racer that couldn't attend this year's Lordco BC Nationals.

IHRA Arizona Nitro Jam Nationals logo

Tucson, AZ - March 25 - 26, 2011

Venturing into the depths of the Southwestern desert for the first time ever, we traveled to Tuscon's Southwestern International Dragway and found a little gem of a track ten miles south of the city. Tucked away in amongst sagebrush and cactus and definitely looking like rattlesnake country, the track hosted an event that went off in front of a packed house two nights in a row, and produced some very good performances on a well-prepped racing surface. While the creature comforts weren't exactly 5-star, the racing was fun, the crowds loved it and the end result was some good entertainment.

Bakersfield March Meet logo

Bakersfield, CA - March 18 - 20, 2011

Our second trip to the mecca (and birthplace) of professional drag racing, Bakersfield's Famoso Raceway, was for this year's 53rd edition of one of the most famous races in drag racing history. While it's a very different vibe than the October Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso, the competition is fierce, but the camaraderie is still alive in the "Grove" and the racing is fast and furious. We did have some camera "issues" at this race, but enough shots turned out passably well to put together a photo gallery from the four days of the March Meet.

Stone Beach Cottage

Baja California Sur - October 18 - 25, 2010

And now for something completely different, as we venture totally off the beaten path - and almost off the path itself, to spend a very relaxing week as far removed from racing and North American culture as we can possibly get. No phone, no TV, no electricity, not even an exact address, or indoor plumbing, but a priceless view and beautiful, deserted beaches that just went on forever. Throw in 80 - 85 F (30 C) temps, barely a cloud in the sky and low humidity and you've got the perfect recipe for the "getting too close to winter" blues that come thundering in at this time of year. Check it out and see what I'm raving about.

California Hot Rod Reunion logo

Bakersfield, CA - October 15 - 17, 2010

Welcome to the mecca of nostalgia drag racing. The place, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, where professional drag racing really started, more than 50 years ago. Join me as I experience the California Hot Rod Reunion for the first time and capture some of the sights and stories of an event that's far more than just a drag race. It's truly a reunion of racers, fans and race cars, a car show, a swap meet, and some great drag racing with cars that you just never see at the NHRA "Big Show" events.

IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals logo

Edmonton, AB - June 25 - 27, 2010

Time to head out on the highway, looking for adventure.... hold on, this isn't turning into some cheesy Steppenwolf rip-off, is it? Well, we'll just have to deal with whatever comes our way... damn it, stop the music, let's start over. Okay, we're off on a roadtrip to Edmonton's 9th annual IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals, this time in the guise of a Nitro Jam, and presented by the River Cree Casino. It's always a good time at Castrol Raceway and this year will be no exception. Weather permitting, as always, of course. Join us and see what happens.

IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals logo

Edmonton, AB - July 4 - 6, 2008

Time to head out on the highway, looking for adventure.... hold on, this isn't turning into some cheesy Steppenwolf rip-off, is it? Well, we'll just have to deal with whatever comes our way... damn it, stop the music, let's start over. Okay, we're off on a roadtrip to Edmonton's 9th annual IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals, this time in the guise of a Nitro Jam, and presented by the River Cree Casino. It's always a good time at Castrol Raceway and this year will be no exception. Weather permitting, as always, of course. Join us and see what happens.

Edmonton, AB - June 23 - 26, 2005

We couldn't find an actual event logo for this race, but we did find a good shot that highlights the IHRA's major sponsor, Hooters, with two of their representatives trying to back up a race car after the burnout. With both girls indicating different directions, I'm wondering if the poor guy ever found the groove. But we certainly found our groove as our first visit to the Alberta capital showed us a completely different set of competitors than can be founda at the Brand "N" races.