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The latest update as of October 24, 2018

California Hot Rod Reunion - first fotos

Yes, we know the 27th annual California Hot Rod Reunion ended early Sunday evening but it's taken a while for Bob Snyder to go through the mountain (okay, a couple of high-capacity memory cards) of photos and send along a few teasers to start the ball rolling. We're expecting quite a few more great shots from Bakersfield to come in over the next few days. Looks like it's going to be another busy week at Northern Thunder.

What better way to start our report(s) from the Reunion than by highlighting the winners. Check 'em out and don't forget to click on the "thumbnails" to see the larger images lurking in the background. More tomorrow, with any luck!

Brian Hope - 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA

Coming all the way from Tennessee to California, Brian Hope in the tribute to Rich Guasco "Pure Hell" outlasted a ten-car field of the crowd pleasing AA/Fuel Altereds. Qualifying was a strange affair as the fuel altereds couldn't find much grip during their sessions, with top dog David Giles running only a 6.64 against the 6.00 index. Hope started from the #3 slot, with a slightly less than stellar 7.02 clocking.

Eliminations were difficult to decipher from this distance (1500 miles away in Victoria, BC), and we haven't had the time to go through the video feed that Competition Plus so graciously provided over the weekend to figure out what happened, but we do know that Hope laid down a very solid 6.23 - 213.57 in the 9-car (one no show) first round, the took a NTR (no time recorded) bye in the 4-car second round, before taking out veteran Rodney Flournoy (from the "burn it to the ground" days of nitro flopper racing in the 70's and early 80's). That final match wasn't close as Hope's 6.45 - 203.55 train-lengthed Flournoy's 8.86 e.t.

Roger Holder - Pro Mod

Bakersfield's own Roger Holder in his 2017 Camaro came into Pro Mod eliminations as a definite underdog, starting from the #11 qualifying position (5.970 - 253.56), but steadily advanced through the field on Sunday, taking out #6 Rick Snavely in the first round (5.96 to a fading 6.42). He followed that up with a consistent 5.94 pass that erased #14 Rob Cacioppo in the quarter-final round, then advanced to the finals when #2 qualifier Jeremy Hanger could only muster a 10-second clocking against Holder's 5.95 effort. The final match was definitely a weird one as Holder put a HOLESHOT on low qualifier Ed Thornton (.107 to a .558 !) then outlasted him by an 8.133 - 123.37 to 9.135 - 101.79 margin for the victory.

Drew Austin - Pro-Max A/FD

Despite it being a thin field in terms of car count, the competition was fierce in the A/Fuel Dragster category. Rising star Drew Austin in the Austin-family "Pro Max" entry, took the top spot on the ladder with a very strong 5.850 - 232.83, then followed it with a first-round bye (only 9-cars), clocking low e.t. of the round with an excellent 5.972 - 232.95 pass.

He backed up that time with an almost identical 5.976 - 231.95 to cruise into the three-car semi-final. At least it was planned to be, but perennial contender (and multi-time champion) Kin Bates was a no-show, which left Austin, and his final round opponent Wayne Ramay with bye runs, which saw them both stage, then shut off on the line. The final round saw one of the few close matchups of the day as Ramay left first (.026 to .080), but Austin powered down track to a winning 5.862 - 233.88 time over Ramay's very game 6.05 - 225.63 effort.

Scott White - AA/GS

Coming out of the #6 spot (6.94 - 203.37) on the 8-car AA/Gas Supercharged ladder, Seaside, Oregon's Scott White in his gorgeous green '41 Willys, picked up a ton in his first round race to easily defeat Mike Oconnor's 7.07 - 170.99 with a much improved 6.439 - 210.05 clocking. Only five of the eight qualifiers managed to make the call for that round and White took advantage of that fact with a bye into the finals, at a consistent 6.43 - 212.63. He took out Gary Reinero in that final round by a 6.44 - 214.69 to 6.701 - 211.93 margin for the event title.

Mendy Fry - High Speed Motorsports AA/FD

Taking all the marbles off the table was Mendy Fry in the "High Speed Motorports" AA/Fuel Dragster, as she had the season championship wrapped up before qualifying began. Then the beat kept going as she qualified in the #1 position (5.592 - 239.14), before marching through the field with two even quicker passes before "slowing" to a 5.610 - 2569.36 in her final round match against the "Circuit Breaker" of worthy challenger Rick McGee who made it close with a quicker leave (.036 to .103) but a slower e.t as his 5.749 - 256.50 fell about two car lengths short of Fry as they blasted through the traps.

Jason Rupert - Rupert & Littlefield - Rolling Thunder AA/FC

Dominating the event to finish his NHRA Heritage Series season on a strong note, Jason Rupert in the Brad Littlefield-tuned Rupert & Littlefield "Rolling Thunder" AA/Funny Car, entry steamrollered the competition with a series of 5.60 passes for the event win. The team started eliminations from the #6 position, with a pretty good 5.733 - 251.77 timeslip, but really turned up the wick in the first round with a 5.63 pass at only 232.79 to obliterate Tony Jurado's decent 5.82 - 246.57 run.