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The latest update as of October 24, 2022

30th annual California Hot Rod Reunion


Things didn't quite go to plan over the past weekend, as our hard-working photographer, "BIG" Bob Snyder was physically unable to handle the four-day celeberation of nostalgia racing at the famed Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield. The event has been a fixture on Bob's racing calendar for more than a decade, but with two NHRA "Big" shows coming up in the next three weeks, he had to take the week off.

Filling the void was a fellow Vancouver Islander, Dyan Lover, who travelled all the way to Bakersfield from her home in Port Alberni, BC. Nearly matching her for distance travelled to the race was Nostalgia Top Fuel racer, Phil Ruskowski, who brought his "Island Nitro" entry down from Victoria, BC for the second time this season. While Dyan had some good moments behind her lenses, Phil's never-say-die team was unable to get the small-block Chevy powered car into the show, with a best time of 6.892 - 174.10 mph.

We've got a bunch of photos to go through before we can post them, but we can report that Bobby Cottrell in Bucky Austin & Ed O'Brien's "Northwest Hitter" was crowned NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Nostalgia Funny Car for the FIFTH consecutive season. He dominated the class all year, winning the first four events of the season, and losing to breakage in the semifinals at the season finale. Congratulations to the entire team on another great season.

Bobby Cottrell-chutes out --- Bobby Cottrell - Bucky Austin winners circle

(LEFT) Bobby Cottrell slowing the "Northwest Hitter" with the 'chutes out in the shutdown area.

(RIGHT) Bucky Austin, Bobby Cottrell, Ed O'Brien, and the entire "Northwest Hitters" team in the winners circle, displaying their 2022 NHRA Hot Rod Hedritage Series championship banner. Five consecutive Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car championships for this team. Quite an accomplishment!

Bucky Austin (left) Bobby Cottrell (middle) Ed O'Brien (right) --- Heidi Austin (left) Bobby Cottrell (right)

(LEFT) Bucky Austin (left), Bobby Cottrell (middle), and Ed O'Brien (right) in the winners circle.

(RIGHT) Heidi Austin (left) and Bobby Cottrell (right) in the winners circle.

We've only got a few random shots - so far - from Sunday. Our photographer, Dyan Lover, is now in Las Vegas for this coming weekend's NHRA Nevada Nationals. She's probably having waaay too much fun enjoying the "pre-race activities" to send more photos right now. My advice to her is: DON'T put all your chips on black!

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' --- Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop'

Two views of Adam Sorokin in the small-block Chevy-powered "Champion Speed Shop" Nostalgia Top Fuel car at the end of his first round pass. The car ran very well to the 1000' ft. mark before grenading the engine, and burning deep into the shutdown area. Thanksfully, he emerged unscathed and the hard-working crew nearly got the spare engine installed for the semi-finals before running out of time.

Nathan Sitko - 'Bubble-Up-Pacemaker' (near lane) vs Billy Morris - 
'Problem Child' (far lane) --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child'

(LEFT) It looks like Nathan Sitko in the Edmonton, AB-based "Bubble-Up-Pacemaker" entry in the near lane is well ahead of Billy Morris in the Eddy Knox-tuned "Problem Child" car (far lane). However, appearances can be deceiving as Morris narrowly edged out Sitko in the second round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations. Despite losing, Sitko carded his career best e.t. of 5.653 on this run, after setting a career best speed of 251.16 in a first round win on Saturday evening. All this happened as he was asked to fill in for regular driver Ryan Hodgson after arriving at the event. Quite an experience for young Mr. Sitko.

(RIGHT) After qualifying in the #3 spot at 5.678 - 257.38, Billy Morris improved to a 5.664 in the first round of eliminations, then improved again to a 5.601 in eliminating Sitko. In the semi-finals he cranked out a very consistent 5.620 - 244.60 to eliminate the other Canadian driver in the field, Tim Boychuk to continue his charmed weekend.

--- Billy Morris --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (near lane) vs Tony Jurado - 'Capitol 
Punishment' (far lane)

(LEFT) Captured just before the car fired for the final, Billy Morris was excited and ready to run his second final round in a Nostalgia Funny Car.

(RIGHT) Burnouts completed, almost ready to run, Billy Morris patiently waited for last-second adjustments to the "Problem Child" by car owner-crew chief Eddie Knox (near lane) before racing Tony Jurado and the "Capitol Punishment" Funny Car. Everything was in his favour as Morris cranked out a new low e.t. of the meet at 5.589, at 251.49 mph for the win. Jurado gave it all he had in a losing cause, cranking out top speed of the meet at 262.18, coupled with a very good 5.662 e.t., but it wasn't quite enough to hold off Morris.