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FNL = Frank’s Nitro Lounge. Pretty much sums it up for me.
The 2009 March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway outside of Bakersfield California offered up a true taste of time traveling. The stands were packed, the midway was full, the swap meet was jammed, the pits were chock-a-block with vintage dragsters and doorslammers and the staging lanes had the most glorious collection of 70’s style floppers I have ever seen. It looked like my box of Johnny Lightning replicas had flown the coop and gone life size! This was not one of those, “close your eyes and imagine” moments…this was the real deal and if it was not for the presence of cell phones and some fashion updates it really could have been 1973.
If this recreation of 70’s floppers is merely a trend then I will be sorely disappointed. These nostalgia funnies are beautiful to look at and are truly outrageous to watch run. The match-ups were every race junky’s dream: Mike Halstead in a ’69 Daytona vs. Craig Michael in a ’72 Satellite, Dennis La Charite in a ’69 GTO vs. Mendy fry in a ’73 Duster, Jack Wright in a ‘70 Challenger vs. Bob Godfrey in a ’69 Camaro…and these were just the consolation rounds! The fast ones that made the bump were running in the 5’s and the winner of nostalgia funny car, Bucky Austin, ran a 5.723 at 246.77mph in his ’79 Plymouth Arrow funny.
For Mopar fans, this is a great race and show. Our trusty old marque pops up in the ranks of racers and on the showfield too. I’d like to thank the entire Auto Club Famoso organization from the top down for putting on a great show and keeping this historic dragstrip alive. Special thanks to Bill Groak and his crew for the terrific press hospitality…and finally, a shout out to the Renteria’s and Sean Renteria for taking top speed in AA/Gas Supercharged in a ’65 Valiant at 212.01 and winning the class with an ET of 6.772 at 209.20 mph. Enjoy the pics!!!!