The 2010 NHRR Hits High Ground

Six weeks after floods put Beech Bend Raceway completely under water, the 'Pure Hell' AA/FA smokes the slicks in preparation for an assault down the 1/4 mile.

Once again, over the traditional Father's Day weekend, yesteryear drag racing machines and hot rods invaded the Kentucky countryside. Only this year the event was held soon after a once in a century flood put vintage Beech Bend Raceway under so much water, that the top of the covered grandstands was just about the only thing still visible at the historic drag strip.

So hats off to the crew at Beech Bend for drying things out and putting the facility back into race worthy condition when the pressure was on high.

The racing was good and the memories of the old days were easily recalled when you looked across the drag racing pits and cast your eyes over the huge quantity of show cars that came to be a part of it all. Today's drag racing formula just doesn't quite work here. None of these racers has ever heard of a delay box, and making a 60 year old combo work is just as important as the latest trick of the week. Net result is we get to see a lot of cars race that usually stay away from the high-tech scene found at the modern day drags.

You'll see some of everything you haven't seen lately while you're here... slingshot dragsters, fuel altereds, funny cars that look like cars, factory super stockers, gassers... Willys, Austins, Anglias, Henry J's... Deuce coupes, lead sleds, straight axle 55 Chevys... from twin engine dragsters, to the entire Ford Drag Team that prowled the nations drag strips from 1962 through 1972. No question about it, you'll get an eyeful at the National Hot Rod Reunion.

And then there's the people. From the enthusiastic fans of the storied heritage of hot rodding, to many of the actual racers that made history on the quarter mile week after week during the sport's formative years. This year, you couldn't swing a greasy t-shirt without bumping into a drag racing legend. Names such as Chris Karamasines, Joe Jacono, Larry Reyes, Roland Leong, Don Garlits, T.C. Lemons, Preston Davis, Raymond Godman, Hubert Platt, Gas Ronda, 'Ohio' George Montgomery, Ken Hirata... phew!... you get the idea, a lot of people that made the sport of sprint something special are still making it something special. In fact, our own Larry Reyes was one of this year's honorees at the Friday night reception, and Larry & Roland Leong fired the fabled 'Hawaiian' funny car during Saturday nights Cacklefest. Too cool!

So if you've got a few minutes, feel free to visit the gallery of images showing just some of what I saw while in Bowling Green, and consider attending this summer time trip down memory lane next Father's Day. After all, every real drag fan needs to make a nostalgic scene like this now and then just to keep it all in perspective.