Annual March Meet kicks off 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series

Thursday, March 04, 2010


It’s March Meet time, and that means one thing: Racing. The world-famous 52-year-old drag race, now the season opener of the nine-race NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series, continues its historic run March 5-7 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, Calif. Five hundred cars from around the globe, the country, the state, and Kern County are set to compete in 14 classes during the festival of speed.

“For fans and racers, the March Meet is all about drag racing and always has been,” said Blake Bowser, vice president and general manager of the Kern County Racing Association, operator of Auto Club Famoso Raceway and producer of the March Meet. “This year, we again have a full field, and all the top racers in nostalgia drag racing will be here. It’s going to be a great show – don’t miss it.”

The Nostalgia Funny Car field has 32 entries, making it the largest field since 1980, and NHRA Funny Car legend and 14-time world champion John Force is the event’s grand marshal.

“It’s a real blast from the past for nostalgia drag racing fans,” said Bowser. “Fans love the wild looks and sounds of these famous, colorful Nostalgia Funny Cars from the 1960s and ’70s. The fact that this year’s March Meet will have the largest field of Nostalgia Funny Cars in 30 years is incredible.”

Among the stellar field of Nostalgia Funny Cars is one that teams two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon, multi-time NHRA championship runner-up Ron Capps, and 10-time NHRA Division 6 champion Bucky Austin. Pedregon, the 2009 March Meet grand marshal, will drive a replica of the Joe Pisano ’78 Plymouth Arrow Funny Car. Capps will drive a Plymouth Arrow Nostalgia Funny Car owned by Steve Plueger.  Austin, who won Nostalgia Funny Car titles at the 2008 and 2009 March Meets, will be the crew chief this time.

Other notable Nostalgia Funny Car entrants include 2009 Hot Rod Reunion champion Kris Krabil; Troy Green, who has jumped from Nostalgia Top Fuel and is tuning the Bomb Squad with stand-in driver Chris Bennett; Mendy Fry, who will be in Gary Messenger’s Future Flash; Mark Sanders driving the Mr. Explosive car; and Ed Dougan in the Fighting Irish car.

Others drivers include Mike Halstead, Jim Adolph, Nathan Bugg, Bob Godfrey, Dan Horan Jr., Dale Van Gundy, Roger Garten, and Craig Michael. Newcomers include Paul Romine and Jason Rupert.

Competition is going to be tough in all categories, especially Nostalgia Top Fuel. A field of 20 to 26 drivers will by vying for the title, including local favorite Brad Thompson in his new ride from Highspeed Motorsports.

Thompson, runner-up at the 2008 March Meet, will face a top-notch field that includes four-time March Meet winner Jim Murphy; Rick White; RB Entertainment/Champion Speed Shop driver Adam Sorokin; Mr. Boston with Tom Steed; Nitrodiction with Howard Haight, Bob Bradley, and Lincoln Hassel; and Running Wild with Brendan Murry.

Though Nostalgia Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car are the big draws, the lure of competing in any class at the March Meet brings racers from everywhere. “What a field of cars and competitors,” said Bowser. “All I can say is ‘Let’s race.’ ”

Called the jewel of nostalgia racing, the March Meet includes a hot rod car show, swap meet, and vendors’ midway.

Fans can purchase a Super 3-Day Pass for $75 online at and pick it up at the track the week of the event. There are no service charges for tickets purchased online.

Individual day tickets for the event went on sale March 1 and will be available only at the track. Ticket prices are $25 for Friday, March 5; $30 for Saturday, March 6; and $30 for Sunday, March 7.

Auto Club members will receive a $2 discount for daily admission tickets by showing their cards when they purchase tickets at the track. Daily tickets for children ages 7 to 12 are $10, and kids 6 and younger will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult with paid admission.


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