2016 National Hot Rod Reunion photos by Chris and Tera Graves – MaxCacklephotos.com
The All American Fuel Dragster coalition is set for the second NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel battle of 2017 at the 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion June 15-17. Drivers and teams are navigating towards Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the always volatile mix of qualifying and 8-car eliminations that propels front-engine Top Fuel dragster tradition into the future one 5-second 250 MPH nitro-burning 1/4-mile at a time.
March Meet winner and current points leader Mendy Fry and the High-Speed Motorsports hemi-powered dragster are heading east of the Rockies along with fellow California-based top fuel contenders. Jim Murphy is on deck in the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 dragster and Dusty Green will connect with the Nitro Hemi. Adam Sorokin and the South San Francisco-based Champion Speed Shop team are loaded for a repeat performance of last year’s event win with their small block Chevrolet-powered rail.
“I think we’re going to the National Hot Rod Reunion this year more prepared than we ever have been in the past – but that place is unpredictable, so I think we’ll just have to race smart and be there to capitalize when the opportunities present themselves. We will come out of the box very aggressive”, said Sorokin.
After what could be described as a disappointing March Meet weekend in Bakersfield, three-time NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel champion Tony Bartone and the Bartone Bros. are headed south from Long Island City for battle with front-engine converts from all points. Wisconsin’s own Jason Greenwood and Jim Young are motoring out from the upper Midwest following a Memorial Day weekend run up at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin where Young set a Nostalgia Top Fuel track record with a 5.76 at 234 MPH blast.
Paul Schultz is carrying the Spirit of Tulsa with him from Oklahoma and Tim Cullinan is on the way from Illinois with his Nitro Nostalgia entry. Julius Hughes is ready to rumble as a top fuel representative of the oldest speed shop in the southeast in his Atlanta Speed Shop AA/FD dragster. Tyler Hilton and his Great Expectations III entry are testing in Memphis prior to the National Hot Rod Reunion where he and his family are event Honorees.
Tyler’s dad and crew chief Bobby Hilton’s dad John campaigned a big block Chevrolet Rodeck-powered top fuel dragster in the 70s, and Tyler runs a big block Chevrolet his Great Expectations III entry. “It should be pretty great time. We are planning on qualifying and trying to take some people down”, said Tyler. The drag racing Hilton Family will join fellow event Honorees Wayne Jesel, Randy Payne, Mark Williams, Della Woods and Grand Marshal Eileen Daniels.
2017 National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel action gets underway with session one qualifying on Thursday, June 15th at 3:00. Session two qualifying is scheduled for Friday, June 16th at high noon 12 PM with session three and final qualifying slated for Friday at 3 PM. Eliminations commence on Saturday at 1 PM. Be there! Nitromethane is unpredictable at best. Schedule subject to change.
Because more nitromethane is always better than less the AAFD front engine Top Fuel slingshot dragster coalition will be joined by nitro-huffing Funny Car and Fuel Altered cohorts at Bowling Green. Nitro burning will continue into Saturday night after racing action concludes as the trademark Cacklefest makes its way into the evening with a parade and presentation of nitromethane past.
The 15th Annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park June 15-17 is the second salvo in the 5-race battle for the 2017 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship. See the National Hot Rod Reunion page for spectator tickets, event schedule and more. The next race is Pepsi NightFire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho August 10-13. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming series race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.
TOP FUEL SCHEDULE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
THURSDAY, JUNE 15
Qualifying Session One 3 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 16
Qualifying Session Two 12 PM
Qualifying Final Session 3 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 17
Eliminations Round One 1 PM
Eliminations Round Two 3:30 PM