It began with a glorious Thursday evening parade of 150 colorful rods and muscle cars cruising through historic Bowling Green, KY., and ended on a blue-sky Sunday at Beech Bend Raceway Park with a young top fueler hoisting a trophy triumphantly. In between, the 2nd Annual Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, presented by DuPont Automotive Finishes, brought joy, nostalgia and good old family fun to the tens of thousands of folks who attended.
Based on the wildly successful NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion - now in its 13th year in Bakersfield - the National Reunion struck a major chord during itís inaugural run last year. The positive buzz resonated the entire year, and the showís producers, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA., had a strong feeling the second National event would surpass the first. They were right... and then some.
According to Sam Jackson, executive director of the Parks Motorsports Museum, the National Reunion was bigger and better in all areas. And the talk and planning for next yearís event, set for June 17-19, 2005, has already begun.
Hereís a brief recap of the highlights of the 2004 Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, presented by DuPont Automotive Finishes: A nice crowd watched on Thursday, June 17th, as Bowling Green Mayor Sandy Jones and Gary West, director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitorís Bureau, kicked things off with Reunion Event Director Bob Daniels at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the parking lot of the convention center at the Holiday Inn University Plaza. Mayor Jones and West also judged the 150 hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and classics that were part of the early bird cruise night festivities that went from the convention center through historic downtown to party-time at Beech Bend Park. Then the Reunion officially opened at Beech Bend on Friday, June 18th.... and the crowds poured in. Roddiní and raciní at the track, then a grand nighttime awards reception capped a perfect Reunion day. On Saturday, June 19th, hard to top Friday, but day two was just as good. With the mix of rods and vintage dragsters, along with Linda Vaughn on the Hurst Shifter car, ďBig DaddyĒ Don Garlits in the Swamp Rat, a concert by the Diamonds and the fabled ďCacklefestĒ, it seemed like everyone was transported back in time and about 35 years. And everyone went along for the ride because thatís what makes the Reunion so special and for many, sentimental. Thatís especially true during the Cacklefest, the Reunionís ultimate blast-from-the-past event. For the uninitiated, Cacklefest is where vintage dragsters return to the track for a special run. Since some of the cars havenít been seen in 30 or more years, the memories they evoke are priceless. This year, 23 dragsters, some push started, went down Beech Bendís strip, and then parked with engines still on, still bellowing flames, still cackling. How fitting to have Linda Vaughn lead the charge in the Hurst car and Garlits finish the hit parade in the famous Swamp Rat dragster. Thatís a crowd-pleaser in any decade, and always will be. And on Fatherís Day Sunday, June 20th, they raced. Before the drag racing action took center stage, the SoffSeal Show ĎN Shine winners, who were announced before the Diamondsí concert the night before, not only received their awards, but they got to blast down Beech Bendís legendary strip. Now itís time to starting viewing the pics!!! Enjoy.... Bill!!!