Honorees Named for
18th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Automobile
Club of Southern California
Auto Club Famoso Raceway
Hosts Oct. 16-18 Event
CA The 18th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion, presented
by Automobile Club of Southern California, is the place to relive
the good old days of drag racing as well as honor some of the
coolest nicknamed drivers and drag strip heroes, Oct. 16-18.
Honorees are Danny Broussard, Don Moody, Steve Reyes, Jet
Car Bob Smith and Walt Stevens. The Grand Marshal is stock
and Funny Car veteran of over 50 years Jess Tyree, better known
as "Mr. Pontiac."
Jess Tyree is a stock and Funny Car veteran of over fifty years
in the sport. Jess started drag racing in the early days of the
Santa Ana Drags with a variety of vehicles including a 38
Chevy. A few years later he raced a 57 Plymouth Fury, was
recognized for his ability and was asked to drive a new 57
Pontiac. From 1957-73 (except for a brief spell behind
the wheel of a Mickey Thompson Ford Thunderbolt) it was always
the GM brand earning Jess the nickname "Mr. Pontiac".
Through the early 60s, his A/Stock 62 Catalina and
A/FX 63 Tempest were at the top of West Coast competition.
He scored a big win with Super Stock class honors at the 62
Winternationals driving a Mickey Thompson Pontiac Catalina. He
went on to race a long series of Pontiac Funny Cars out of his
successful Tyree Headers shop in Orange County beginning with
the Tempest and moving on to glass bodied Firebirds. In
1969 he was one of the first to take a Funny Car to Australia,
and was a member of the Coca-Cola Funny Car Cavalcade of Stars
touring the country in 1969 and 70. After more than half
a century of drag racing, Jess is still out there match racing
and performing exhibitions around the country with the re-creation
of his 63 Tempest A/FXer.
was the first person to have Keith Black Racing Engines lettered
on his race car. His first strip-only race car was a 29
roadster pickup powered by an injected Buick. It appeared
in Hot Rod Magazine in 1960 and was followed shortly by a Willys
gasser. His first dragster was in partnership with Joel Purcell
in the early 60s. He then joined Stump Davis
and fellow honoree Don Moody when their Oldsmobile was replaced
with the blown-Chrysler from Doc Magans Golden Thing
drag boat. Next was an early Woody Gilmore chassis for the team
of Broussard, Purcell, Davis and Tom "the Mongoose"
McEwen. The Adams and McEwen Shark car was re-worked
by Kent Fuller into the Broussard, Garrison, Davis and Ongais
Mangler which raced successfully through the 65
World Finals in Tulsa. Shortly thereafter, Roland Leong asked
Danny to join the Hawaiian crew which he was part of for several
years including racing the 426 Hemi-powered "Hawaiian Two"
driven by Mike Sorokin.
Don Moody first
came to notoriety at the wheel of the Davis and Moody dragster
that won Top Eliminator honors at Lions Drag Strip an incredible
eight weeks in a row. In November 1962 Moody became the first to
run a seven second e.t. at Pomona. He moved on to the Fuller,
Zeuschel and Moody Top Fuel dragster until a serious crash at
Lions in August 1964 put a temporary halt to his driving career.
In the early 70s while working as general manager at Engle
Cams, he returned to the wheel running low 6s in the Cerny,
Lins and Moody dragster. At the 72 Supernationals at Ontario
driving the Walton, Cerny and Moody rear engine machine, he was
narrowly beaten into the 5-second bracket by Mike Snivelys
5.97, but won the event with a 5.91. During that season he went
from 6.37 with a 392 Chrysler to a 5.91 with a 426 in less than
a years time and won the $25,000 PRA Challenge in Tulsa.
He later left Engle and operated Traco Racing Engines until his
retirement and move to Thailand.
Steve Reyes went
from being a 15-yr-old fan with an 8mm movie camera to perhaps
the best known photographer in the history of drag racing. He
began his career at Fremont Drag Strip near his Oakland home.
In the beginning he sold prints to the racers, with an occasional
submission to Drag News. In 1965 he sent photos of the March
Meet to Drag Racing and Drag Strip magazines and his career was
off and running. In 1967 he became NHRAs Division 7 photographer
and in 1970 moved to Los Angeles. Promotional work for Revell
and Mattel led to a full time job with Argus Publishers in late
1973 where he did 70% of the cover photography and 85% of the
inside color. After twenty years he returned to freelancing.
The versatile Reyes branched out into shooting the National Hockey
League as he continued to supply material to numerous automotive
titles. He is now semi-retired living in Florida and has done
a series of popular books featuring some of his greatest images.
Bob" Smith began his drag racing career at the wheel of
the Masters and Richter Olds-powered gasser at Fremont Raceway.
He then moved on to Sid Watermans Chevy-powered gas dragster,
Tom Prufers Power King fuel dragster and back
to Watermans fuel car. He briefly drove a fuel dragster
for Romeo Palamides until Romeo asked him to drive his Untouchable
jet dragster. They toured the country for several years as one
of the most popular exhibition attractions in drag racing, match
racing fuel dragsters and other jets. Between bookings he continued
to be a journeyman driver, behind the wheel of as many as three
gas or fuel dragsters at one meet. Although he made hundreds
of flawless passes, a series of spectacular accidents left him
battered and broken. When asked why he got back in the jet after
a particularly nasty crash, he replied "To pay the hospital
bills for the last one!"
came out of that hot bed of drag racing talent on the west side
of L.A. that included stars like Leonard Harris, Mickey Brown,
Gene Adams and Craig Breedlove. In the mid-60s he was the
original driver of the Childs and Albert "Addict" fuel
dragster, shared driving chores on the experimental rear-engine
"Piranha" with Connie Swingle, and drove Dick Stahls
Hemi-Ford AA/FA roadster. In 1969-70 he drove Jack McClouds
"Poachers" Top Fuel car, one of the last successful
front engine fuelers. He switched to Top Gas and in the last
year of the category won the Winternationals driving Ken Theiss
Chevy and Chrysler-powered "Odd Couple" dragster. He
serves on the crew of the 2008 Heritage Series champion High
Speed Motorsports Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster driven by Troy
Green and enjoys taking the wheel of his former ride the "Poachers"
dragster for Cacklefest events.
The 18th annual
California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by the Automobile Club
of Southern California, Oct. 16-18 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway
in Bakersfield, Calif., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods
and American automotive enthusiasm. Its also the season
finale of the NHRAs Hot Rod Heritage nostalgia drag racing
Produced by the
Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile
Club of Southern California, and located in Pomona, Calif., the
Reunion is part of the museums "living history"
philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and
people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land
speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.
motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names
in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of
cool drag cars, street rods and customs of the historic and present-day
hot rod eras.
their credentials at least three weeks before the event receive
significant added value including a goodie bag, Reunion
program, commemorative dash plaque and a colorful and collectible
plastic souvenir credential. Three-day credentials ($55 each)
are available by calling 800/884-NHRA (6472) or by completing
a form found in the Reunion section of the Museums Website
(http://museum.nhra.com). Auto Club members receive a $5 discount
off Adult credential prices (limit of 4 credentials).
admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso
Raceway gate, (www.famosoraceway.com). Cost per person: Friday,
$20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15. Children 15 and under are free
when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available
at the gate: $2 off Friday and Saturday and, $1 off Sunday.
The Reunion features
a wide variety of activities and events, including:
* NHRA vintage
drag racing, featuring some the sports most famous and
historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Nostalgia
Top Fuel, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic
Super Stock, Hot Rods and others. Its the grand finale
of the NHRAs Hot Rod Heritage Series.
* Hundreds of gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, custom
cars, rat rods, classics and muscle cars. Memory Lane
will have a display of nostalgic race cars. The Justice Bros.
Spotlight Award will fall on the team of the Stone, Woods &
* California Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the DoubleTree
Hotel in Bakersfield, Fri., Oct. 16, from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Open
to everyone at no charge, its a tribute to Reunion Honorees
including Grand Marshal Jess Tyree. The reception offers a chance
for fans to meet some of drag racings heroes.
* Cacklefest on Saturday evening, where nitro-burning historic,
front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are
push started just like in the old days.
* The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with hot rod and automotive
related vendors. Something for everyone!
including a full activities schedule, entry forms and tickets,
is available through the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum
at http://museum.nhra.com or by sending a post card or note to
California Hot Rod Reunion, 1101 McKinley Ave., Bldg, 3A, Pomona,
Calif. 91768. Requests can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds of the
California Hot Rod Reunion benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum. Founded in 1998 and named for the founder of the National
Hot Rod Association, the Parks Museum, presented by Automobile
Club of Southern California houses the very roots of hot rodding.
Scores of famous vehicles spanning American motorsports history
are on display, including winning cars representing 50 years
of drag racing, dry lakes and salt-flat racers, oval track challengers
and exhibits describing their colorful backgrounds.
The Wally Parks
NHRA Motorsports Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10
a.m. to 5 p.m., PST. Current NHRA members are admitted free and
Auto Club members enjoy a $2 discount. Admission for non-members
is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older, $5 for juniors
six through 15, and free for children under the age of five.
The Museum is also available for special group tours. The Wally
Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at Fairplex Gate 1,
1101 W. McKinley Ave. in Pomona. For further information on special
exhibits, museum events or directions, call 909/622-2133 or visit