The 2020 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series kicks off March 5-8 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., with the prestigious the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet, a historic event that traces its roots back to the earliest history of the sport.
The series, which features thrilling racing action, highlighted by the crowd-pleasing, nitro-burning Nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters and Nostalgia Funny Cars, covers nine events across the country, including the National Hot Rod Reunion will be held at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky., in June and the season-ending California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in late October.
The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series, developed in 2008 to help preserve NHRA’s rich history and tradition while providing racing opportunities for enthusiasts who enjoy nostalgia drag racing competition, includes two nitro categories — Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster and Nostalgia Funny Car — and two groups of additional classes. Group 1 includes A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, and 7.0 Eliminator, while Group 2 includes Nostalgia Eliminator l, Nostalgia Eliminator ll, Nostalgia Eliminator lll, A/Gas, B/Gas, C/Gas, D/Gas, and Hot Rod Eliminator.
Reigning Top Fuel champion Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports Top Fuel team, still reeling from the passing last year of team owner Tom Shelar, will not be at the March Meet to begin their title defense, leaving the battle for supremacy to drivers like championship runner-up, Adam Sorokin, nitro veteran Jim Murphy, Bret Williamson, and Tyler Hilton. The High Speed team could return later in the season, but those plans are unclear right now.
Bobby Cottrell, who won the Nostalgia Funny Car crown last year, will have his hands full again with the likes of Jeff Arend, Dan Horan, Ryan Hodgson, and Kris Krabill.
Drew Austin, son of four-time NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Pat Austin, will be back to defend his A/Fuel crown against the likes of Kin Bates, Wayne Ramay, Dennis Allen, and Rick Ewens while Brad Woodard will battle recent International Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee Don Enriquez, Alan Hull, Matt Baldonado, and Tim Beeman in Jr. Fuel.
Other defending champions entering the season are Steve Faller (7.0 Pro), Dave Lawson (Nostalgia Eliminator 1), Eddie Lucas (Nostalgia Eliminator 2), Don Morris (Nostalgia Eliminator 3), Casey Treuer (A/Gas), Neal Westbrook (B/Gas) Mike Rabener (C/Gas), Bill Norton (D/Gas), and Henry Roberson (Hot Rod).
The Series continues April 4 at Sacramento Raceway’s Funny Car Fever event (Groups 1 and 2) followed by Firebird Raceway’s Ignitor Funny Car Opener in Boise, Idaho, May 1-3, an event strictly for the Funny Car class.
Auto Club Dragway at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., will host Jr. Fuel, 7.0 Eliminator, and Group 2 May 15-17 while Groups 1 and 2 will be back in action in Sacramento for the Nite of Fire June 6.
Top Fuelers and Funny Cars return to the stage June 18-20 at the National Hot Rod Reunion and then head back to Firebird Raceway for the famed Nightfire Nationals, Aug. 7-9.
Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park will host the Nostalgia Nitro National, Sept. 18-19m with Top Fuel, Funny Car, and A/Fuel entries and the season will conclude, as always, at the California Hot Rod Reunion Oct. 23-25 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, where champions will be crowned in all classes.
It all kicks off the first week of March at the famed racetrack outside of Bakersfield. March Meet qualifying starts Thursday, March 5 at 9 a.m. for Groups 1 and 2. Top Fuel and Funny Cars are allowed to test beginning at 3 p.m. and will have their first official qualifying passes Friday, starting at noon. Qualifying and the opening rounds of some eliminations launch Saturday with the completion of eliminations scheduled to kick off a 9 a.m. (11:45 a.m. for nitro cars). Wheelstanders and jet cars will make exhibition passes on both Friday and Saturday.