BOWLING GREEN, K.Y. - The NHRA Motorsports Museum Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA came to a thrilling close on Saturday after three glorious days of honoring NHRA drag racing and reminiscing with past legends. Grandstands filled to capacity and fans three deep standing by the fences took in all the sights and sounds during the day.
Odie Coker continued his dominance of Junior Fuel in this series of event. He was the No. 1 qualifier going into eliminations on Saturday and was able to use that it his advantage. He made it to the finals where he defeated Ken Hawkins with a winning run of 7.236 seconds at 187.21 mph. His E.T. was his quickest of the weekend and he picked up his fourth NHRA Motorsports Museum Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA victory.
"It was unbelievable, I have to hand it to Ronnie Ussery [owner and crew chief] and the help we received this weekend, without those guys it's not possible," Coker said. "We had to change transmission and we fought through it and here we are. The competition is getting tougher every year and we have to step up. To be able to run at a place like Bowling Green, it is my favorite track in the world. It is so beautiful, the persona and it is just unbelievable."
In Nostalgia Top Fuel, it was Jim Murphy defeating the No. 1 qualifier Denver Schultz in a thrilling final. Murphy, from Santa Rosa, Calif., driving for team owner Frank Ousley posted a pass of 7.236 at 187.21 mph. The team hurt a motor during qualifying but the hard work of the team paid off for the veteran racer.
"It was great but we struggled over the weekend," Murphy said. "We mixed fuel like Frank had mixed it and we got a little sideways and was real rich the first two runs. We went back the way we normally mix it and we put it back where it was and we ran great."
In AA/Gas, Rocky Pirrone defeated Micky Hale; 7.0 Pro winner was Mike Smith who defeated Larry Harlan; Pat Freels defeated Ric Burdine in the 7.5 Pro final; Competition Eliminator was won by Tommy Cook who bested Don Nave; Adam Cline beat Sam Patrick to win Gas Eliminator; Modified Eliminator was Tim Smith over Kevin Thompson; Rees Smith won Nostalgia Super Stock over Tommy Sedlock; Top Stock Eliminator winner was Chad Mahlosky over Roy Dean; Terry Lindsey defeated Frank Douglas in Hot Rod Eliminator; and Bill Sworm defeated Al Chernik in Geezer Gassers. Full listing of results can be found on www.DragRaceCentral.com.
Winners of the Axalta Coatings Show 'n' Shine were honored following the racing with a special introduction to the crowd by legendary NHRA announcer Bob Frey and a pass down the track. The judges painstakingly judge the marvelous cars at the event and were able to find the best of the best.
Larry Hill in his 1961 Ford Starliner was best of show in Classic; Bob Ruby won best of show for Classic Chevy 1955-1957 in his 1956 Chevy Belair; best of show in Custom was Jason Graham in a 1941 Willys Coupe; best of show Hot Rod was Wendall Nash in his 1933 Ford Coupe; the Muscle Car best of show was taken by Morris & Linda Rattler for their 1971 Dodge Dart; The Best of Show Pro Street was the 1952 Chevy Belair John & Deborah O'Nan; Rat Rod best of show was taken by Jason Patterson in a 1949 Chevy Truck; Street Gasser best of show was won by Ray Thenot in a 1955 Chevy 210; Street Rod best of show was awarded to Greg Wilson in a 1934 Ford Woody; the best of show in trucks was Warren Kemp in a 1948 Chevy; the best of show in Memory Lane was Bob Perkins in his 1969 Ford Mustang; and the best of Open Class 1958-1963 was John Kutzlo in his 1963 Ford Falcon
The weekend came to a thrilling conclusion with the Crower Cams Cacklefest. The program featured dozens of cars running and revving their historic motors in unison with the engines cackling a tribute to all that attended the event.
"This will long be remembered as one of the finest NHRA Motorsports Museum Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA events at Bowling Green for a long time to come," Larry Fisher, executive director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California said. "The collection of automobiles, both show cars and race cars were unmatched in their styles and class. We enjoyed making new memories with our hotrod friends and can't wait to see everyone again next year."
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