2006 California Hot Rod Reunion – Bakersfield, Ca
As the weekend trip started to Bakersfield, Ca. late Thursday night to attend and participate in the 2006 California Hot Rod Reunion we were so excited. It had been a few months since the last time we raced our cars and everyone on our crew was anxious to get the cars down the track again.
We arrived at the track very late due to not being as prepared as we thought we were. As we pulled up to the track, we were told we could show up anytime during the night, they turned us away because to many people showed up late at night and they were under staffed. So, as tired as we were, we drove a half-an-hour back to our hotel to sleep for another few hours before they said we could come back and they would let us in the gate so we could set up our stuff. As we awoke from a 3 hour sleep, got back into the truck and preceded back to the track, we were still not let in. The people working the gate were not all on the same page, so we sat in our trucks sleeping until they called for us to enter.
As more and more people were showing up and entering, they finally let us in. As we drove in the complex, everyone was quickly awakened by the anticipation of what lye ahead of us all. We pulled into our spot, unloaded the cars and headed off for the cars tech inspection.
Okay, we’re ready to race now! Hurry up and get the cars prepped and run around doing things to the car like a chicken with its head cut off so by the time we’re all done rushing around we can sit there for a few hours and WAIT! It’s funny how things are some times but, that’s racing.
They called our class over the loud speaker and now everyone gets serious because everyone on the crew has a job to do. We get the cars up to the staging lanes where the officials tell you which lane your class is supposed to line up in so you will get your run down the track. Now in the proper lane the drivers put their helmet, gloves and get strapped in tight to the car. As we make our way up to the front of the line my brothers Scott runs around to each car making sure the tire pressure is correct. Okay, here we go.
It’s our turn now. I spin the motor over to get oil pressure and then stop. Now it’s time to fire the motor. As I spin the mighty 377 cubic inch Small Block Chevrolet over, it come to life when my brother Scott feeds the motor with fuel. As the engine belches for air and mixes with the fuel, the motor cackles and thumps to life. As I pull the 114 inch wheelbase Fiat Altered into the water box to do my burnout I take a breath. Barely cracking the throttle open the car jumps up on the rear tires spinning and smoking like the car is over powered and out of control. The tires are now hot and sticky and I prepare to stage the car and launch off the starting line. I creep into the staging beams which light up a pre-stage light bulb and then a stage light bulb that lets me know that I’m ready for take off.
The light goes yellow and my foot mashes to the ground and as I mash down on the throttle the light turns green. The car takes off like a ferocious beast as I try and point the car in the right direction as the motor screams I shift into second gear throwing me back harder into my seat. The car is making good traction as I pass the half way mark I rest my hand on the parachute lever and release the parachute at around 1000 foot mark. As I roar through the finish line on the top end of the track, I feel the parachute catch the air and tugs at the car. I let off on the throttle and prepare to stop I pull the fuel shut-off and grab the brake handle. As I slow down, the track official guides me to a safe spot off the track to park the car and get out. I get the car stopped and literally all you can hear is the sound of your breath and your heartbeat with your ears, its amazing. As I unbuckle my seatbelts and jump out of the car I turn the master kill switch off in the back of the car and await my fathers arrival in the dragster that was in the race right after mine. I take off my helmet and gloves and walk over and talk to the official on the side of the track. As we looked down the track I focused on my fathers car.
They’re off and I can hear the motors come to life. I can see from the top end of the track that my Dad pulled ahead of his opponent as he won his race. The dragster sounds so much different from the top end of the track. You can’t hear anything except for the engine of the car. No announcer, no crowd and no other cars…just yours. As my father took off the starting line you can hear the rpm’s pull first gear and then shift and wind out second gear the pitch of the motor is hauling butt. My dad pulls the car off the track safety and he gets out of the car with a huge smile from ear-to-ear. The cool thing about being down track already is that I get to greet my dad and congratulate him on his victory.
As the rest of the crew pulls up on their golf carts to bring the cars back to camp, everyone is excited, laughing and having a great time. We get the cars ready to leave and we’re off back to the pit area to do some minor maintenance on the cars and relax and wait for the officials to call us back up to the staging lanes again.
That’s only the excitement of one run with each of our cars from my point-of-view. If you would like to see some photos of this fun filled weekend you can view them at Spence Family Racing
Spence Family Racing