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2015 Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion

By: Words by Blane Burnett | Photos by Josh Creek, Alex Healey, & the author06/25/2015 < Back to Blog Home
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A little rain wasn't enough to keep hot rodders, nostalgic drag racers, and enthusiasts around the nation from making their way to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the 13th annual Holley NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. The event kicked off this past weekend at historic Beech Bend Raceway, a facility famous for its covered bleachers and abundant tree cover.

Each year the Reunion returns to Bowling Green and the streets fill up with staggering examples of hot rods, trucks, muscle cars, and street legal race cars from decades past. It truly is a sight to see all of the hot rods and their owners who have embraced the hot rod lifestyle. Their visit each year keeps these cars alive in our minds and continues to inspire younger generations to get off the XBOX and into the garage with their dads!

As a Holley employee it is impossible not to feel an oncoming sense of pride to see your products at work in the engine bays of so many vehicles in one place. Numerous cars from Willy's to Gasser Novas sporting Holley carburetors resting atop Weiand tunnel ram intakes or superchargers are a common site to see at such an event. Those same cars roll by during the event idling their choppy cammed up engines and emitting their spent exhaust gases through extravagant Hooker fender-well headers. Music to the ears! Checking out the pits offers up a rare look at some of the restored and renowned drag cars of old and suddenly you realize you've taken a trip back in time to the good 'ol days.

Hot Rod Reunion is comprised of four main events: a large show-n-shine car show, a swap meet, numerous nostalgic drag racing classes, followed by a large Cacklefest.

Nowadays a lot of manufacturers are producing cars designed simply to get their owners from point A to point B. That very well might be what consumers are asking for these days, but it leaves me wondering where all the personality and flair that engineers and designers used to infuse into vehicles has gone. Taking a weekend to kick around Hot Rod Reunion takes you back and shows you a time when a soul seemingly belonged to each car. We enjoyed making our way through the venue and documenting the event through through our camera lens. For this blog post we've selected several of the images we thought best represent what Hot Rod Reunion is all about.

Here's one builder's take on what a moonshiner's truck ought to look like. A regular still-on-wheels if you will.





"The Burnt Marshmallow" Nova, seen here in proper Gasser style, boasted a set of dual Holleys on a tunnel ram, and a set of Hooker headers to boot.









You can't pass up a well done ratrod at the Reunion. It's amazing to see how much individuality these cars glean from their builders. While some of our readers might think these guys need to keep up to date on their Tetanus shots, they'd be glad to tell you they never worry about a dent or a smudge on their ride!







While a good majority of nostalgic front engine dragsters run mechanically fuel injected engines, it was nice to see the use of Holley components continue as we made our way through the pits. Check out this Weiand blown, Holley carbureted, LS powered dragster!



You can't go too far at Hot Rod Reunion without doing a double take or two. It isn't entirely uncommon to see a VW Bug from the appropriate era present at the Reunion, but this Bug demanded absolute attention. With its turbocharged VW engine pushing seven pounds of boost, the owner of this Bug was happy to share that he was using a Holley HP EFI system to handle fuel injection responsibilities!





It wasn't just the cars that were a blast from the past. Pedal bikes and motorized bicycles littered the venue and we had to stop and take a moment to appreciate the elegant designs of a couple parked aside one another.



The swap meet is a great area to search for that rare part that'll help complete your ongoing project. Rusty and Lee Martin from Morton, Mississippi traveled up to enjoy the festivities and offer up some of their desirable hot rod parts to the community, like this Y-block manifold with three Holley 94s/2100s on top.



These two were headed back to their camp after catching the big fish: a steering column for one of their project cars.



The entire atmosphere in the back was all smiles despite the humidity and mugginess brought on by the passing rain.



Wheels anyone? This swap meet vendor had them in spades!



While the rain interrupted this year's schedule here and there, Sunday evening turned out to be absolutely perfect as the drag class finals wound down and everyone remained in the stands to observe the sights, sounds, and nitro-fueled smells of the Cacklefest. One by one these nitromethane powered beasts were pushed down the runway until they were all cackling and spewing flames in front of the packed stands.











With the Cacklefest dying down the Holley Hot Rod Reunion drew to a close and the stoccato cackling of the supercharged nitro engines was all at once replaced by the sound of the audience's massive cheer for the drivers, their crews, and the push cars that made the Cacklefest a reality.

With that said, we're already looking forward to the 2016 Reunion. Make sure to mark your calendars for next year and bring out your hot rod and your family to share the weekend with us. In the off chance you weren't able to make it this year, feel free to click here for a link to our Facebook page for a much larger album of images from HRR.. Happy shifting!

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