Bakersfield, What a long strange trip its been!
March 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment
The words to a Jimmy Buffet song goes something like this, I took off for a weekend last month, just to try and recall the whole year. Well that was me 2 weeks ago, however I was trying to recall the last 41 years. See, Auto Imagery was born at the March Meet on March 2nd 1979, and to steal another line from a song, What a long, strange trip it's been. Thank you Grateful Dead.
So I needed to return to my roots, regenerate so to speak. Try and remember the fire in me that wanted Drag Racing in my life.
So I packed up some clothes, a toothbrush and a sleeping bag and headed to McFarland CA, home of the infamous March Meet. No assignment, no bosses, no itinerary. Just hang with the spectators, enjoy some adult beverages and see what happens.
Great crowds show up for the March Meet. These are diehard fans. While not a Big Show crowd by any means, however they bring Big Show passion.
Home for a week, they decorate and style their campsites to fit their passions.
As another musical group once sang. It's a family affair. The kids, the grand parents, the strollers and the rest. All there because the love drag racing.
Lil Nate Fuel Altered driven by Nate Bugg. A second generation drag racer following after Big Nate. I've photographed the Bugg family for over 40 years.
Here is Lil Nate's dad, running the original Bugsy Fiat Altered at OCIR in 1978. I told you I had been photographing them for awhile.
Rodney Flournoy now drives an AA/FA. Godzilla is its name and it is a beast. Long Live Fuel Altereds. and if you are looking for a license plate frame that says just that. Contact Dave Kommel.
1979 Rodney Flournoy tried his hand at running a wheelstander. Maybe not intentionally, however the result was the same.
Bonfires and socializing, that's it in a nutshell. Common people with a common passion. Drag Racing.
Long time friends Kami and Tom Priest, on the right, are regulars at both the March Meet and CHRR in the Fall. Red Solo Cup, I fill you up. There's those songs again.
They pack up the kids, the dogs, their flags and their booze and head to The Patch, as it's fondly called. They come from England, Martin and Judy, from Europe, Canada and all points in the US. It's like a migration of sorts. The March Meet. Almost as old as drag racing. And they PARTY!!!
Jim Holtz now a days pilots a AA/FA aptly named Troublemaker. Jim has driven many different cars over the years, however I suspect this is a handful.
Orange County International Raceways own Jim Holtz driving his Rat-ical Roadster in Bracket 1. He has come a long way since this 1973 photo. Note the shoe polish lettering job.
Barb BQ brisket cooked out in the open. The smell alone is enough to get that wallet open
Kettle Corn, a staple at these kind of events. Soul food of sorts.
Food and flavors from across the world. Have some chow mein , Oh, but you must get some spring rolls.
The isle down through the car show and display can get pretty crowded. Don't be in a hurry, stop and smell the Nitro.
Does drag racing get any better than this? Altered vs. Dragster, puffy white clouds, our flag blowing in the breeze. How can you not re-energize the soul when you see this. Far Lane Jeff Follin in the Altered, NE3 over Lindsay Lister in Rd 1
Ryan Hodgson defeated Billy Morris in Rd 2 of Nostalgia Funny Car. Billy Morris qualified the Problem Child FC with a fine 5.55 to grab the number 2 position. Iconic racing scene right there.
Some really cool rat rods come up here to display over on the car show side.
Matt Bynum, a car chief on Alexis's Big Show Funny Car, drove the Matthews Nostalgia Funny Car to the winners circle this year. Matt running career best numbers. Congratulations Matt .
A life long dream, A Bucket List item. Needs versus wants. Ron Capps got his wish. Since childhood, when Betty and John would take their sons to Bakersfield, Ron has wanted to take home a March Meet trophy. This year, driving the Good Times Fuel Altered, it happened. Congratulations Ron Capps.
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