Vintage Drag Racing Action from March 2021 in Bakersfield, CA
Giant photo gallery of Gasser, Nitro Fuel Altereds, Top Fuel Dragsters, Funny Cars, and more.
For nostalgic drag racers and fans of vintage drag racing, the March meet at Famoso Raceway is a journey back in time. It’s like traveling 50 or 60 years back, when front-engined Top Fuel dragsters, Gassers, Fuel Altereds, and early Funny Cars first ripped through the quarter-mile drag track at the top. amid almond and orange trees north of Bakersfield, California. Or maybe it’s like you’re traveling a year back, to the previous March meeting. This year we felt like we traveled a few months back to March when this event always took place. This year’s March meeting, pushed back to the last weekend in May due to now familiar (and now relaxed) COVID restrictions was, as always, an incredible journey.
The history of the March Meet is a well-known chapter in the history of hot rods in California. When the Smoker’s Car Club hosted their first event in Bakersfield in 1959, they named it the American Fuel and Gasoline Championships. The highlight of that first race was the now famous Top Eliminator showdown between Southern California’s Art Chrisman and Don Garlits, whom the Smokers invited from Florida. Chrisman’s “Hustler” dragster successfully defended California’s honor against Garlits ‘”Swamp Rat”, but Garlits returned to Bakersfield each spring, dominating Top Eliminator in the early’ 60s.
The US Fuel and Gas Championships presented by the Smokers are now the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet presented by Lucas Oil. The races at the Famoso Raceway, now considered nostalgic, still offer the high level of competition as in 1959.
Accompanying photos for the March 2021 fixture include the action on the start line, anticipation of the staging lane, and some shots between laps from the pits. We also walked behind the stands where the show ‘n’ shine hot rods were on display (another favorite March Meet tradition) and included a bunch of these street rods in the second half of the photo gallery.
Check back soon for more race and show car coverage, as well as photos from the March Meet swap meeting.