The 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance will feature legendary guests and machines from drag racing’s past for a three-day celebration of American hot rods, racing, and more June 13 - 15 at historic Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky. Leading the list of legends is Grand Marshal Randy Walls.
Walls will be recognized throughout the weekend for his decades-long involvement in NHRA drag racing. Also featured during the event will be Reunion Honorees Army Armstrong, Steve Earwood, Art Marshall, Richard Maskin and Paul Smith. Each will be celebrated for their contributions to the sport of drag racing and American hot rodding. The Grand Marshal and Honorees will also be recognized during a special Honoree Celebration at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on Friday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m. Admission to the celebration is free.
The NHRA Motorsports Museum’s Holley National Hot Rod Reunion is a three-day festival of speed celebrating the American hot rod and has become a destination for car culture lovers worldwide. Attended by many of the pioneers and legends of the sport of drag racing, the Reunion is also a destination for some of the finest hot rods in the country. Among the entries will be Pro Stock machines representing the likes of Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, Lee Sheppard, Bob Glidden, Ronnie Sox, Billy the Kid” Stepp, Jim” Party Time” Ruth and more. Dozens of old time Gassers and other classes of nostalgia race cars will compete on the track while many more street rods and classics, including this year’s winner of the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster title at the iconic Grand National Roadster Show in California, will cover the surrounding hillsides for the Axalta Show ‘N Shine.
Grand Marshal Walls was not only one of the country’s quickest Funny Car racers during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but he did it with genuine Chevy big block engines at a time when many bowtie teams were switching to the more powerful Chrysler Hemis. Walls returned to racing after he found his 1969 Nova in a barn loft in 1997 and his exhibition runs helped initiate the Nostalgia Funny Car craze in 2004. He was the series champion that year.
A longtime resident of Owensboro, Ky., Armstrong has been a radio and television announcer for decades. His folksy Southern drawl has made him a favorite of thousands of drag racing and hot rodding fans. Armstrong is currently preparing for an attempt to set a Bonneville world record with C/Fuel Ford ’34 Ford roadster powered by a nitro-burning injected Honda four-cylinder engine that is expected to produce speeds in the 217 to 225 mph range.
Earwood holds the distinction of having enjoyed tremendous success in motorsports public relations and racetrack operation/ownership. Earwood worked as the public relations director for NHRA in the 1970s and 1980s. He’s represented many iconic racers including Raymond Beadle, Kenny Bernstein and Rusty Wallace, among others. Earwood purchased Rockingham Dragway in 1992 and continues to operate it today.
Marshall has the distinction of being the last driver to earn a major title with a front-engine dragster with his victory at the 1972 Le Grandnational. He etched his name into the history books by defeating the likes of Clayton Harris, Carl Olson and then Jeb Allen to conquer the field. Marshall’s car is currently on display at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.
After enjoying a very productive career as a drag racer and engine builder, Maskin used those experiences to become one of the of the hot rod industry’s premiere aftermarket manufacturers. Maskin played an important role in several performance powerhouses in the Pro Stock category throughout the years including building engines for Jim Yates and Jeg Coughlin, who won NHRA titles in 1996 and 2000, respectively.
Smith is a self-taught racer who used his hard-earned skills to become a formidable competitor on the national event and match race scene and then shared his knowledge to help build the careers of many aspiring campaigners including Jeff Arend, Cristen Powell, Johnny Gray, Clay Millican, Phil Burkhart, Jon Capps and Blake Alexander.
The Holley National Hot Rod Reunion provides a unique opportunity to meet these and other notable individuals, hear stories of racing’s past and collect an autograph or even a selfie with one of your heroes while enjoying the sights and sounds of one of America’s national pastimes.
Tickets for the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance are on sale now to the general public. Tickets purchased before May 24th are $65 for a three-day pass or $25 for a single day. Children 15 and under are free with a paid adult. AAA members can save even more on this event by entering their first three digits of their membership card at checkout. Tickets can be purchased at www.NHRA.com/Reunion.