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Arend and Fry victorious at NHRA Holley National Hot Rod Reunion

The 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance came to an exciting conclusion Saturday as drag racing champions were crowned and winning cars in the Axalta Show 'N Shine car show were announced.
15 Jun 2019
Posted by NHRA.com staff
News
Jeff Arend

The 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance came to an exciting conclusion Saturday as drag racing champions were crowned and winning cars in the Axalta Show 'N Shine car show were announced in front of thousands of car enthusiasts.

Jeff Arend took home the coveted Wally in the Nostalgia Funny Car category with his run of 5.784-seconds at 243.28 mph. Arend's California Hustler Trans Am was also the top qualifier for the weekend. He defeated Dan Horan Jr. and Eric Stevens on his way to the winners circle.

"We've never been to Bowling Green before. Love the track; it's a great area," said Arend. "The car ran good and Ronnie Swearingen is a good Crew Chief. We have a great team here. We were low E.T. in qualifying. So today we knew if we run the same as we have, we're probably going to do okay and win. I'm really happy we won and got a Wally for Don Nelson (team owner)."

In Nostalgia Top Fuel, Mendy Fry, current world champion and top qualifier for the event, powered to victory in her High Speed Motorsports dragster with a pass of 5.561 at 259.21. It was a side-by-side battle all the way down the track in the final round as Fry defeated Jim Young's run of 5.651 at 262.28. She landed in the final round after turning on the win light against Jerry Hangey and Tyler Hilton earlier in the day.

In other categories competing, Rich Krohn won in 6.0 Eliminator, Jeffrey Sanborn won in 7.0 Eliminator and Randall Boles was the winner in 7.5 Eliminator. Dan Dishon captured the win in Competition Eliminator and Jim Hayes emerged victorious in Gas Eliminator. In Modified Eliminator, Greg Carta came away with the win and Jimmy Ray took the top spot in Nostalgia Super Stock. The win was captured by George Warren in Top Stock Eliminator and in Hot Rod Eliminator, Paul Mitchell snagged the victory. Rounding out the day's winners were Herman Hill in Straight Axle and Joe Bush in Geezer Gassers.

In the Axalta Show 'N Shine, the Top 50 cars were honored during the day as they made a celebratory lap down the track. Nine cars received perfect scores in judging. Those entries with perfect scores were:
Eric Bletzinger, 1969 Chevy Chevelle
Ray Enos, 1931 Ford Roadster
James Emberton, 1938 Chevy Coupe
Trint Blue, 1949 Chevy Pickup
Donny and Linda Rottler, 1949 Chevy Fleetwood
Dennis O'Brien, 1941 Studebaker Champion
Rick White, 1971 Ford Funny Car
Paul Pyles, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner
Art Noey, 1962 Chevy Impala

As is Hot Rod Reunion tradition, the ever-popular Cacklefest fired to life to close out the event. The sounds of American muscle reverberated under the covered grandstands as vintage cackle cars roared to life delighting hoards of fans.

FRIDAY

The second day of the 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance did not disappoint as fans experienced non-stop action on and off the track. Qualifying orders were set for the 16 categories competing at this event and legends of drag racing were honored.

Grand Marshal Randy Walls along with fellow 2019 Reunion Honorees including Army Armstrong, Steve Earwood, Art Marshall, Richard Maskin and Paul Smith, took part in autograph sessions with fans, meet-and-greets and other activities throughout the day.

In Nostalgia Top Fuel, current world champion Mendy Fry piloted her High Speed Motorsports dragster to the No. 1 position with a run of 5.546-seconds at 242.28 mph in the final qualifying round.

"That was about as good as it gets," said Fry. "My crew chief, Tom Shelar has got it flat figured out. It really makes my job a lot easier."

In Nostalgia Funny Car, Jeff Arend remains in the top spot with his pass of 5.816 at 248.80 in his California Hustler Trans Am. Competition fields were set for the more than 400 drag racers competing this weekend.

As racing drew to a conclusion on the track, the Honoree Reception at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green kicked off for a fabulous evening to recognize these honorees and celebrate their contributions to the sport of drag racing. Various hot rods, customs and Cacklefest cars are also on display at this one-of-a-kind reception.

The excitement continues on Saturday for the final day of the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion as fans will experience event more heart-pounding competition followed by the popular Cacklefest. Gates open at 8:00 am. Tickets may be purchased at the gate. Children 15 and under are free with a paid adult.

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.  
 
The Hot Rod Reunions are produced by the NHRA Motorsports Museum and benefit the facility located in Pomona, Calif. The NHRA Motorsports Museum is a 501c (3) non-profit institution. The Museum’s mission is to celebrate the impact of motorsports on American culture. The Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets the vehicles, stories and artifacts that represent America’s affection for, and the influence of, automotive speed and style in all its forms.

***
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Saturday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at Beech Bend Raceway. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Friday.

Nostalgia Top Fuel -- 1. Mendy Fry, Hadman, 5.546, 242.28 vs. 8. Julius Hughes, Horton, 6.226, 247.61; 2. Jim Young, FED, 5.689, 257.33 vs. 7. Tim Cullinan, Steffens, 6.217, 147.39; 3. Jim Murphy, Neil & Parks, 5.733, 246.66 vs. 6. Joey Haas, 6.028, 225.48; 4. Adam Sorokin, Sterling, 5.776, 207.18 vs. 5. Tyler Hilton, Horton, 6.003, 245.58. 

Nostalgia Funny Car -- 1. Jeff Arend, Trans Am, 5.816, 244.74 vs. 4. Eric Stevens, Camaro, 6.930, 136.03; 2. Dan Horan Jr., Camaro, 5.985, 245.58 vs. 3. John Smith, Challenger, 6.094, 213.84. 
 

THURSDAY

The 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance got off to an exciting start Friday at historic Beech Bend Raceway. The action-packed day featured a diverse array of classic cars, intense side-by-side drag racing and appearances by legends of the sport. This three-day event pays tribute to the rich history of American car culture and celebrates the passion that launched the hot rod movement.

"It was a fantastic first day," said Larry Fisher, executive director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. "We couldn't ask for better weather. It's a picture-perfect backdrop for these beautiful cars and super-fast machines."

The gates opened early to welcome the Axalta Show 'N Shine car show participants who are competing for the chance to show their winning rides at the iconic Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend.

The Reunion Road Tour launched from Tennessee early this morning with hot rods, street rods and customs making their way to Bowling Green along the scenic backroads to join fellow gearheads and hot rodders. With thousands of cars on site including more than 400 race cars, it's no wonder why the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion is a destination point for car culture lovers worldwide.

Powerful racing action ignited the senses as drivers in 16 different categories raced side-by-side in two rounds of qualifying. The Nostalgia Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car classes put on a great show for fans as they ran speeds of over 250 mph.

In Nostalgia Top Fuel, current world champion Mendy Fry landed in the provisional No. 1 qualifying position with her run of 5.618-seconds at 234.25 mph. Jeff Arend is currently on top in Nostalgia Funny Car with his pass of 5.830 at 248.80.

The excitement at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion® presented by AAA Insurance continues Friday and Saturday with gates opening at 8 a.m. each day. Tickets may be purchased at the gate. Children 15 and under are free with a paid adult.