Hot Rod Action

Boiling in Bowling Green for the Wally Parks Nostalgia Nationals

By Tommy Lee Byrd   –   Images by the Author

For more than 20 years, the NHRA Motorsports Museum has poured its heart and soul into honoring drag racing history with nostalgia drag racing events. These events were once called Hot Rod Reunion, but the Bowling Green, Kentucky, event was officially renamed to the Wally Parks NHRA Nostalgia Nationals. The rebranding of the event was not a departure from its roots, as it still features intense nostalgia drag racing action, a huge show-and-shine area, a swap meet packed with vintage speed parts, and more.

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02 Gold 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with a raised front end

Read More: Old-School Chevy Muscle from the Wally Parks Nostalgia Nationals

The Wally Parks NHRA Nostalgia Nationals is always held on Father’s Day weekend, and you can count on toasty temperatures and a heavy dose of humidity in Bowling Green. The property at Beech Bend Raceway is perfect for an event of this nature, as it features an enormous footprint with rolling hills, shade trees, and plenty of parking for participants and spectators.

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03 White 1963 Chevrolet Nova Against the Wind with a raised hood

There are more than a dozen drag racing classes, ranging from bracket classes to wide-open, heads-up classes and everything in-between. Fan favorites include the Modified Production class, which is limited to stick-shift cars, but there is outstanding variety on the dragstrip throughout the weekend. Several hundred drag cars file into the historic track and battle the heat to determine winners in the respective classes. Additional action on the track includes a Cacklefest, which involves a collection of historic nitro-burning drag cars running at the same time—fire in the pipes and fumes in the air make for a visceral experience that every gearhead needs to experience at least once.

04 Yellow 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible towing a dragster

The show-and-shine area was packed with diverse machines, ranging from pieced-together beaters to high-class show cars. We spotted Pro Touring cars, gassers, restored stockers, and more, as we made our way through the show area. One standout was a ’69 Camaro convertible, sporting 250 fender badges, signifying an inline six-cylinder engine. Even more interesting than the Camaro was the front engine dragster (powered by a supercharged Crosley engine) that rode on the trailer behind it.

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05 White 1963 Chevrolet Impala Final Effort with a raised hood

Read More: 29th Pure Stock Drags Brings Quick E.T.’s and Fast Fun to Mid Michigan

There were great Chevy creations in every corner of the property, and our coverage only scratches the surface of this awesome event. To truly appreciate it, you have to be there and brave the heat with the rest of the crowd.

06 Blue 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with an open hood

You can find out more about NHRA Motorsports Museum events at nhramuseum.org.

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