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Tri-Five Chevys on the Quarter-Mile at Historic Famoso Dragstrip

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2021-10-26 Hot Rod Network Staff
Tri-Five Chevys on the Quarter-Mile at Historic Famoso Dragstrip-featured © Hot Rod Network Staff Tri-Five Chevys on the Quarter-Mile at Historic Famoso Dragstrip-featured

Famoso Dragstrip was Tri-Five Chevy heaven when the American Tri-Five Association brought the Western Invasion presented by Danchuk to Bakersfield's historic race track in October 2021. The American Tri-Five Association has been organizing the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, since 2015. That event was an immediate success and plans soon began to create a West Coast show. The premier Western Invasion was all set to take place at Famoso in 2020, but the pandemic pushed it further along on the calendar. Chevy fans from California and neighboring states waited somewhat patiently and were finally rewarded this fall with a great two-day event dedicated exclusively to 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevys.

002 tri five chevy drag racing auto club famoso raceway western invasion 2021 © Hot Rod Network Staff 002 tri five chevy drag racing auto club famoso raceway western invasion 2021

The Western Invasion in Bakersfield, like the event in Bowling Green, included a Tri-Five Chevy car show as well as quarter-mile drag racing. We loved both parts of the event, but for the spectators in the grandstand, the action on the dragstrip was definitely the big draw.

The racing at the Western Invasion was held in several classes. Top Eliminator was for cars running 10.99-second and quicker elapsed times. Junior Eliminator featured 11.00-second and slower cars. DOT Stock was for full steel-bodied street legal cars. The Gasser Challenge featured heads-up racing for Gasser style Chevys. The popular Fun Runs provided a chance for any Western Invasion participant to make a heads-up pass down the strip just for kicks.

003 tri five chevy drag racing auto club famoso raceway western invasion 2021 © Hot Rod Network Staff 003 tri five chevy drag racing auto club famoso raceway western invasion 2021

Where the Tri-Five Chevys Race

There are close to 300 dragstrips in the United States, but in our opinion the American Tri-Five Association has picked two of the best venues to hold the Tri-Five Nationals and Western Invasion. Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green nor Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield are not huge state-of-the-art tracks, but they are two of our favorites, each with an old-time vibe and a well-known reputation for hosting the most popular nostalgia races and other drag racing events.

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Beech Bend Raceway started in the '40s as a dirt oval track. The dragstrip was built in the '60s. In addition to the Tri-Five Nationals, it is the site of the Holley LSFest East, Holley MoParty, Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival, NHRA ET Series races, and other regular events.

Famoso Dragstrip was an abandoned Army airfield when the Smokers car club purchased it in 1959, turned it into a track, and held the first U.S. Fuel and Gas Championships—now known as the March Meet. The March Meet remains one of the most popular events at Famoso, along with the California Hot Rod Reunion, American Nostalgia Racing Association events, and now the Western Invasion.

Take a look at some of the 19551957 Chevy action from the Famoso starting line, staging lanes, and pits at the inaugural American Tri-Five Association Western Invasion.

Watch! Top 25 Chevys from the 2019 Tri-Five Nationals

A closer look at the top 25 Chevys from the 2019 Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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