The terms “retro,” “old school,” and “nostalgia” are more than just popular keywords and hashtags commonly used on Instagram and Facebook, they are also exceptionally descriptive words when talking about nostalgia drag racing and, most definitely, the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet. Held at Famoso Raceway in McFarland, California, just north of Bakersfield, the one-time auxiliary training base has played home to the famous drag race (initially known as the U.S. Fuel and Gas Championships) since its inception in 1959. Although the March Meet has gone through some rough patches and a number ownership and sanctioning body changes over the years, in 2017, it’s the most popular nostalgia drag race in the country. Held over the weekend of March 2-5, the 59th running of the March Meet drew racers, fans, and media from all over the world to take a small step back in time for a glimpse of what drag racing was like in its heyday.
Slightly hidden from view off Famoso Rd. between highways 65 and 99, Famoso Raceway is the ideal backdrop for a nostalgia drag race. As if by design, the worn, wooden bleachers are color-faded and creaky, the track food is equal to that of the old Irwindale Raceway on a Friday night, and the parking lot is a mix of dirt, weeds, and grass—all the elements that remind us of hitting the drags back in the early days.
Compared to today’s modern, sleek-bodied big-show Funny Cars, nostalgia Funny Cars are more representative of the 1960’s and ’70s body styles they are replicating, and the front-engine dragsters are reminiscent of what late-1960’s diggers looked like prior to the rear-engine revolution, that started in 1971. And with mostly pre-1973 drag classes on the event schedule it’s easy to get lost in a time with each race car carrying an identity all its own.
We can go on and on writing about how cool the March Meet really is, but since verbal description cannot do the event justice, we enlisted the talents of veteran drag racing photographer Marc Gewertz to capture the racing action and other nuances of the event in this extensive image gallery.
It’s retro, it’s old school, it’s nostalgic, it’s the March Meet—much more than just another hashtag or keyword.