Dragsters rev celebratory engines

Veronica Orozco
News Editor

Drag racers of all kinds filled the streets of Old Town La Verne Saturday afternoon for the second annual NHRA Fan Fest.

“We had a huge turnout from not only fans but La Verne residents and the rest of the community,” Dana Mariotti, marketing manager for NHRA said.

Mariotti and the city of La Verne worked in cooperation to plan and promote the 48th annual Auto Club Finals.

Behind the main stage, where Mariotti was playing the role of announcer, was a big digital screen playing clips of past races and racers.

With over 50 vendors in the Businesses Expo area, which was set up in the Wilson Library parking lot, and over 50 drag racers lined up along D Street, there was plenty for all in attendance to enjoy.

No two racers were alike, and walking along the street looking at the cars, every one seemed more interesting than the last.

Vendors offered face painting, food, jumpers, radio control cars and much more.

“We are really big fans of racing, and since my daughter has a junior dragster, she enjoys coming and being with the other kids,” Wendy Clinton, Chino Hills resident, said.

Live music often filled the air with old hits.

It was evident that the songs played appealed to an older generation by the fact that there were always a few adults dancing in front of the stage with their children glaring at them nearby trying to pull them away.

When the engines were revved as a display to all in attendance, it would mute every other noise around including the band playing 30 feet away, leaving a deafening ringing in people’s ears.

“We live down the street and we saw posters about it so we decided to come and check it out,” Sofia Moreno, La Verne resident said.

“We loved the cars,” Moreno said.

People were also able to sit in a drag racer and take pictures, attracting not only excited children but curious adults too.

The La Verne gymnastics team performed in front of a crowd of 100 spectators huddled in front of the main stage.

The 16 girls had an 8-minute-long performance that captivated the audience with their flips, dancing and contorting, having passers by stop in their tracks.

“This is our second year coming,” Chris Mandala, La Verne resident said. “Our favorite car is the AAA car.”

Mandala attended with his daughter, and two sons.

Mandala’s daughter performed in a cheer demonstration.

The city of La Verne has a contract with NHRA for two more years, but hope to make it a lasting partnership.

“This is my second year planning this and it is different but still very successful,” Mariotti said.

The Auto Club Finals will be held through Sunday at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. For more information visit NHRA.com.

Veronica Orozco can be reached at veronica.orozco@laverne.edu.

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