Event features drag racers, a car show, Cacklefest, tri-tip dinner, and an outdoor movie

PASO ROBLES — Tribute to Drag Racing is an event that brings together local drag racers and honors the work of Dan Lemons, a Paso Robles manufacturer who was a key builder of custom racing headers. 

Featuring drag racers, a car show, Cacklefest, tri-tip dinner, and an outdoor movie, Tribute to Drag Racing will be held Aug. 26 from 6 to 10 p.m., at Kings Oil Tools, 2235 Spring St. in Paso Robles. The event is free for the public to attend.

The tribute is presented by Golden State Classics Car Club and Lemons Headers, both based in Paso Robles. 


The event pays respect to Lemons, who became a legend for manufacturing handmade custom headers for Chevrolet high-performance muscle and drag race cars. Dan and his wife Kathy caught the drag racing bug in the early 1970s and opened Lemons Headers in 1997. It is still a family-run business in Paso Robles with daughter Jen at the helm.

“Our family is grateful for the recognition of Pops. My dad’s engineering skills and attention to detail are well known in the world of drag racing,” said Jen Lemons. “Today, we continue his legacy of custom craftsmanship.” 

Spectators can explore an exhibition of modern and vintage drag cars. Don Nelson, owner of Nelson Racing LLC of Paso Robles, is bringing his California Hustler nitro funny car driven by Kamaka Pocock, also known as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian.” They recently ran the quarter-mile in 5.66 seconds at 256 mph.

Other racers participating include Frank Merenda and his “Home Wrecker IV” A/Gas Rambler station wagon and Tom Fowler’s A/Gas 1970 Camaro. 

The Cacklefest features the sound emanating from a nitro-fueled racing engine while idling and shooting out flames. 

“The Cacklefest will be in the evening so everyone will be able to experience the throttle punch and see the nitro burn,” said Golden State Classics Car Club President Scotty Smith. “It will rattle your chest. It’s great.”

The car show features All-American Made Muscle Cars and Hot Rods from the ’50s through the ’70s. Vehicle registration is $55 and includes an event T-shirt, tri-tip dinner ticket, Lemons Headers Goodie bag, and 20 raffle tickets. Entrants must register by Aug. 1 to receive the complimentary T-shirt. The car show is limited to 50 participants.

A tri-tip dinner is available with all the fixings at $20 for adults, and $10 for kids 10 and under. Dinner tickets are sold online only.  

Rounding out the evening is an outdoor movie screening of a drag racing movie. The movie is free for the public. “Bring some chairs and the kids,” said Smith. “This is an event for the whole family.”

Tri-tip dinner tickets and car show registration can be purchased online at goldenstateclassics.org.