In only two years, the Hot Rod Reunion has grown from its original pool of 20 to 25 entrants.

In only two years, the Hot Rod Reunion has grown from its original pool of 20 to 25 entrants.

It’s more than just a reunion. It also is a car show, cruise through Ardmore, and a drag race. And it attracts drag racers and classic drag racing aficionados from out of state, even as far away as California.

This year’s race entry total has reached 103, according to Ardmore Dragway special events coordinator Rob Ragland.

“A lot of the car clubs in the surrounding area, they help a lot,” Ragland said, crediting the clubs with spreading the word. “There are a lot of vintage cars. It’s just a gathering of growth over the years more than anything.”

This year’s Reunion, starting today with a car show at Brad Fenton Motors, celebrates the 53rd anniversary of the original Ardmore Dragway, which was constructed by the Slow Poke Car Club. Four of the club’s 10 members still live in Ardmore.

“Going back to the 1950s, imagine guys running up the streets, making the police crazy,” said Ragland, whose father Jim is one of the original Slow Pokes. “These guys were getting in a lot of trouble.”

But they worked with local law enforcement, Ragland said, to establish a location for safe, legal racing. That location is now where the Ardmore Downtown Executive Airport stands.

“Since most of them have passed on, the four of us take on special meaning with the reunion,” founding Slow Poke Norman Flowers said.

The current Ardmore Dragway, 7 miles north of town, has been in existence since 1960, and labels itself as “America’s oldest continually run drag strip.” This weekend, those who attend the Hot Rod Reunion will take a trip to the past.

Following the car show, a cruise to the Guest Inn, 2519 Veterans Blvd., begins at the Sonic on North Commerce. The 1964 American Hot Rod Association world championship Scorpion dragster, then driven by Bobby Langley, will fire up flames at the Guest Inn.

Gates for the race Saturday open at 9 a.m., with racing at noon.

“Everything we race will be 1972 and older,” Ragland said.