Volkswagen Bug Drag Racing

The 44th Annual VW Bug Drag Race was recently held at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, CA.  And yes, drag racing Bugs is not only a thing but its another great opportunity for Volkswagen lovers to gather here in Southern California.

Dubbed (pun intended) the “Bug-In.”   The annual event includes drag racing, a swap meet, a car show, and even camping.

Volkswagen Bugs' jump. VW Bug Drag Race

What a sight!  Bugs poppin’ wheelies off the line!

About 500 Volkswagen’s participate in the car show. And the swap meet alone takes up so much space it can take you the entire afternoon to get through it all.

VW Bug Drag Race

Not quite sure how many VW Bug parts are on this one…

But even with so much going on.  The drag racing takes center stage.  And, there’s a drag racing category for just about anyone and everyone to participate.

“We started the Bug-in back in 1969 at what was then the Orange County International Raceway.”

For example, category class names include Powder Puff for the ladies bracket.  But they also have Super Stock, Outlaw Turbo, Real Street, Trophy Class and more.

VW Bug Drag Race

One serious Slug-Bug!

“There are a lot of Volkswagen enthusiasts of all ages,” community organizer Rich Kimball said. “We started the Bug-in back in 1969 at what was then the Orange County International Raceway.”

VW Bug Drag Race

Not your average VW Bug :0)

The event has evolved and changed venues since it’s origination.  But Southern California Volkswagen lovers keep the VW drag racing going strong.

Inland Empire VW Bug Drag Racing

Orange Volkswagen bug on racing line

VW Bug Drag Race

All of the VW drag races are 1/4-miles.  And before drag racing VW Bugs at the Auto Club Drag way in Fontana the group started in Irwindale.

“They opened up Fontana, it [the drag strip] was on another side of Auto Club Speedway. But we went back to Irwindale couple times because of noise,” Kimball said.

Blue Volkswagen Bug jump at VW Bug Drag Race

Volkswagen Bug jump

And VW Drag Racing still happens annually in Irwindale.   But it doesn’t include all the elements of the event as when it takes place in Fontana.  For instance, The Drag Day includes a swap meet but no auto show as that can attract large crowds.

Orange Volkswagen Manx 1970

Volkswagen Manx 1970

As Old as VW Bugs in SoCal

It turns out that drag racing Volkswagen Bugs has been around nearly as long as the Beetle has been in the United States.

Volkswagen Bug-in Racing at VW Bug Drag Race

Volkswagen Bug-in Racing

“In 1969 there were a lot of Volkswagen cars in Orange County,” Kimball said. “Probably around 30 dealers and 30 clubs with 35-50 members.”

Blue Volkswagen Beetle 1967

Volkswagen Beetle 1967

VW Bug Drag Racing Classes

Even now VW drag racers and enthusiasts come from all walks of life and throughout Southern California.  Just ask Laura Schnekenburger.  Professionally speaking, she has nothing to do with Volkswagens, much less drag racing.  Even so, she’s a Volkswagen Drag Racer in the Powder Puff class by choice.

Racer Laura Schnekenburger and her bug

Powder Puff Drag Racer, Laura Schnekenburger, and her Bug!

“I work in the medical field and I do this for a hobby.”  She said, “even at my age, 58, you can still enjoy these things!”

Blue Volkswagen Bug at VW Bug Drag Race

Laura Schnekenburger at the starting line.

The Powder Puff is Ladies Bracket Racing is all about girls racing their Volkswagen’s here in the United States and Europe as well.  And they even have their own Facebook page.

Volkswagen Bugs in line at VW Bug Drag Race

Powder Puff series

Everyone comes to VW Drag Racing through a different path.  Often it’s via friends and family getting each other involved.  But there’s definitely a sense of community and belonging attracts many participants.

Racer Laura Schnekenburger at VW Bug Drag Race

Racer Laura Schnekenburger

“I have a friend involved.  And, I came out a couple of times,” Schnekenburger said. “I like how everybody comes together, we’re a team.”

Green Volkswagen Beetle 1962

Volkswagen Beetle 1962

All-Types of VW Bug Drag Racers

Some racers come out to the events solo and some come with lots of support.  But no matter what the sense of community is everywhere.

As many racers are happy and quick to help one another out to keep their Beetles on the track and running at peak performance.

Racer David Ruiz at VW Bug Drag Race

Racer David Ruiz at VW Bug Drag Race

“We are from Pomona, the name of our team is Volkstrack,” supporter Andrea Campos said. “My team just came here for fun; our racer David Ruiz is in s new class this year.  It is just really cool to be here.”

Support team member Andrea Campos

Supporter,  Andrea Campos photographs a Bug burning rubber!

VW Bug Car Show

The car show element of the Bug-in comprises one of the largest Volkswagen auto shows in the world.

Red Volkswagen Type 34 1964

Volkswagen Type 34 1964

All years and models of VW’s are welcome to participate in the show.  And, the event includes more than a dozen different judged categories of Volkswagens.

Volkswagen Type 181

Volkswagen Type 181

For example, you can enter your Beetle, Bus, Buggy, water-cooled and more.

Classic Volkswagen Squareback 1966

Classic Volkswagen Squareback 1966

The Volkswagen car show even offers some cool specialty categories including Best Display, Most Orignal and our favorite, Best Patina!

Volkswagen Bug 1969 Custom Version

Volkswagen Bug 1969 Custom Version

VW Slug-Bugs Stock & Custom

Volkswagen Bug Black with small trailer

Volkswagen Bug with a small trailer

So, whether you own or appreciate stock or custom there are plenty of VW’s at the show for everyone to enjoy.

Red Volkswagen Bug 1966

Volkswagen Bug 1966

With the below picture in mind, perhaps someone needs to come up with an off-road Volkswagen event.

Grey Volkswagen Bug Custom

Volkswagen Bug Custom

And speaking of V-Dub events.  If you can’t wait until next year’s BugIn to get your shot of Fahrvegnugen no worries.

Be sure to check out Dubs on the Shore in July.  Because that’s an annual event another group of serious Volkswagen enthusiasts hosts each year in San Diego.

And in October, Ontario Volkswagen in Ontario, California, combine Oktoberfest and cars for its annual Oktoberfest Car Show.  It features VW’s both air-cooled and water-cooled.