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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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!”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
VW Bug Car Show
The car show element of the Bug-in comprises one of the largest Volkswagen auto shows in the world.
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.
For example, you can enter your Beetle, Bus, Buggy, water-cooled and more.
The Volkswagen car show even offers some cool specialty categories including Best Display, Most Orignal and our favorite, Best Patina!
VW Slug-Bugs Stock & Custom
So, whether you own or appreciate stock or custom there are plenty of VW’s at the show for everyone to enjoy.
With the below picture in mind, perhaps someone needs to come up with an off-road Volkswagen event.
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.