It's become a crowded playing field, and that's OK with Dan Horan Jr.
Horan, of Rancho Cascades, started driving nostalgia Funny Cars 10 years ago, before there were any real races for the newfangled, old-school division.
Seven years ago, nine cars were on hand for the first nostalgia Funny Car elimination race at the March Meet.
Today, about 30 drivers are expected to make qualifying attempts as the biggest nostalgia drag race in the world -- the March Meet -- kicks into high gear at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
"No, it's just a lot more fun," Horan said when asked if maybe the class had become almost too popular. "We're not quitters. The more (teams) that come out, you have to look deep down inside and find something to beat them."
Horan came within an eyelash of winning the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series, finishing only behind Jason Rupert. He would have snared the title if he won the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso last October, but he lost in the final round to John Hale.
In a test session on Thursday, Horan was the quickest of 19 cars with a 5.74 at 254 mph.
Consistency has been Horan's strong suit which he credits to crew chief Ron Swearingen.
"Ronnie wanted to start where he left off last year," Horan said of yet another run in the 5.7 range. "He's pretty conservative and wants every run to count. So he goes down the race track every run because you learn something every time the car goes A to B.
"If you go up there and try to rotate the Earth then you don't learn anything."
Horan said not to read too much into testing times from Thursday (only four cars were in the fives) as there are many different agendas at play.
Some are just looking to make a short run, about half-track; others click off at 1,000 feet and there are some who are looking for big numbers but come up short.
"Everybody has their own program," he said. "Some people want to see exactly what the limits are. We just want to go to the finish line and see the increment numbers. Then (Swearingin) will make a decision based on that."
Horan said the 5.74 was a good starting point in his quest for his first March Meet win.
"Now he can tweak it a little here, pick up a little there. Every little bit counts."
Funny Car drivers will have three chances to make a 16-car elimination field: two today and one Saturday. Horan predicts four drivers to get under 5.70 seconds.
Last October, 25 drivers were in the fives and it took a 5.867 to make the show. Tim Nemeth of Chilliwack, B.C. set the pace at 5.693.
"I expect low qualifier to be 5.65 or 5.67," Horan said. I think there will be four cars between 5.67 and 5.71.
"It's tough (competition). There are a lot of guys coming out and everyone wants to be a hero for a day."
While it was just a testing day for the supercharged nitro cars, all other classes got in a round of qualifying.
Brendon Frye of Taft is second in A/Gas qualifying in his '57 Chevy at 7.607 seconds; Mike Williams of Bakersfield sits third in C/Gas at 9.618 in a '55 Chevy and Tim Gorman of Bakersfield is second in D/Gas at 10.605 seconds in his '64 El Camino.