2024 Mooneyes New Years Party

The 3rd annual Mooneyes New Years Party car show and drag race invaded Irwindale Speedway January 27, kicking off the 2024 car show season in style. The one-day event featured everything a gearhead could want: hot rods, drag racing, bands, a pin-up contest, vendors and a little bit of nitro.

While the rest of the country was in a deep freeze, Southern California was enjoying 80-degree weather, which drew nearly a thousand pre-1972 hot rods, lead sleds, low riders, customs, rat rods, vans and more. Metal-flaked, flamed, scalloped, pinstriped and primered cars from every era packed every inch of asphalt at Irwindale Speedway, proving that the custom car culture is alive and well in SoCal.

Bands like The Moontones, The Rocketz, Johnny and the DooWop Deathboys, Hot Rod Trio and the Outlaw Daddies rocked the stage throughout the day while gassers, AFX cars and hot rods took turns burning rubber on the eighth-mile drag strip before parading back up the return road in front of the packed grandstands.

All “eyes” were on the popular pin-up contest that featured 12 women vying for the coveted title. After the judges tallied their votes, Lilac SaintClair was crowned Miss Mooneyes.

Whether it was pin-ups, hot rods or music, the Mooneyes New Year’s Party definitely had something for everyone. The event replaced the legendary Mooneyes Christmas Party that was traditionally held in December, but the January date has been a huge hit. One thing is for certain, no matter what month it is, Mooneyes owners Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama sure know how to throw a party.

2024 Mooneyes Irwindale, Mooneyes New Years Party

Photos by Marc Gewertz

Growing up just miles from Fremont Drag Strip where his father both worked and raced throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Marc Gewertz was exposed to the excitement, color, and pageantry of hot rodding at an early age. During junior high, he began taking his Nikon camera to the dragstrip to capture the action and the people behind all those fast cars. With a penchant for being in the right place at the right time, he quickly developed a reputation as being one of rac­ing’s rising young photographic talents.