For many years, before I-5 was
built, travelers on Route 99 drove under this sign if they passed
through the downtown of Bakersfield. Situated about 2 hours from
LA, Bakersfield was the last gas stop on the way South to LA
or the first gas stop on the way North out of LA. One way of
the other, the sign was famous.
A few years ago, the city fathers decided to remove the sign
from Bakersfiled's main street and it was purchased by the late
Buck Owens, the Country Western star for his Crystal Palace nightclub.
Today, the sign is visible to the East from the new path of Route
#99 as you pass by the intersection of 99 and 58. Look the other
way, West and you'll see the DoubleTree Hotel, the host hotel
for the CHRR and the site of the Friday night awards ceremony
and afterwards the debut fire-ups of the season's most important
new "Cackle Cars"!
Bakersfield! The very mention of the name evokes thoughts of
drag racing back to the 50's to this day.
From Thursday on from the staging
lanes to four rows in there was nothing but a sea of cacklecars.
This is Bucky Austin's ever increasing collection.
It was back in July that we heard
Bucky Austin's latest restoration had been completed and could
be expected at CHRR. Bucky sets a pretty high restoration standard
for his work, and The Dailey & Johnson car proved no exception.
The late-model hemi-powered Don Long dragster was Hanks last
FED, and among the last of the breed to win a national event
title. Here's a look at it in Bucky's showcase lineup alongside
the Jerry Ruth restoration done some time back.
Several cars made their Cacklefest
debut including the beautiful Gingrass & Dearmore AA/FD restoration
done by owner, Larry Crossan.
The G & D car was loaded
on a trailer Friday afternoon and hauled into town for the Honorees
awards at the DoubleTree. The Dearmore half of the original team
is John Dearmore, in the far right of this picture. Working fevershly
against the clock he and Larry had the bottom end apart and replaced
the oil pump right before the car was loaded on the trailer for
the trip to town. Some things never change.
Bob Hirsch's tribute reproduction
of the Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda" dragster has appeared
at several of the SoCal street events featuring cacklecars this
year, but for many (even from SoCal) CHRR was the first opportunity
to see this car.
Marvin wasn't noted for his cars
being "lookers," but this one was the exception. With
a chassis mainly of his own construction, he turned to master
tin smith Tom Hanna for the bodywork with paint by Cerny to finish
it off. Hirsch's reproduction features a chassis constructed
by Rollain and Buttera, bodywork by Terry Negman with paint by
It's quite a beautiful and detailed
effort. When Marvin built his car in 1967 it stood out from the
crowd with it's ultra-long wheelbase, which prompted it's name.
Had to be the longest wheelbase car out there that year, although
we all know that many others would soon be even longer. It still
looks pretty long to today's eyes as you examine the car.
I saw this car run a couple of
times, although always without the nosepiece. Marvin preferred
to forego the weight of the body for competition it seems, but
without it the car looked quite different. Just lots of pipe
with some wheels attached up front, LOL!
This is a genuine Eagle Electric
car that was driven by Frank Rupert. It's a basic Woody car...no
tail or nose. Was found and restored by Stan Canter, of Spokane,
WA. Jason Rupert, son of the original driver, was in the car
Another newby and definitely
the winner of the long distance award was Australia's first cacklecar
- the "Scorcher" AA/FD of Ash Marshall. The car was
purchased from Leland Kolb and shipped down under in the early
70s. It has been restored over the last two years by Dennis Young
and George Bukureshliev who was in the seat for the cars maiden
fire up here at Bakersfield.
The complete history of this
car - its racing days and restoration - will soon be available
The Ron Johnson pit was awash
in red as it featured his Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer",
his Shubert & Herbert Chevy fueler, the 4-engine Tommy Ivo
"Showboat" and Bruce Larson's 1973 Ivo rear engine
car. For a little relief from Red, Don Prieto's Hustler 6 provided
a counterpoint in Silver.
Ivo was on hand Saturday
to sign autographs.
Always looking great
- Jim Green's "Assassin"
John Ewald's Mastercar
and BankAmericar - both Cacklefest staples.
Al Bergler and company made the
long trek to Bakersfield with his new rig and three beautiful
Now, focus on the center car
(The Probe) on the side of the trailer. Look at the photo above
then the one below. How trick is that! The image "follows"
Not to be confused with the John
Wiebe 1971 "Violin Car" which was a featured car last
year, this is a different earlier model Wiebe car, and apparently
the real deal. It's an SPE - Roy Fjasted car, owned and restored
by Wayne Patrick.
Terry Maestrejuan's "Thunder
Chief" and Paul Schavrien's "The Poachers" shared
a pit on the return road side of the pits.
Sam Chastain brought the Iron
horse from his home in Auburn, California. The car was originally
owned by Dan Richens of Salt Lake City, who was a railroad engineer,
hence the name.
Bob Creitz from Oklahoma brought
his restored car. Tom Hanna did the restoration about 4 years
ago. Creitz and the original driver, Steve Carbone, were reunited
with the car at Bowling Green in 2005.
Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson raced
this car at the end of the 60's. When it's career was ended,
Mike parked it. It sat, just like this until Mike decided to
start bringing it to cacklefest events. The chassis and body
have never been touched up, they are totally original to the
60's. The motor is a different matter as Mike is one of the most
competent engine builders for cacklecars as well as race cars.
This one runs a very high percentage and makes a lot of noise
with Carl in the seat.
Dave West had this car built
by Pat Foster about 8 years ago. It is a perfect duplicate of
the original which is long gone. Tim Beebe, the Beebe of Beebe
and Mulligan has become an unofficial part of Dave's team and
handled the original motor work for Dave. Tim is currently crew
chief on Jim Murphy's nostalgia AA/FD. Dave lives in Paso Robles
and enjoys the good life of retirement and car collecting.
Tom Ivo in his element
- the seat of Ron Johnson's Barnstormer.
Ewell Bell Stecker AA/FD
Corey Conyers who works for Tom
Hanna came to the CHRR to help Bob Creitz and ended up getting
a fire up in the Mastercar.
Alan Janes, a former crew member
for Jim Herbert, is now the owner of the Raynor-Bishop-Herbert
Woody car. He did a lot of the restoration work on the car at
Dave Uyehara's shop. This is the car in which Jim was burned
pretty badly at Kingdon when an oil filter split open. It was
dark blue back then with lighter blue lace panels and gold leaf
lettering. Henry Walter did the paint and lettering. The white
and orange paint scheme as shown on the car now came later, but
it is unknown who did it then or now. The engine in the car now
is owned by a friend of Alan's. It came out of his street car.
Davey had it on 85% with 35 degrees of lead for the Cacklefest.
Nobody has more fun at these
deals than Herm Petersen. Herm hails from Washington and had
a serious injury in the 70's and left racing. He embarked on
a new career as a charter fishing boat owner/skipper and is busy
as all get-out during the summers. When he saw all his old racing
buddies having too much fun at Cacklefests he restored one of
his front motor cars and now has something to do in the off-season.
Bill Pitts Magicar was one of
the many fire-ups over the weekend. In the car for this one was
Ross Preen who came, with his wife Jude, to the CHRR all the
way from Australia for their vacation.
"My wife and I, just
had the best time all weekend at Bakersfield, and the friendship
and hospitality show to us by everyone we met made the trip from
Australia very worthwhile. To see the pics of myself in the "Magicar"
brought it all back again (I can almost smell the Nitro!) in
spades, it was an experience that I will never forget".
Carl Olson warms up Mike
Famed photographer and Lions
Drag Strip historian, Don Gillespie was another 1st time "driver"
in John Ewald's Mastercar.
Gillespie, Larry Sutton
and John Ewald.
Wayne King's pit - Peregrine
Always the center of activity,
the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum was well represented.
Here is the Swamp Rat 3 owned by Sonny Messner. It is the only
Garlits Swamp Rat car ever owned by someone other than Don, who
built this fine recreation for Sonny about 4 years ago. Behind
it is the Art Chrisman Hustler.
The Speed Sport Roadster, Kenny
Saffords car and the Howard Cam Rattler rounded out the NHRA
Museum area in front of the Renegade Toter Home/Stacker Trailer
rig on display by Bill Schneider of the Phoenix Renegade dealer.
Bill and his life partner, Darielle Moody Price (Don Moody's
daughter) brought the rig from Phoenix empty and loaded it up
with cars at the Museum in Pomona and brought them to CHRR. Word
is that Bill and this type of rig may make a "Cacklefest
Tour" in 2009 taking Museum cars to as many as 9 events
around the country. Renegade Motorhomes and Trailers are marvelous
devices and the Renegade Company is to be thanked big time for
considering this assistance to the Museum.
Another CHRR first timer was
the newly restored Perrenot Family "The Gizzle Hopper"
Lincoln powered AA/C.
The Gas Ronda Ford Funny Car
may have doors and fenders, but there's no problem recognizing
it's a race car when it fires up.
The Schrank Brothers from Washington
ran this car in the early-mid 60's with blown DeSoto motors.
Brent Seaman (adjusting valves)
brought his restored "Outcast" AA/FA all the way from
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
John Peters had his Freight Train
running on all 16 during this Saturday fire-up.
Katie Capps, daughter of Ron
and Leah Buttera Capps, brought the Buttera family full circle
with her fire-up in the Ewald Bros. BankAmericar. Her grandfather,
the late John Buttera was in the seat for two fire-ups before
he passed. His daughter Leah was in the car at the 2008 March
Bobby Hansen brought his car,
the Wynn's Spoiler from the LA area. Bobby has a company called
Hansen Chassis and builds all types of cars including race cars.
This one originally belonged to his Dad.
The Yeakel Plymouth team includes
members of about 5 families who were all involved with the car
back when Tom McEwen drove it for Lou Baney. Frank Baney, Paul
and Jim Rossi, Chuck Goebel and Chris Young (Lou Baneys son)
all have a hand in the venture and turn out at events, where
the group really shows how you can have a good time at the races.
Chuck Goebel on the left,
then Frank Baney, Jim Rossi and Paul Rossi.
We'll close this page with Paul
Rossi in the Yeakel Plymouth car doing what these cars do. Entertaining
the fans with a CACKLE!