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 2009 CHRR

Honoree Awards & Hotel Cackles

 

Bakersfield, CA - October 16, 2009: Friday night at the CHRR is one of drag racings major social events of the year. Hosted at the DoubleTree Hotel, the Honoree Awards Ceremony always draws the who's-who of drag racing. It's a great time to see old friends and meet new ones.

This years Honorees were Grand Marshal Jess Tyree, Danny "Buzz" Broussard, Don Moody, "Jetcar Bob" Smith, Walt Stevens and Steve Reyes, while the annual Justice Brothers Reunion Spotlight Award shined on the Stone Woods & Cooke team.

The Honorees Ceremony also kicks off the official start of Cacklefest. We will start at the beginning and share some of what went on inside before the six cacklecars stared outside.

 

Orangeline

 

The featured car in the DoubleTree lobby was the Starlite III.

 

 

Monique Valadez, Manager of Education and Public Relations and Graciela Sanchez, NHRA Licensing/Field Marketing Coordinator.

 

Suzie & Roland

 

Gary and Marie Cochran before the event.

 

The High Speed Motorsports Top Fuel crew were on hand to support team member Walt Stevens that included Tom Shelar, Rian Kono, Danny Porsche, Todd Shappie, Jennifer Luna, Brett Johansen, Roger McMartin, Erin and Sean Bellemeur and Troy Green.

 

Bob Smith and friends.

 

T.C. Lemons was thrilled to be there.

 

Walt Stevens with his wife Maria, daughter Cynthia, and granddaughter Desiree.

 

As always, Dave McClelland served as MC.

 

 

As always, this event played to a SRO audience.

 

 

 

 

Track sponsor AAA was represented by Rick Lalor.

 

 

Greg Sharp had his moment.

 

After calling Steve Gibbs to the stage McClelland introduced Tony Thacker who then, on behalf of the NHRA Motorsports Museum, recognized Steve for his countless contributions to the sport of drag racing.

 

 

 

Few knew it but Steve was feeling horrible. The next morning he was so ill he required medial attention and was ordered to stay in bed for the remainder of the weekend. It seems the medication he was taking caused a very bad reaction to the sun. Needless to say, it killed Gibbs to miss the bulk of the CHRR and his presence was greatly missed.

 

 

 

Ed Justice Jr. recognized the recipients of the Justice Bros. Spotlight Award - Stone Woods & Cook.

 

Tom Ivo was introduced as part of the next award.

 

 

Representing the famous Stone Woods and Cook AA/GS cars, were Mike Cook (Doug Cook's son 4th from right) and Lenny Woods (Tim Woods' son- 3rd from left) along with the gentlemen who restored the two most famous Stone Woods & Cook AA/GS Willis. We do not have their names at this time.

 

 

 

 

The first honoree was Danny "Buzz" Broussard

 

Danny was the first person to have Keith Black Racing Engines lettered on his race car. His first strip-only race car was a ’29 roadster pickup powered by an injected Buick. It appeared in Hot Rod Magazine in 1960 and was followed shortly by a Willys gasser. His first dragster was in partnership with Joel Purcell in the early ‘60s. He then joined “Stump” Davis and fellow honoree Don Moody when their Oldsmobile was replaced with the blown-Chrysler from Doc Magan’s “Golden Thing” drag boat. Next was an early Woody Gilmore chassis for the team of Broussard, Purcell, Davis and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. The Adams and McEwen “Shark car” was re-worked by Kent Fuller into the Broussard, Garrison, Davis and Ongais “Mangler” which raced successfully through the ’65 World Finals in Tulsa. Shortly thereafter, Roland Leong asked Danny to join the Hawaiian crew which he was part of for several years including racing the 426 Hemi-powered “Hawaiian Two” driven by Mike Sorokin.

 

 

 

Alumni Honoree Kent Fuller

 

 

 

 

The next to be recognized was Top Fuel driver Don Moody who first came to notoriety at the wheel of the Davis and Moody dragster that won Top Eliminator honors at Lions Drag Strip an incredible eight weeks in a row. In November 1962 Moody became the first to run a seven second e.t. at Pomona. He moved on to the Fuller, Zeuschel and Moody Top Fuel dragster until a serious crash at Lions in August 1964 put a temporary halt to his driving career. In the early ‘70s while working as general manager at Engle Cams, he returned to the wheel running low 6’s in the Cerny, Lins and Moody dragster. At the ’72 Supernationals at Ontario driving the Walton, Cerny and Moody rear engine machine, he was narrowly beaten into the 5-second bracket by Mike Snively’s 5.97, but won the event with a 5.91. During that season he went from 6.37 with a 392 Chrysler to a 5.91 with a 426 in less than a year’s time and won the $25,000 PRA Challenge in Tulsa. He later left Engle and operated Traco Racing Engines until his retirement and move to Thailand.

 

It seems at most any event there is one person who can put a black spot on it and in this case it was the younger Don Moody who was not even invited in the first place. Don now lives in Thailand and could not attend and asked his daughter Darielle to accept the award in his name. To her shock the rogue half brother showed up and not wanting to make a scene, she allowed him to go on stage with her. But it didn't end there. After the deal was over he grabbed the Wally, gathered up his stuff, and took off for home in Washington. He refuses to return the trophy.

 

 

Next to be honored was one of the best drag racing photographers of all time - Steve Reyes who went from being a 15-yr-old fan with an 8mm movie camera to perhaps the best known photographer in the history of drag racing. He began his career at Fremont Drag Strip near his Oakland home. In the beginning he sold prints to the racers, with an occasional submission to Drag News. In 1965 he sent photos of the March Meet to Drag Racing and Drag Strip magazines and his career was off and running. In 1967 he became NHRA’s Division 7 photographer and in 1970 moved to Los Angeles. Promotional work for Revell and Mattel led to a full time job with Argus Publishers in late 1973 where he did 70% of the cover photography and 85% of the inside color. After twenty years he returned to freelancing. The versatile Reyes branched out into shooting the National Hockey League as he continued to supply material to numerous automotive titles. He is now semi-retired living in Florida and has done a series of popular books featuring some of his greatest images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fourth honoree was the legendary "Jetcar Bob" Smith who began his drag racing career at the wheel of the Masters and Richter Olds-powered gasser at Fremont Raceway. He then moved on to Sid Waterman’s Chevy-powered gas dragster, Tom Prufer’s “Power King” fuel dragster and back to Waterman’s fuel car. He briefly drove a fuel dragster for Romeo Palamides until Romeo asked him to drive his “Untouchable” jet dragster. They toured the country for several years as one of the most popular exhibition attractions in drag racing, match racing fuel dragsters and other jets. Between bookings he continued to be a journeyman driver, behind the wheel of as many as three gas or fuel dragsters at one meet. Although he made hundreds of flawless passes, a series of spectacular accidents left him battered and broken. When asked why he got back in the jet after a particularly nasty crash, he replied “To pay the hospital bills for the last one!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final honoree was Walt Stevens who came out of that hot bed of drag racing talent on the west side of L.A. that included stars like Leonard Harris, Mickey Brown, Gene Adams and Craig Breedlove. In the mid-‘60s he was the original driver of the Childs and Albert “Addict” fuel dragster, shared driving chores on the experimental rear-engine “Piranha” with Connie Swingle, and drove Dick Stahl’s Hemi-Ford AA/FA roadster. In 1969-’70 he drove Jack McCloud’s “Poachers” Top Fuel car, one of the last successful front engine fuelers. He switched to Top Gas and in the last year of the category won the Winternationals driving Ken Theiss’ Chevy and Chrysler-powered “Odd Couple” dragster. He serves on the crew of the 2008 Heritage Series champion High Speed Motorsports Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster driven by Troy Green and currently enjoys taking the wheel of his former ride the “Poachers” dragster for Cacklefest events.

 

Walt had his built in fan club in the High Speed Motorsports team.

 

 

 

 

Walt's wife Maria, daughter Cynthia, and granddaughter Desiree.

 

 

 

The Wally wasn't all that awaited Walter. Paul Schavrien who owns the Poachers cacklecar which was originally driven by Stevens presented him with his own street sign and an exact copy of the helmet he wore in 1970 when he was driving the Poachers and Odd Couple Top Gas cars.

 

 

 

 

Last but not least was Grand Marshall, Jess Tyree is a stock and Funny Car veteran of over fifty years in the sport. Jess started drag racing in the early days of the Santa Ana Drags with a variety of vehicles including a ’38 Chevy. A few years later he raced a ’57 Plymouth Fury, was recognized for his ability and was asked to drive a new ’57 Pontiac. From 1957-’73 (except for a brief spell behind the wheel of a Mickey Thompson Ford Thunderbolt) it was always the GM brand earning Jess the nickname “Mr. Pontiac”. Through the early ‘60s, his A/Stock ’62 Catalina and A/FX ’63 Tempest were at the top of West Coast competition. He scored a big win with Super Stock class honors at the ’62 Winternationals driving a Mickey Thompson Pontiac Catalina. He went on to race a long series of Pontiac Funny Cars out of his successful Tyree Headers shop in Orange County beginning with the Tempest and moving on to ‘glass bodied Firebirds. In 1969 he was one of the first to take a Funny Car to Australia, and was a member of the Coca-Cola Funny Car Cavalcade of Stars touring the country in 1969 and ’70. After more than half a century of drag racing, Jess is still out there match racing and performing exhibitions around the country with the re-creation of his ’63 Tempest A/FXer.

 

After losing his wife this year, this was a very emotional deal for Jess.

 

But Big Mac managed to put a smile on his face and it turned into something very special. Tyree has been racing since the early 60s and he current ride is an eight second Pontiac that ran exhibition at the reunion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Its mine and I love it!"

 

Prudhomme signed the GBP art before it was auctioned off.

 

The Class of 2009

 

 

The last indoor function of the night was an auction to raise money for the museum.

 

 

Harry Hibler and the First Lady of Drag Racing, Linda Vaughn.

 

Don Ewald and LV finally realize that neither is a kid anymore.

 

The lovely Evelyn Fuller and the very talented Tom Hanna.

 

Moving outside to where Cacklefest officially begins and a handful of the debut cars were about to wake up the entire hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

Roland looked quite at home in the seat of his repopped (by Dave Jeffers) 1965 Hawaiian.

 

 

Rob Beattie was on hand to fire-up the Jim & Alison Lee "Great Expectations" restoration done by Bruce Dyda and owned by his dad Brian.

 

Paul "The Kid" Sutherland was on hand to fire Roger Lee's Brissette & Sutherland car. Obviously the fit isn't what it used to be which explains why he wasn't in the car for Cacklefest.

 

 

 

Not much on cackle but the big Arfons Allison did rumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Hawaiian came to life the nitrofest began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Dyda oversaw the Lee fire-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Sutherland in Roger Lee's Brissette & Sutherland fueler was voted best flames.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the headers! Roger damn near melted them off.

 

 

The Poachers was alive and well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One glowing header here too.

 

Donny Couch had Cruz hitting on all eight.

 

 

 

 

Jerry Ruth was back in the seat of his 1969 car recently restored by Bucky Austin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled Document

 
Introduction

Media Day

Honoree Awards & Hotel Cackles

A View From the Pits

Push Start Practice

Parade Part One

Parade Part Two

The Big Show - Part 1

The Big Show - Part 2

Photographer Contact Info

 


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