Every story has a beginning and
for me the trek to The Patch is 600 miles from my front door
in Grants Pass, Oregon to Gate 1 at Famoso. I make this drive
twice a year. Once in March (go figure) and again in October.
What I'll get at the end is pretty much a constant but in between
is the proverbial box of chocolates weather wise. This year myself
and good bud Dan Kaplan left GP at 7 a.m. Wednesday and by the
time we reached Sacramento (1st In N Out stop) we'd been through
rain, wind, fog and patches of sun. From there on it was windy
but dry. Aside from the stretch on I-5 from Red Bluff to Sac
it's a pretty scenic drive.
This first page
is literally a hodgepodge of pit shots from the weekend... no
rhyme or reason at all just an overview of some of the players.
Pulling in the pits, even on
Thursday, it was apparent that the cacklecar count was going
to be huge. They were given about 1/5th of the entire Famoso
pit area starting at the staging lanes. One of the early arrivals
was Cacklefest.com owner Ron Johnson and his two cars.
A short rocks throw away
was the Yeakel camp.
John Dearmore breaking
in a new driver.
Tom Hanna and Steve Gibbs
Gibbs, Geno and Harley
Mike English and Rick
With over 75 fuel dragsters on
the grounds it wasn't hard to find a static start. Here Rick
McDonald helps get the new Walt Prufer "Power King"
car dialed in.
This Hays clutch vividly
illustrates the actual size of the fully functional Ardun.
Ron Bement was on hand again
with his amazing mini-engines including and Ardun and an Offy.
These are truly works of art.
Jerry Ruth was on hand to drive
his newly restored 1969 Don Long car. Like his 1970 car, this
too was restored by Bucky Austin.
Them good ol' rat rod
NHRA Museum pit featured two
of the new cars - the Lou Baney owned, Don Prudhomme driven Shelby
Super Snake and the Arfons Allison powered car.
Don Prudhomme and Art
One of the most anticipated debuts
was the Brian Beattie owned Jim & Alison Lee "Great
Expectations" restoration done at Dyda Race Eng. Beattie
found the basic car in a barn several years ago and once it was
confirmed it was the Lee's piece he got their blessings to restore
it to its former glory. And as usual, Dyda nailed it.
The rear tires were actually
run on this car in 1970.
Poison Ivy static start. with
Dominic Cardoza in the seat. Dom was a Bean Bandit and raced
in the 60's, primarily in the San Diego nexus.
Rumor has it that Tommy Larkin
sold the Weiss & Larkin AA/GD and this appears to be the
Pete Eastwood static
fired his Samurai.
Legendary chassis builder Kent
Fuller was just one of the hundred of legends who signed the
Project 1320 - Pioneers
of the Quarter Mile banner.
Old time Texas racer and chassis
builder Boogie Scott signed next. Over the weekend over 200 pre
70s drag racing figures signed the banner that went to the SEMA
show following the CHRR.
Speaking of autographs, Rip Whiley
has been hauling this digger nose from coast to coast for two
Camp Bucky had five entrants
Natalie Wiley was caught walking
a "new" blower for their Stephens & Venables car
over to Mike Kuhl. Trust me, they don't get any more stock than
this one. Like right off the bus engine stock. Speaking of bus
engines, I can attest to the fact that there were many Long Beach
city busses, trucks, tractors etc. that didn't start on a Monday
morning. You figure it out....
Preston Davis and friends came
west with four cars in one of the biggest non commercial rigs
many of us have ever seen.
Two of the driving forces
behind Cacklefest - Bill Pitts and Ron Johnson.
Jerry Ruth holding court
for Tom Hanna, Tom Cirello and Bob Creitz.
Another newbee was the Colorado
based Kaiser Bros. These guys were hard core and very good drag
racers throughout the 60s and 70s.
Don Prudhomme brought out the
ultimate cacklecar rig with his fully restored Hot Wheels rig
from 1970 that is rumored to have 6 figures in it. The original
window sticker for the truck and the custom upgrade was less
than $6,000.00. What a difference 39 years makes.
Prudhomme, very proud of his
rig, gave NHRA announcer Bob Frey the grand tour.
A classic shot of Tim Beebe adjusting
the valves on Dave West's Beebe & Mulligan cacklecar.
The two cars that started
Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson
warm up for Cacklefest.
Roger Lee warmed up his
new toy with Ken Riley in the car.
Don Prieto tweaked his
Roger Lee doing some
maintenance on his Brissette car.
A static start offers
a good look at Tom Hanna's very trick injection system.
George Bothoff was one
of the many cars inhabiting The Grove.
Tommy "The Watchdog"
Allen debuted his unique Woody Trick Car.
Roger Lee's Brissette
& Sutherland entry was yet another debut.
Glen Cupit in his newly restored
Cupit & Cunningham Chevy fueler out of Louisiana.
The Schrank Bros. entry
was readied for Cacklefest from their spot in The Grove.
Two historic Woody Cars, Brissette
was the 5th car ever off the jig and Lou Baney's car was #10
out of Race Car Engineering which went on to build hundreds of
dragsters and funny cars.
With the likes of T.C. Lemon,
John "Tarzan" Austin, Dale Funk, Bob Creitz, "Fats"
and Spider around there was no shortage of fall on the ground
funny stories and exchanges.
Yet another debut was the fabled
Adams Wayre & Mulligan Woody car from 1967. This brought
back a ton of memories - especially for all us SoCal racers.
One of the many Vipe photo opps
was the Vipe taking photos. On Friday John Ewald put photographer
Rick Shute into his Mastercar for a fire-up and on his way to
the car Rick handed Don his camera and told him to take his picture.
Steve Reyes and Dave Kommel were also on hand.
Don was clearly perplexed with
this big black thing in his hands. But to his credit, after a
crash course from John Ewald and Kommel he did take some shots.
No report on how they came out.
Steve Reyes told Shutz
to not wimp out.
Ivo in the Cupit &
Art Chrisman tweaking
his Hustler I.
Automotive author Tom Cotter
is writing a book about TV Tom so he tried out the Barnstormer
up close and personal.
Roland Leong was on hand for
the debut of his Dave Jeffers repopped 1965 Hawaiian.
A new twist to this years Cacklefest
was Herm Petersen's Cackle Thunder Contest. Entrants paid $25.00
a car and after they were placed on the pre determined marks
the engines were fired and their decibel level was recorded by
two meters (below). The first 3 "loudest" cars won
trophies provided by DragCARTOONS.
The first car up was the Ewald
Bros. BankAmericar with photog Steve Wallace in the seat. (photo
credits are Randy Webster his camera)
After the fuel was checked (90%
maximum) the car was put on the chalk marks made so all the cars
headers would be the same distance from the meters.
Ash Marshall's "Scorcher"
Childs & Albert Addict
took its turn.
Keeping with the photographer
in the seat theme, shooter Dave Kommel was in the Mastercar for
Next out was the Roger Gates
AA/FD owned by Dennis Fenstermaker. The lone Chevy on the field
went on to be the surprise winner. All the hemi guys chalked
it off the the totally different harmonics of the wedge head.
Dave West entered his
Beebe & Mulligan car. Loud but no cigar.
The Kaiser Bros. took full advantage
of their first Cacklefest and gave it a shot with their 1967
The Cross-Mann-King Jr. Fueler
just wanted to see how they stacked up with the big kids.
Then Herm fired his own car (which
was not an official contestant) and even he couldn't beat the
Bill Pitts "Magicar"
also fell short.
The last entrant was Tom Hanna
who did make a lot of cackle but was disqualified for a fuel
violation - he had 98% in the tank.
Herm Petersen presented the winners
(Gates & Fenstermaker) the trophy & cash.
Event sponsors, Orah
Mae and Robyn Millar.
No clue - just a cool
shot from the pits.
Team Hanna didn't make any friends
when they came in with bags of In N Out burgers and didn't bring
enough for everybody.
The Kaiser Bros. tried to finance
their trip from Colorado with this huge parts sale in their pit.
They did have a lighter rig on the way home.
Sunday morning Greg Sharp awarded
Tom Hanna, Bob Creitz and Butch Maas with the 2009 Cacklefest
Outstanding Presentation award give to a car that best typifies,
overall, the era.
Then there's the end result of
Bob Hirsch's third attempt to start during Cacklefest. Even with
the mag off there was enough nitro in the cylinder to hydraulic,
explode and send some scrap metal into the stands. This is one
of the issues that will be seriously addressed before next year.
The last fire ups of the weekend
on Sunday afternoon found photographer Bob Brown in the Mastercar
and Cindy Gibbs Arias in the BankAmericar.
Bob is having a thrill
of a lifetime but...
Cindy is REALLY enjoying
Read between the lines....
A little different end
Big still does it all.