Track and museum sponsor
AAA was represented by Rick Lalor.
the SRO room to settle, MC Dave McClelland got things rolling.
After being introduced,
Greg Sharp got somewhat embarrassed with a surprise Happy Birthday
When Tom Ivo and Ed Justice Jr.
come out you know its time for the Justice Bros. Car Care Products
Spotlight Award for a contribution to the early days of drag
racing and continued dedication to the sport.
The 2011 winners were
more than deserving - the Chrisman family led by Art.
Lana Chrisman, daughter of Jack
Chrisman, Mike Chrisman (Art's only kid), Steve Chrisman son
of Jack and of course, Art.
For those who have been following
Art's health battles, it was nothing short of a miracle that
he was able to be here at all.
A few years ago The Surfers were
honored - Bob Skinner and Tom Jobe, but with Mike Sorokin no
longer with us he was not included per se. That was corrected
this year when Mike's son, Adam took home his dads Wally.
The first Honoree from
the Class of 2011 was Harry Hibler.
Hand Grenade Harry
Hibler has been involved
in all aspects of hot rodding and drag racing. He started as
a tech inspector at San Fernando Drag Strip under co-managers Frank Huszar and Darrell
Morgan from 1955 until 1960 when he became the strip manager
for owner Bill Hannon. There was a 3:30 noise curfew imposed
by the city and Harry became famous for being able to run eight-car
Top Fuel, Top Gas and Little Eliminator shows every Sunday and
get it done in three hours. Also, with an airport right next
door, there was the occasional wayward airplane to deal with.
Harry was also known as the racers hero because he was always
able to hustle up tools, oil or spark plugs to supplement the
racers winnings and even some occasional cash to get home on.
The Hand Grenade title came from his driving career
and the explosive nature of some of his rides. He did however,
finish as Top Fuel runner-up to Tony Nancy, one of his closest
friends, at the 1970 Bakersfield March Meet. After San Fernando
closed in 1970, he moved into the publishing industry at Petersen
Publishing for nearly thirty years. During that time he was responsible
for considerable growth in the companys magazines including
Hot Rod, Car Craft and Circle Track. He served three terms on
the SEMA Board of Directors, is a member of the SEMA Hall of
Fame and is on the selection board of the Drag Racing Hall of
Wayne King is another one of those tough Fuel Racers
that came out of Bakersfield. His first Smokers trophy
was won in his six cylinder 51 Chevy, but he soon served
as a crewman before driving the Martins Market Modified
Roadster. With Martin and Roger Coburn he built a fuel Chevy
dragster which held No. 6 on the Drag News Mr. Eliminator
list. In 1961 he helped Ernie Hashim with a Stuckey-chassied
Sorrell-bodied Top Fuel dragster that became the M&H Tires
test car. In 1963 he was hired by Chuck Doss and Del Clayton
of Santa Maria to drive the former Eds Muffler dragster.
The team of Doss, Clayton and King was born and won many races
up and down the California coast. In 1965 Ed Donovan hired him
to drive and they won the 1965 PDA Championship at Lions over
150 Top Fuel dragsters. When drivers all had animal nicknames,
Ralph Guldahl named him The Peregrine and it stuck.
He worked as a machinist for Donovan Engineering for three years
and calls it a tremendous learning experience. King also drove
for Bakersfield racers Bill Crossley, Chuck Holloway, Warren
and Crowe, and Tony Waters. After a brief episode with a Funny
Car, he moved to Washington in 1971 and won the Division 6 Pro
Comp Championship. He attended the first CHRR with his Doss,
Clayton and King dragster and has since become a regular participant
in CHRR Cacklefests
John Peters came out of the Venice and West L.A.
area that produced such legendary hot rodders as Leonard Harris,
Gene Adams, Stu Hilborn and the Surfers. He was an employee of
Engle Cams for over twenty years and began racing
with a Willys sedan gasser. He is of course, best known for the
Freight Train twin-engine gas dragster, perhaps the
most dominant in the sports history. The list of accomplishments
and superlatives is endless: First over 180, 190 and 200 mph
on gas, first in the 7s, and first in the 6s. Although
John was listed as the driver who won the 63 Winternationals
for years, he never drove and was actually covering up for Bob
Muravezs family situation which forbade him to drive. Including
Muravez, thirteen different drivers took the wheel of the Train,
including Bob Brissette, Craig Breedlove, Tom McEwen, Mickey
Thompson, Goob Tuller and Sam Davis. Today John and his family
operate Freight Train Racing Engines in Northern California.
Peters and his wife Bev restored the Freight Train in the early
90s and have been active participants in Hot Rod Reunions
both in Bakersfield and Bowling Green.
Dwight Salisbury began his career driving a 34
coupe altered for his club the Bel Airs of Glendale. He built
his own Top Fuel car in the mid-60s based on a series of articles that ran in Hot Rod
Magazine. Over a twenty year career he successfully made the
transition from front engine to rear engine dragsters. He appeared
in three national event finals and won the 1973 Bakersfield March
Meet Top Fuel title. Hes joined the Cragar Five Second
Club with a 5.97 run at Pomona during the 74 Winternationals
driving his own Salisburys Stake dragster. He toured nationally
with the Smothers Bros. /Beach Boys car, and also drove for Gaines
Markley, Jim and Alison Lee and Ray Fisher. He built and tuned
his own engines and had a reputation as one of the sports best
George Santos drag racing career dates back to the
1950s when he teamed with his brother-in-law Hank Vincent to
race the famed streamlined Top Banana dragster. An ad in the November 58
issue of Hot Rod Magazine proclaimed the Top Banana as the Worlds
Fastest Chevy at 161.87 mph using George Santos 306
cu. in. Chevy. His S&S Automotive located in the San
Francisco Bay Area, became renowned for its prowess with the
small block Chevrolet. He built a small-block-Chevy-powered Top
Alcohol dragster in 1984 which his son Rick drove to their first
win at the 86 Winternationals. The car went on to seriously
challenge the Hemi-dominated category until it was parked when
NHRA made a rule change requiring them to add 120 pounds to their
combination. George was semi-retired from S&S but remains
one of the top Chevrolet experts on the West Coast when he passed
away just a week before the 2011 CHRR.
His award was presented to his
MARSHAL - STEVE GIBBS
Since the California
Hot Rod Reunion was principally his idea, it's most appropriate
that Steve Gibbs has been named Grand Marshal of the 20th Annual
event. He began his drag racing career in 1961 working part time
at San Gabriel and Fontana Drag Strips numbering cars, fill-in
announcing and submitting articles to Drag News. When Gibbs became
assistant manager of Irwindale Raceway in the mid-60s,
his former career plans in art and journalism were forgotten.
He ran staging in the heyday of the Smokers March Meets
when six Top Fuel dragsters would be lit at the same time; two
on the starting line, two waiting to stage and two on the fire-up
road. In 1969, he joined NHRA as advertising director of National
Dragster. A year later when NHRA increased its national event
schedule, Big Hook was appointed assistant to Event Director
Jack Hart. Through the years his role grew and his creative innovation
in safety, track preparation, and event scheduling played a major
role in the growth of NHRA drag racing. In the early 1990s
he formed NHRA Historical Services to gather material and provide
the genesis that led directly to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum where he served as its first Executive Director. In 1991
he received the prestigious Car Craft Ollie Award for career-long
contributions to the sport and was inducted into the International
Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Today hes semi-retired
and serves as a board member of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Steve's biggest fan in
his mother, Selma.
Rose Dickinson, Manager of Marketing
and Advertising at the museum presented Steve with his Wally.
Before Steve got off the stage
John Ewald presented him with a real surprise. He had the cowl
of his Mastercar AA/FD wrapped in a "Big Hook" motif
and that would be on the car when Gibbs did a push start on Sunday.
Mario Garcia, John, Steve
and Cynthia Carpenter.
Backing up, here are
a few shots taken before the ceremonies started.
Selma Grana, Steve, Cindy
and Gloria (aka Gordy).
and Fast Jack
Ronnie Heir & Hank Bender
Bill Holland and Ron
Cindy Arias Gibbs and
Mooneyham and Art Chrisman
Beckman and Gary Guinn
King and long time WCM
crewman Dale "Baby Huey" Jones.
Muravez and Rose Pohorely better known as Rosebud of the Museum.
Marie and Gary Cochran
John Force and
Steve flanked by Steve's grandchildren, Jason Arias and Kami
and Kayla Rusk
that goes way back - Ivo and Hibler
Kimberly Snively, Dorothy
Mooneyham and Kim's mom.
Ivo, Broussard, Kuhl,
R. Hampshire, Razon and J. Hampshire
Conrad setting up his next shot.
Braun and Marie Cochran
banner was open for autographs like John Force.
Youngblood and Ed Pink
Donna Crowther, Sharp
Kenny Hirata, Roland
Leong and Dale Emery
Yea, I was young and
clean shaven - once.
Hibler flanked by the
Hampshire brothers, Ronnie and Jeep.
Hirata, Suzi, Pam and
Andy Brizio and Dode
Martin - a ton of history here.
Gary Cochran and Kent
Rick McDonald, Ron Johnson
and Paul Hutchins.
ceremonies everybody wandered out to the parking lot for the
first "cackle" of the weekend.
The legendary Isky and Morrie
Carlton, one of the original drivers of the Banshee who came
up from Australia just for the weekend with his friend Jennifer
Watson. This was a gold moment, Morrie and Isky were discussing
cam profiles and Isky was drawing pictures on the slick with
his cigar.....just priceless really.
better than your picture....
McWilliams, her son Dave and his girlfriend Caitlyn.
Austin, "Jungle Pam" Hardy, Kenny Youngblood and Don
Dan Kaplan and Kenny
Joel Gruzen and Wayne
Phillips who oversees operations at the museum.
Before the real
deal, Bob Frey tried the seat in the Gruzen Cagle/Newhouse fuel
Wake up all you weary
travelers in the hotel...
Mark Williams was in
the Rice & Williams fueler.
Ray Lake was in the Cook &
Bedwell car. It took a few tries to light but once it did you
couldn't miss the unique sound of nitro through carbs.
Dave Gruzen in the seat
of the Cagle/Newhouse roadster.
The Preen family had one of the
original Banshee drivers, Morrie Carlton in the car with Rick
MacDonald on the tune up.
Bill Tidwell got the seat in
the McEwen Tirend car. The Kuhl hemi lit for a few seconds then
shut off due to a fuel leak.
And with that we'll go back to