2012 HONOREES AWARDS
Prior to the ceremony there was
lots of mingling in the parking lot and halls of the Double Tree
Left to right: Betty & Hoover,
Carroll and Jim Brissette, Ivo and Ron Leek, who up until recently
was the owner of Rockford Dragway.
Grand Marshall and the new Executive
Director of the museum, Larry Fisher ham it up for the camera.
Bob Muravez, Bob Brissette
and Tom Jobe.
Muravez and Don Ewald book ended
by the Mallicoat Brothers.
If you're wondering why so many of us have the same shirt its
simple, Steve Gibbs and his Big Hook Traveling Acceleration Show,
had Spider Razon make up (on special order) a one time run of
"A Gathering of Geezers" CHRR Famoso MMXII Limited
Edition, Nitro Alumni shirts and they are BITCHIN!
Evelyn Fuller who always has
a smile on her face and hubby Kent who doesn't.
Honoree Jim Nicoll getting
Honoree Ed Sigmon's table.
The Justice Brothers Car Care
Products/TV Tommy Ivo Spotlight Award winners the Stags Rod and
Custom Club came en masse taking up three tables. They also had
a great presentation in The Grove at the track.
Opening up this year was Rick
Lalor representing AAA of SoCal, sponsor of Famoso Raceway and
Rick was followed by MC Dave
McClelland who introduced the new Executive Director of the museum,
Larry Fisher who was getting a baptism of fire taking on the
biggest museum event of the year before his office had pictures
on the wall.
A man who needed no introduction,
Steve Gibbs came up to give a surprise (and well deserved) award
to John and Blake Bowser without whom the CHRR would not be what
it is today.
They were presented the Wally
Parks NHRA Museum Board of Directors Award for their continuing
contributions to make the CHRR a better event and for their efforts
for drag racing in general.
This years Justice Brothers Car
Care Products/TV Tommy Ivo Spotlight Award shined on the Stags
Rod and Custom Club of Ogden, Utah. Founded by six young hot
rodders in 1957, the Stags was almost a carbon copy of Wally
Parks plan to gain respectability for hot rodding.
They have participated in NHRA
projects including the International Car Club Association in
the 1960s and were the subject of a Hot Rod Magazine salute in
1963. They maintain their own clubhouse and shop in Roy, Utah
and for years raced a blown-Chrysler powered 40 Ford coupe
in the supercharged Gas classes. Long-time member Jack Harris
is a multi-time winner of the Top Fuel category at the California
Hot Rod Reunion.
Dale Hammon accepeted
the award in behalf of the club.
First up was quarter-mile showman
T.V. Tommy Ivo, Grand Marshal of the 21st California Hot Rod
Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California.
"I'm like a kid in a candy
store since hearing the news," Ivo said. "I still can't
believe it but it'll sure be fun to join in the festivities as
it always is a great time at the Reunions."
Ivo's first drag race was 60
years ago in a 66 mph 52 Buick at Saugus Drag Strip. His
last race was 30 years ago on his farewell tour in his Showboat
four-engine Buick station wagon.
Tommy was always the "Best
in Show" on the quarter-mile bringing spectacular burnouts
and wild runs for drag racing fans throughout the 60s and 70s.
In between there were 36 different
cars in 12 different classes. His Model T street roadster earned
countless drag race and car show trophies, as well as magazine
features and movie appearances.
At about the same time his racing
career launched, Ivo had already starred in nearly 100 motion
pictures and more than 200 television programs, including Disney's
Mickey Mouse Club, My Little Margie, the Donna Reed Show, and
the Danny Thomas Show. His Hollywood fame, earned him the nickname
T.V. Tommy and he became the first touring professional.
Driving gas dragsters, he won
Top Gas at the first Bakersfield March Meet in 1959, was the
first to run under nine seconds, the first over 170 mph and the
first over 180 mph. In 1960 he was first to crisscross the country
with a nationwide season long tour.
Moving to the fuel ranks he was
first in the 7-second bracket and first to exceed 190 mph. He
won the 1964 British Drag Festival and he and Don Garlits match
raced as many as seventy two times in a single season.
He built, tuned, drove and maintained
his own equipment. In 1972 he became the first member of the
Cragar Five Second Club and survived a horrific 240 mph crash
at Pomona without a scratch. When dragster popularity waned in
the mid-70s, Ivo switched to Funny Cars, and finally a
state of the art jet dragster.
He is one of NHRAs Top
50 Drivers and won Top Gas at the first Bakersfield March Meet
in 1959, was the first to run under nine seconds, the first over
170 mph and the first over 180 mph. After 30 years of drag racing
he retired, leaving behind a legacy of professionalism and showmanship
that paved the way for the corporate sponsorships of today and
making him the perfect California Hot Rod Reunion Grand Marshal.
If you know your hero and mine
then you would expect a taste of Ivo's legendary story telling
and he did not disappoint.
"I AM THE GRAND
The honorees were introduced
in alphabetical order starting with the Brissette Brothers, Bob and Jim. Both
have etched their names into racing history. Jim more so in drag
racing and Bob in the LSR world.
If you know anything about the
wild gas/supercharged classes then you know the exploits and
success of the
Mallicoat Brothers. The Prescott, Ariz. natives started racing
in the 1960s and kicked their careers off right, winning back-to-back
NHRA Winternationals titles in the B/GS classes. The '65 victory
was especially memorable as it was the first time a turbo-charged
race car was successful at an NHRA event.
them throughout the '70s and '80s as they ran the Top Alcohol
Funny Car class. In the '90s, the Mallicoats moved to Nostalgia
with the Goodguys and the NHRA Heritage classes, most recently
earning the 2006 Good Guys AA/GS titles.
There are only a handful of true
drag racing legends and Jim "Superman" Nicoll is undisputably
in that group.
Like Ivo, Nicoll is a great story
teller. He may not as eloquent as TV, but his tales of drag racings
wild days are equally as funny.
Marv Ripes is
a long-time competitor with some 60+ years of racing experience.
As a driver, Marvin won several NHRA National championships and
a multitude of regional titles, and set performance standards
in a variety of classes.
Now retired from
active competition, Ripes channels his considerable racing knowledge
to A-1 customers all over the world. Marvin participates in ongoing
research and development to assist A-1 in continually producing
items that represent the best in class performance. His expertise
in the fields of engine tuning, building and refinement make
him a valuable asset to the racing community and to A-1 Performance
Very few people have made more
runs down a quarter mile than Ed Sigmon, and for just about every
run that he has made his car has carried the name "Snarpeezel"
on it. So, when Big Mac asked, just what is Snarpeezel? "I
have no idea," he said with a laugh. "When I had one
of my earlier cars built I told the painter to put something
on it that would look cool. He came up with the idea of this
little animal that look like it was haulin', well, you know.
And if you look closely, it has five feet." No wonder it
hauls, with five feet it ought to be fast. And no wonder Ed's
car does, too, especially after years of racing in and around
the Southern California area.
Sigmon shared his award
with his long time crew chief.
To wrap things up, John Ewald
and Bill Pitts presented Marie Cochran a modified Pete Millar
cartoon crowning her as ground zero for the phenomenon we now
The fact she virtually forced
Mr. C to unload all his left over racing parts so she could finally
have her garage back created a monster. Bill Pitts was the lucky
recipient of a multitude of early hemi and driveline parts that
enabled him to make his Magicar a runner. When he showed up at
the 1998 CHRR with a restored car that actually ran ignited a
fire that has yet to burn out.
By selling these parts at a price
Gary can only wince at now to Pitts, she truly became ground
zero and as such was honored. No one will ever know how many
bank accounts were mortally wounded as a result, but the fact
is we now have well over 150 restored and recreated vintage dragsters
from coast to coast that are distant cousins to that garage in
Fountain Valley, CA.
Speaking for thousands of racers
and fans, we thank you Marie Cochran.
Cindy Gibbs gave a last PR pitch
for the Nitro Alumni silent auction that was set up at the track.
Every year new or special cars
are selected to fire-up in the parking lot of the DoubleTree
Hotel following the awards ceremony. Because Tommy Ivo was the
Grand Marshall it was a no brainer to pick Ron Johnson's recreation
of his Barnstormer as one of the cars.
Also chosen was the incredible
Roger Lee recreation of the Masters & Richter 1963 fuel dragster.
Benny Osborn was on hand with
his restored 1970 Top Fuel car.
And for the first time a rear
engine dragster took center stage. The spot on restoration of
Terry Capp's 1975 "Wheeler Dealer" became the exception
to the rule that cacklecars have the engine in front of the driver.
Terry and his long time partner Wes Van Dusen came down from
Edmonton, Alberta Canada to take in this special honor.
Roger Lee took the seat
of his M&R recreation.
took the seat of his fueler and you can tell by the photo, rattled
a lot of ears. Osborn, who wanted nothing to do with drag racing
as of 2008, has turned into one of its biggest supporters.
I'm a little partial to Terry
and his team as, when I was at Keith Black's, they were not only
customers but friends. My trips up to Edmonton and the rum &
coke world of Wheeler Dealer Speed Shop are stuff Ivo stories
are made of. Back then the now, well known Bernie Fedderly was
Capp's crew chief and close friend (still is). while VanDusen
(in car shirt) maintained the hospitality end.
Capp did run a very stout FED
(Nitro Express) that rarely ventured into the states but his
blue, silver and red Woody RED is among the most photo graphed
cars in the 70's. In 1980 he followed Jerry Ruth's lead and took
delivery of a new Swindal car that would take him to a U.S. Nationals
win... the crowning jewel in his long career. Oh yea, he eats
glass but that's a story for another time.
Engine wiz Rick McDonald made
sure that Ron Johnson's Barnstormer was alive a well for the
one and only TV Tommy Ivo.
This might be Ivos final Drag
Racing "First", as it's the first time any
car has been at the Doubletree fireup twice.
The highly regarded race car
letterer Bob Thompson asked Ron Johnson if he could recreate
the look of the helmet Ivo wore when he drove the Barnstormer.
Here it is. Ivo was thrilled!
The Barny Gang: Jesus Ricardo
Vasquez (Richard), Connie Johnson Braun, Kol Johnson, My Hero
and Yours, Rick MacDonald and the ring leader, Ron Johnson.
we'll start with the most wanted list ... Paul Hutchins, Glen
Cupit and photog Dan Kaplan.
Roger "Rice Man"
Lee and the unstoppable Isky.
Some of the many Australian fans:
Jude Preen, Steve Thomas, Ross Preen, Stevie ( Wombat ) Brown,
Paul Hurst, Wayne Bezant. The CHRR is the most internationally
attended event in drag racing.
Ken and Dave Hirata
and Ground Zero (Marie Cochran)
Beers and Mike English
Jim Hume, Wayne King
and Big Jon Johnson of the Gas House Gang
Jeffers, Spider Razon and Jim Moser
Wayne King and Jim Hume
Rick MacDonald and the Greek's grand daughter, Krista Baldwin.
Jim Rodarmel, John "Tarzan"
Austin and Paul Hutchins
Tarzan, what can I say?
Manny Maldonado and Larry