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Honoree Awards & Hotel Cackles

 

Bakersfield, CA - 10/20/14: The 23rd edition of the California Hot Rod Reunion disappointed no one. It lived up to its rock star billing and then some. The three day weekend featured Chamber of Commerce weather, record crowds, great racing and tons of cacklecars. There was no doubt that Auto Club Famoso Raceway operators Blake and John Bowser had their facility ready for what was one of the largest CHRR's ever.

Unlike the March Meet, the CHRR is a reunion that includes a race. Its a place and time where old friends meet, new friends are made and those no longer with us honored. A huge part of the history/friendship aspect is the now legendary original Cacklefest® now in its 14th year. And as in years past, the sheer numbers of restored and recreated dragsters and altereds grew to over 80 in attendance.

Add to that the hard working folks from the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum and the crew at Famoso insured those in attendance enjoyed 3 full days of great racing, tons of cacklecars and the reason the reunion started in the first place, friends getting together while we still can.

For the third year in a row a silent auction to benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum was held by the Nitro Alumni. 130 unique and rare items went on the block and the end result was over $20,000 to benefit a great cause, that being keeping the museum up and running to preserve our history.

Another tradition is Friday night at the CHRR which is one of drag racings major social events of the year. Hosted at the DoubleTree Hotel, the California Hot Rod Reunion Honoree Reception always draws the who's-who of drag racing.

This reception was free and was followed by the traditional DoubleTree parking lot "Cacklefest Preview" that kicks off the official start of Cacklefest. We will start at the beginning and share some of what went on inside before the cacklecars started outside.

 

 

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2014 HONOREES AWARDS CEREMONIES
& CACKLEFEST KICK-OFF

Prior to the ceremony there was lots of mingling in the parking lot and halls of the Double Tree Hotel.

 

Greeting the reception attendees was the just completed restoration of Tommy Ivo's first glass sided trailer. Purchased and restored by Ron Johnson to haul his Tommy Ivo Barnstormer dragster, and hooked on to a period correct Cadillac tow car, the rig was a perfect presentation from 50 years ago.

Ron Johnson and TV Tom

 

 

In the hotel lobby guests were greeted with Hugh Tuckers AA/MR and the Cortopassi & Butler "Glass Slipper".

 

 

 

Bit of history here.... Roland Leong, Don Prudhomme, Ivo and Kenny Hirata.

 

Hugh Tucker, John Rasmussen, Prudhomme and Ed Pink.

 

Bud Rasner, Bob Brooks family and Dennis Taylor.

 

Mike Dunn and Dan Kaplan

 

Bob Frey, Sharon Muravez, Marty Woods from Australia and Mike Goyda

 

Mike English and Gary Christensen

 

Team Magicar: Vince Yamasaki, Bill Pitts and Dennis

 

Del and Chuck Worsham

 

Cynthia Ewald and Orah Mae Millar

 

Evelyn Fuller, Ivo, Kent Fuller and Don Tubbs

 

 

Gary and Marie Cochran

 

 

Louie Senter

 

Dellie Reath with the Brooks family.

 

 

 

Dennis Holding, Jim Fox and Sid Waterman.

 

 

 

 

Greg Sharp, Donna Crowther and Don Irvin.

 

 

John Ewald, Linda Vaughan and Nevaeh

 

 

Roland and Suzi

 

Dellie Reath and Dunn. Over the years Mike's dad, Jim was partners with Joe Reath on more than one race car.

 

Cliff Bedwell, Ray Lake and Isky

 

Dunn with wife Sandy. Granddaughter Kailey was on hand as well.

 

 

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Grand Marshall Mike Dunn

 

Honoree the late Bob Brooks

 

Honorees brothers Ed and Roy Cortopassi and Doug Butler

 

Honoree Hugh Tucker

 

Honoree Dennis Varni

 

Honoree Sid Waterman

 

(Pencil Art done by Shannon Olson)

 

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With regular MC Dave McClelland sidelined this year, Bob Frey did a masterful job of filling in.

 

 

Larry Fisher, celebrating his second anniversary as the Executive Director of the museum.

 

Tommy Ivo came up to introduce this years TV Tommy Ivo Spotlight Award shined on long-lived The Bay Area Roadsters. Ray Lenz and Tom Walsh accepted on behalf of the club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A man who needed no introduction, Steve Gibbs who introduced the “Golden Age” Award to the Cook & Bedwell Fuel Dragster.

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Lake, owner of Cook & Bedwell Isky-U-Fab Special replica dragster. He was a crew member on original car in mid 1950’s. Cliff Bedwell was the partner with Emery Cook on the original car and now lives in New Zealand.

 

 

 

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HONOREES

 

Bob Brooks

Like many who became successful businessmen in the hot rodding aftermarket industry, Brooks gained his initial experience as a racer, having campaigned a variety of front-engine dragsters in the 1960s. He was a regular competitor on the Southern California scene and a member of the Mickey Thompson 200 MPH Club. Brooks’ visionary skills contributed to major performance advancements in drag racing; among his efforts were helping to develop the lockup clutch for Top Fuel and Funny Car applications and introducing the smaller and more efficient multi-disc clutches to Pro Stock. Brooks passed away Aug. 29, 2014. He was 73.

 

Accepting for Brooks posthumously was safety expert and close friend, Dennis Taylor.

 

 

 

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Brothers Ed and Roy Cortopassi & Doug Butler

After a couple of street rods and a radical competition coupe, brothers Ed and Roy Cortopassi decided the next project would be theirs from the ground up. In January 1954, with two lengths of aluminum channel, they began construction on the car that is credited as the first streamlined and enclosed-cockpit dragster, the Glass Slipper. Finished in 1955 with flathead power, it reached 181 mph at Bonneville. A Chevy transplant in 1956 took it to the second NHRA Nationals, where it scored top speed for a Chevy-powered entry. It was voted Americas Most Beautiful Competition Car at the 1957 Oakland Roadster Show.

Doug Butler joined them later that year as a partner in the 301-cid unblown Chevy engine and has been part of the team since. In late 1972, Hot Rod magazine pulled it from the Cortopassi garage, arguably giving birth to the nostalgia drag racing movement. In 2009, Ed made his final run at Sacramento Raceway. He passed away Aug. 5, 2014 at the age of 79.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hugh Tucker

A select group of racers are best known for their success with one particular car, and such was the case with Tucker and his unique Chevy street roadster. He immediately gained a tremendous following with Oldsmobile fans by running a 400-cid Rocket 88 engine, and after switching from carburetors to a supercharger, Tucker and the Chevy roadster became unbeatable. Tucker swept both class and Little Eliminator honors at the 1962 Winternationals and came back the next year to score in Junior Eliminator at the Winternationals and Middle Eliminator at the Bakersfield March Meet, and he won again at the March Meet in 1964. Tucker sold the car in 1969 and retired from racing to spend more time with his family. After discovering his old roadster in a barn in 1997, he restored the entry with the help of his son, Hugh Jr., and regularly displays it at reunions and national events.

 

 

 

 

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Dennis Varni

Varni has been referred to as “a hot rodder’s hot rodder” and “Captain Fun,” during his life and these names fit him perfectly. At 13, he bought his first Model A for $45, money he earned by picking prunes and selling his train set. Learning as he went, by 1964, the roadster was nice enough for him to join the Bay Area Roadsters, and 50 years later, he’s still a member. Following a stint in the service, he went to work for Goodies Speed Shop, rising to general manager of the entire chain. In the late 1960s, starting with a $25 frame and $100 body, he built a state-of-the-art ’29 highboy roadster. After logging many thousands of miles during its first 20 years, it was rebuilt and named America’s Most Beautiful Roadster in 1992. It has since been driven more than 50,000 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sid Waterman

As one of the elite mechanical minds to emerge from the Northern California drag racing scene, Waterman enjoyed tremendous success throughout the years as a team campaigner and engine builder before devoting his focus to revolutionizing nitro-burning fuel systems. Waterman got his start as a helper for the Masters & Richter team in the early 1960s, and after buying a Kent Fuller chassis, he teamed with Masters & Richter to run its engine after its car had crashed. After moving to Southern California, Waterman split his time between working for various companies and racing on weekends with a different driver every night. By the late 1970s, most of the Top Fuel teams were building their own engines, so Waterman got out of that business and opened his fuel system operation, and his innovations have played a major role in the development of todays 300-mph marvels.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike Dunn

Second-generation drag racer Dunn has grown up around the sport. The son of “Big Jim’ Dunn, he blazed his own path in the sport and amassed 22 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series victories in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. One of his most recognized wins is his 1986 Funny Car victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the worlds most prestigious drag race.

Dunn earned his Top Alcohol Funny Car license in his dad’s car in 1976, began racing nitro Funny Cars in 1980, and scored his first major win in one of Roland Leong’s Hawaiian Funny Cars in 1981. He went on to record 10 Funny Car wins through 1991 and added 12 victories in Top Fuel from 1993 to 2001.

Dunn was named driver for Darrell Gwynn’s race team in 1993. After working with crew chief Frank Bradley through 1996, he was tuned to four victories by Ken Veney in as many final-round appearances in 1999 and named the Car Craft All-Star Top Fuel Driver of the Year. The team received prestigious backing from the New York Yankees at the end of 2000, and Dunn left the operation when the team dissolved in mid-2001.

With all premium rides taken for the 2002 season, Dunn signed a one-year contract to do color commentary for ESPN. Though the role began as a temporary stint, Dunn’s vast racing background, considerable insight, and enthusiasm led to a new career, which has given him even more recognition. Currently at each of the 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, Dunn showcases his vast knowledge of the sport and has become one of drag racings premier announcers as the lead analyst for the ESPN2 telecasts.

 

 

Dunn, no stranger to a mic, literally held court for nearly 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Every year new or special cars are selected to fire-up in the parking lot of the DoubleTree Hotel following the awards ceremony. This years picks of the litter included the debut of the beautiful 1966 Tom Hoover Woody/Hanna "Fishbowl Car" restored by Steve Andersen.

The debut of the restored 1966 "Atlas Oil Tool Spec." of Tom Scott and Keith Brednich.

The debut of the Mailliard Automotive Eng. sidewinder of Jack Gillett.

After several years of absence, the restored Tony Nancy's 1970 "Sizzler" Top Fueler car owned by John Neas made another appearance.

And the award winning Cook & Bedwell Isky-U-Fab recreation of Ray Lake was back for its second consecutive year.

 

 

Eily Stafford was in the Cook & Bedwell car.

 

 

Don Hampton was in the Atlas seat.

 

 

 

 

The legendary Harry Hibler was in the Tony Nancy car.

 

 

Bob Frey introduced the cars while Gibbs scanned the area for any potential problems before he gave the start-up signal to the first car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anderson family; Larry, Jessica, Brad in back, Kali, Rachelle and Chris.

 

Sue & Andy Brizio, Ed & Sylvia Pink, ??? and Bud Barnett.

 

Isky and Kenny Youngblood

 

Cindy Gibbs Arias

 

Louie Senter, Gene Winfield and Cliff Bedwell

 

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Bill Simpson, Dan Broussard, Spider Razon and Walt Stevens

 

Heather Roberts and Terry Capp

 

Don Ewald, Isky and Simpson

 

Mike Kuhl with Simpson

 

Ewald, Ken Theiss, Simpson and Dave Jeffers

 

Joe Schubeck

 

Ronnie Hampshire and John Preora

 

Ron Huegli, Robert & Richard Reel with Gwen McWilliams

 

"Honda Doug", Kenny Logan and Chip Woodall

 

Darrell and Jerry Gwynn

 

Pink, Alan Gillis, Ed McCulloch, Bob Brandt and Bernie Fedderly

 

Barbara Hogan and Ace

 

Dale Funk, Chip Woodall and Spider Razon.

 

Wish we had more people shots from this deal and if you have any, send them.
2014 CHRR Photo Submission

 

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Untitled Document

 

 


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