In spite of sporadic rain so common in the region this
time of year, the 2nd NHRA Motorsports Museums New England Hot
Rod Reunion was another huge hit. Ultimately the fans did get
a great show from Top Fuel dragsters to jet cars and most left
with the feeling that the event really lived up to its hype.
on the Cacklefest side of the program, unlike the 100+ cacklecars
that come out to the mecca of Cacklefest, Bakersfield for the
California Hot Rod Reunion, there simply isn't that kind of car
count on the East Coast. That said, the handful of cars that
did make up this NEHRR Cacklefest were quality and well representative
of the breed.
We'll start with
the Honorees then move on to the cars.
This is a story
best told in photos. Enjoy.
*I have to apologize
for a converge that is not up to our high standards. Without
going into the whys, suffice to say I didn't get the quantity
of photos I expected. Dave Kommel did step up with some of his
great shots to fill in the blanks, but he didn't shoot much of
the actual Cacklefest.
2014 HONOREES AWARDS CEREMONY
the racing took a short break to honor some New England racing
icons. In a ceremony done with far less pomp and circumstance
than the Bakersfield and Bowling Green Honoree presentations,
these were held in a large tent at the drag strip. Logistics
had more to do with this than anything else as there was no host
hotel to stage the presentations. On the upside, more people
were able to attend that there were cacklecars everywhere.
Along with the
Honoree Reception, there were two autograph sessions that featured
the 2014 grand marshal Bob Frey, and Also Honorees Gil Coraine,
John Healey, AL Hanna, George Weiler and Jungle Pam
the legends of the sport interact with the fans and each other
is the heart of these events, said Larry Fisher, executive
director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. All the honorees
bring a unique perspective to the sport and poured time, effort
and passion to make what the sport is today.
Welcome and opening remarks were
delivered by Larry Fisher, Executive Director of the NHRA Wally
Parks Motorsports Museum.
It was huge to see museum Curator
Greg Sharp back in action. Sharp has been sidelined for many
months with serious medical issues. It hasn't been the same without
Grand Marshall, Bob Frey, who
announced drag racing at tracks across the country after falling
in love with the sport after attending his first race in 1964,
worked for years at his home track of Atco Dragway in New Jersey
learning his trade. In 1985, he became an NHRA national event
announcer and called it a career at the conclusion of the 2012
Auto Club NHRA Finals. In those nearly five decades, he entertained
and educated millions and visited more than 200 drag strips.
The self-described skinny, geeky, bald-headed guy with
glasses from Waterford in South Jersey was the full-time
voice of NHRA Drag Racing for nearly two decades.
A hot rodder for more than six
decades, Gil Coraine started the Peace Pipes hot rod club in
1960, which became part of the New England Hot Rod Council that
helped operate the pioneering drags at the Sanford, Maine, airport.
He was part of the original group that acquired the land and
developed New England Dragway in 1966 and was an original member
of NEDs board of directors.
In his many seasons of racing,
Hanna earned fame behind the wheel of Top Fuel dragsters, nitro
Funny Cars, and jet dragsters. He and his longtime partner Bob
Beaulieu first became involved with a variety of cars during
the mid-1960s, including the first of his own series of Eastern
Raider entries, Bill Flynns Yankee Peddler 65 Dodge,
Jim Maybecks Patriot Chevelle, the Screaming Eagle Corvair
and Camaro, and many more. Hanna has maintained his interest
in nitro burning cars and pays close attention to recent developments
in fuel, clutch management, and data-gathering systems. He has
been honored many times for his achievements, including his induction
into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame in 2006.
Bob Tasca Sr.
was the visionary leader, Bill Lawton was the highly talented
driver, and Healey was the equally talented mechanic whose behind-the-scenes
work helped make the Providence, R.I.-based Tasca Ford dealership
one of the most featured Ford drag racing teams during the decade
of the 1960s. In addition to his work for Tasca, Healey successfully
tuned cars campaigned by John Downing and Ed Terry. Healey has
received well-deserved recognition for his accomplishments, including
induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame in 2012.
Frey introduced one of the most
iconic images from drag racing in the 1970s is the skimpily clad
Hardy backing up Funny Car superstar Jungle Jim Liberman
after his burnouts. More often than not, she would put on a better
show than the race itself, and she quickly earned fame on her
own as Jungle Pam.
Prior to partnering with Liberman,
Hardy was leading a quiet life in the sleepy town of West Chester,
Pa., until one day in May 1972, when Liberman drove by in his
Corvette and talked her into joining his match race tour. I
ditched the college that had accepted me, and it drove my mother
nuts, Hardy recalled. Today, Hardys husband, Bill
Hodgson, helps tune George Reidnauers Excalibur Corvette
Nostalgia Funny Car, and they attend many reunion-and nostalgia-type
Bob with his sister.
At 17, Pennsylvania
native George Weiler went to work at Beckersville Garage, honing
his mechanical and welding skills, and in 1960, he and fellow
members of the Eastern Custom Car Association were instrumental
in creating Maple Grove Raceway. In 2004, he was inducted into
the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame and the Maple Grove Walk
final race of the meet on Saturday, the ritual started beginning
with the parade. This is where the fans get to see the cars and
drivers, learns some history on both, prior to Cacklefest proper.
Opening up was
the push start cars that proceeded to the top end where they
were turned around and made ready.
Once again I have to apologize
for the lack of photos. This is not the coverage that Cacklefest.com
is known for. We'll make up for it next year.
Mr. Cacklefest, Steve
Gibbs and photog, Dave Kommel.
This one I do know, Alison Lee
in Brian Beattie's "Great Expectations" which was originally
owned by Jim & Alison Lee.