Prior to the ceremony there was
lots of mingling in the parking lot, halls of the Double Tree
Hotel and in the banquet room. For whatever reasons, I have less
shots than normal for this intro.
Don Ratican, Danny "Buzz"
Broussard, Don Gaide and Jay Carpenter
Dave Wallace Jr.
Greg Sharp and Don Ratican
Bill Pitts and Team Magicar.
Steve Gibbs with Bob
and Sharon Muravez.
Tom Jobe and The Surfers
historian, Bob Higginson.
The Dunn table.
with Diane and Jim Dunn
Ed Pink and Cub Barnett
Pencil Art done by Shannon Olson
Grand Marshal Jim
Master of Ceremonies, Dave McClelland
led off the program and introduced Larry Fisher who is celebrating
his third anniversary as the Executive Director of the museum.
Up next was Steve Gibbs for his
opening remarks that led to the introduction of Don Ewald who
accepted an award for his brother John who passed away in March.
He would have much rather seen his late brother receive it.
When Don found his BankAmericar
back in 2003 he couldn't afford to buy it back much less restore
it. However, John had the money and a geographical location that
Don did not to make it all work. After getting the car restored
John jumped into the cacklecar craze with both feet. All the
while he gave countless hours to the museum and its many projects
and causes. He was a spearhead for the very successful Nitro
Alumni Auction. His cackle shows were second to none and exposed
countless people to early top fuel drag racing. This award was
for those things and much more. His presence and go-getter drive
will be sorely missed by the folks at the museum in particular
and drag racing in general.
Ewald did a segway to Cindy Gibbs
who touted the auction that John was such a big part of. A couple
of the over 165 items were a One of a Kind "Cacklefest Tribute
Blanket". Made and Donated by Leigh Buttera and Art Chrisman's personal
Saint's 1948 Car Club Jacket - Compton, California. Authenticated
and donated by Art Chrisman. At the end of the day on Saturday
80% of the items sold for over $25,000 that went directly to
the museum. If you missed out this year, imagine how big it will
be for the 25th Anniversary of the CHRR in October of 2016.
After Cindy, Big Mac auctioned
off the winners circle banner that graced the stage for over
Then to the business at hand,
it was time for the first honoree. Paul Althouse ran Pauls
Automotive in Monrovia and gained fame for tuning the fastest
Chevys in Southern California. His shop was home to such entries
as the Christie and Fisher Camaro, Geno Redds Chevelle,
Bob Daviss Impala and even served as West Coast headquarters
for Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler. Past Top Alcohol Champion
Jay Payne, Super Stock and Comp racer Rick Houser and Pro Stock
tuner Dave Butner all used Pauls shop as a launching pad.
It became the go-to shop for anyone who wanted a really fast
Cub Barnett built engines have won and set records
on drag strips, dirt tracks, and Bonneville and reliably covered
hundreds of thousands of miles in street rods. In 1952, Cub made
the trip to the Bonneville salt, met Charles Scotty
Scott and went to work running his dyno in San Bernardino. In
1960, Cub opened Barnetts Garage in Bloomington working
alongside his father before moving north to accept an offer to
go to work at Gotellis Speed Shop. That job lasted nearly
a decade before he and close friend Andy Brizio became partners
in Champion Speed Shop. Champion closed in the early 70s
and Cub Barnett Engineering was born. His clients include Reggie
Jackson, Dennis Varni, Jeff Beck and Tim Allen. The Cub Barnett
Engineering Special roadster won the CHRR NE 1 class in 2007
and back-to-back 7.0 Pro titles in 2011 and 2012.
Joining Barnett on stage
was Ronnie Lennon, his 7.0 driver, and Johnny Cofer.
Don Gaide and Don Ratican became known
as The Sour Sisters when they teamed with past CHRR
Honoree the late Kenny Safford. Gaide, a Road Kings member like
Safford, teamed up with another past Honoree Bob Muravez in 1960
on a C/Gas dragster known as the Gray Ghost. After Gaide crashed
it, their engine went in Ed Jankes chassis and made it
the winningest B/GD in California. Ratican first gained fame
as an Oldsmobile tuner with the NHRA Nationals winning Ratican,
Jackson and Stearns Fiat Altered. When Safford and Gaide planned
to run nitro in their dragster, Ratican came aboard helping make
it the Worlds Fastest Oldsmobile. In the 1990s Ratican
completed a fine restoration of the legendary Albertson Olds
dragster that is part of the NHRA Motorsports Museum permanent
Ratican's old partner Ron Stearns
surprised him with a book he had made about the AA/FA (Ratican
Jackson & Stearns) they raced in the 60's.
John Jodaugas name is familiar to readers of
publications such as National DRAGSTER, Hot Rod, and Car Craft.
Jodauga calls himself an illustrator, but his work includes some
of the most recognizable and innovative press kits in the history
of the sport. Between stints in his forty-year career as a writer
at National Dragster, John ran his own advertising agency with
name clients such as Moroso, Simpson, the Summers Brothers, Duffys
Performance, and many others. His first drag race was the 1964
Winternationals and he was hooked on drag racing forever. He
eventually raced his own 68 Camaro in a variety of classes
including participation in the first ever Super Gas eliminations
at the 1980 Winternationals. His relationships with racers and
long career as a writer have made him an acknowledged drag racing
Doug Kruse came to California for the 1960 U.S.
Fuel and Gas Championships in Bakersfield and stayed. He was
a mechanical engineer and once managed a drag strip in Manassas,
Virginia. He went to work for Jocko Johnson and honed
his skills in building race cars and aluminum bodies until opening
Kruse Engineering. Samples of his work included bodies for the
Yeakel Plymouth dragster, George Bolthoffs Top Gas car,
and the Assassin Top Fueler and the chassis and tin work
on Joe Pisanos first Funny Car (built from an actual Camaro).
In late 1963, he joined with Tom Mongoose McEwen
and others to form the United Drag Racers Association in hopes
of improving prize money and safety for the racers. By February,
they promoted their first event at Lions Drag Strip attracting
nearly 100 dragsters and 15-20,000 fans. After the success of
that meet UDRA chapters sprang up all over the country lasting
through the 1981 season. When Funny Cars began stealing the limelight
from dragsters, Kruse put together a series of events called
the Professional Dragster Championships. Beginning in 1967 a
twelve-year run of successful events was held up and down the
Grand Marshal Jim Dunn
has been drag racing for well over sixty years. He was active
as a driver for nearly forty of those years and was voted No.
27 on NHRAs Top 50 Drivers list. He won in Altereds, dragsters
and Funny Cars with a record of 10 wins and six runner-ups at
NHRA national events. He won the Bakersfield March Meet once
in Top Fuel and twice in Funny Car. He won the 63 and 64
Winternationals with the Dunn, Merritt and Velasco Fiat Altered
then raced fuel dragsters through the 60s before switching
to Funny Cars. He was subject of the 1972 movie Funny Car Summer
exposing drag racing to millions. In 1991 he changed roles to
car owner and tuner with a runner-up finish at the 1993 U.S.
Nationals and the 1994 Budweiser Shootout, before winning the
Shootout in 1997. His close friend, the late Bob Brooks said,
He was from the same era that spawned Don Prudhomme and
Tom McEwen. They were the quarterbacks, the pretty boys so to
speak, and Dunn was the down-and-dirty lineman.
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
was led off by the debut of the beautifully restored Dunn &
Reath 1969 AA/FD "Rainbow Car" done by Pete Eastwood.
With Jim Dunn as Grand Marshal, this was more than fitting.
Another debut was the Austin
& Grassi Fuel Cuda, arguably one of the oddest cacklecars
ever. Walt Austin owner, Dave Jeffers in the car.
John Neas brought his Tony Nancy's
1970 "Sizzler" Top Fueler car was back for the second
year in a row. Harry Hibler in the seat.
Joe Schubeck made his first hotel
appearance while Larry Crossan's Gingrass & Dearmore AA/FD
with Bob Muravez in the seat was making its second (2008).
Rounding out the field was a
return of the Climax AA/FA of Scott Krenzer.
The place was beyond packed.
Some people had grabbed their spot hours earlier. No telling
how many hotel guests thought they were being attacked.
At Steve Gibbss command,
let the flames begin.
With the scent of nitro still
lingering in the air, the fans thinned out and the old dogs started
holding court. The absolutely best bench racing session you will
ever attend. If you wonder why so many people are wearing the
same blue shirt its because in 2012 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. They were
such a hit that every year since there has been a new pattern/logo
Joe Schubeck and Harry
Ed McCulloch, Cindy Gibbs
and Jim Nicoll
Sad postscript: I've taken a
long time to put this together as there was a nagging feeling
that it was not totally right. Now I think I know why. It was
set to go live on December 26 until the news came on Christmas
Day that Jim "Superman" Nicoll had passed away. Jim
was an old friend and thankfully we got to have some fun just
two months ago at the CHRR. Since there were several photos of
Jim on this page a decision had to be made to do any changes
on the coverage. This is how he would want to be remembered so
no changes were made. RIP Superman. If you want to know more
about Jim's drag racing career click here: Phil Burgess National Dragster - Superman 2008.
Ron Mankins, Don Ewald,
Bill Simpson and J.R. Todd
Ewald, Simpson, Vikki
York and Chip Woodall
Don Gaide and Dan Broussard
Austin with Cindy, Ace, Chip and Jim
Ivo, Jerry Ruth, Tom
Cirillo, Ewald with Dwight Salisbury in the background.
Miller and Ace
Ewald, Simpson, Jim Nicoll
Denny Martinez, Cirillo,
Photogs; Dan Kaplan,
Gary Nastase, Richard Shute and Dave Kommel
Ron Hodgson, Jerry Ruth
and Dan Richins
Justin Arias and Liz
Spider Razon and Dale
John New and Cindy
Bob Muravez, Nicoll and
Roland Leong, Hibler,
Nicoll and Ivo
Gotta do them selfies!
Ewald and Linda Vaughan
Dan Kaplan and LV
Finally two of the finest, and
hardest working people that most never see. NHRA Motorsports
Museum Manager of Marketing and Advertising, Rose Dickinson and
the head of the Reunion Safety Operations, Don Irvin.