The Cars

Event Photos



A fitting finale to the Cruisin’ Grand summer-long Friday night action series on Grand Avenue in Escondido’s historic downtown, Nitro Night ended the season with a bang, or more like a roar. On October 2nd, 17 historic nitro dragsters from the “Golden Years” of top fuel racing were displayed and in a dramatic after dark on-street fire-up illustrated what was so special about the late 60’s Southern California drag racing scene, an amazing spectacle from long ago. Southern California was, in the late 60’s, a hotbed of drag racing. Young men were either into surfing or drag racing or maybe both. Numerous tracks operated on weekend days and nights allowing those who wanted to the opportunity to race on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday at different area tracks. Fans had the choice of many tracks operating within easy driving distance. San Diego/Ramona, Carlsbad, Long Beach, San Gabriel, Fontana, Riverside, San Fernando, Ontario, Irwindale, Colton and Orange County all had tracks for some or all of these years.

It was the heyday of push-started 200 mph nitro fueled dragsters at competing tracks with weekly 8 or 16 car elimination fields, national events with 32 cars and a few special events held with as many as 100 dragsters entered, qualifying for a 64 car field. Increased speeds and technology obsoleted these front-engine nitro cars by early 1970’s. But the memories created among participants and fans alike endured. 20 years ago, nostalgia played a role in bringing ssurvivor cars back to race tracks and car shows.

Today, most of these cars are faithful representations of actual cars from the 60’s, either being restorations of original cars, or recreations of original cars which have disappeared or been destroyed. Some of the current owners and drivers of these cars were actually racing in the 50s and 60’s and others just want to be a part of the representation of those historic days. A few cars have been built simply as a tribute to the era but not representing an actual car from the 60’s.

The cars pictured here were all part of Nitro Night. One more time, owners and drivers had the opportunity to show the fans what was a special time in their lives. Grand Avenue in Escondido became the stage once again for the rolling thunder of one of the most spectacular, awesome, city street events anywhere.


Participating Cars and Owners

Larry Huff's "Soapy Sales" AA/FD Tommy Allen
Tommy Ivo's Barnstormer AA/FD Ron Johnson
ChiZler AA/FD Ron Johnson
Southwind III AA/FD Jay Carpenter
Tocco, Harper, Garten AA/FA Mike Tocco
Gruzen-Newhouse AA/FA Joel Gruzen
Climax AA/FA Scott Krenzer
Smirnoff AA/FD Joe Passalaqua
Dean Eng. Special AA/FD Jake McCloud
Yeakle Plymouth Spec. AA/FD Frank Baney & Paul Rossi
Joe Schubeck AA/FD Joe Schubeck
Cook & Bedwell A/D Ray Lake
Wilton & Doss AA/FD Devon Wilton
Anaconda AA/FD Bob Hirsch
Iron Horse AA/FD Sam Chastain
Shubert & Herbert AA/FD Ron Johnson
Schultz & Glenn AA/FD Dan & Crystal Gerber





The Soapy Sales team after unloading the car early Friday afternoon.


Connie Braun made sure all the participants were registered and branded.


The participating cars were parked in their respective spots along Grand.





Steve Gibbs and Don Irvin made sure everyone was where they belonged, were happy and foremost, knew the ground rules.



















In the late afternoon everyone did their static warm-ups in their parking spots.



























After a faux push start the cars rolled a city block to the Christmas Tree/Starting Line.


Eily Stafford led thing off in the Cook & Bedwell A/D. They did not fire the engine.



The first car down was Paul Rossi was in the Yeakle Plymouth Special.






Rossi was paired with John Strom was in the Shubert & Herbert SBC powered car.


Scott Krenzer got the seat of the Climax altered.





Following the tragic death of Roger Garten earlier this year, Don Cooper was the first person other than Garten to ever sit in Tocco, Harper, Garten AA/FA.



David Gruzen was back in the seat of the Newhouse Spec.




The Wilton & Doss car had Devon Wilton in the seat.





Sam Chastain was in his Iron Horse.




Bob Hirsch returned to Nitro Night with his beautiful Anaconda.





The Dean Engineering car had newbee Jim Christenson at the helm.





Jerry "The Hunter" Glenn, the original driver, threw some flames in the Schultz & Glenn fueler.



Veteran driver Jimmy Scott was in the Southwind III.





Another original driver, Tommy Allen was in the Soapy Sales dragster.




Sheila Keith got the honored seat in the Smirnoff car.

Note: Joe Schubeck was paired with Sheila but lost fire early.




Kol Johnson got the honors in the ChiZler.






The show closed with your hero and mine, "TV Tommy" Ivo in the newly overhauled Barnstormer. that now is a fire breathing monster after a stay at Ricky's Garage.






NITRO NIGHT Fire-ups Video




They support us, please support them.

Host Sponsor: SONRISE RV

Alignment Plus & Brakes

All Star Signs

Braun Computer Consulting

Bowden's Restoration & Custom Paint

Cocina del Charro

C&G Ford Parts

Crower Camshafts and more

Debbie's Restaurant & Pie Shoppe

Design Moe Kitchen & Bath

Ding Doctor

HDS Auto Parts & Machine LLC

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff

Left Coast Web Graphics

Meziere Enterprises

Motorsports Insurance Services

Oceanside Transmission

O'reilly Auto Parts - Escondido

Ronnie's Service Center

San Diego Gear & Axle

Toyota Escondido


NEW Vol. 3 & 4 - Click Here to Order


Next stop the CHRR at Bakersfield



Check back for more event coverage as they happen.


2021 National Hot Rod Reunion

All Cacklecars

 Event Photos   History   First 9 Cacklecars  

CF Stories       Video Clips

Links      Tributes         

Cacklefest Guidelines

SEMA Chassis Builder Numbers 



Search for Cars or People

© COPYRIGHT NOTICE NHRA Museum 2005-2023All Rights Reserved.