Ron Hope's " Rat
Trap" had the honor of gracing the hotel lobby.
Outside the cars to be featured
in the mini Cacklefest later than night were on display. This
is the first time there have been 7 cars at any hotel fire-up.
Prussian AA/FD/ Maynard
Rupp (reunion debut)
Gary Cochran Rear Engine TF / Don Nosse
Tom Hoover "Fishbowl Car" / Steve Andersen
Texas Longhorn / Bobby Rex (reunion debut)
Jimmy Nix / Benny Osborn (reunion debut)
Gordon "Collecting" Collett / Gordon Collet
John Dearmore / Bob Muravez (Lippencotte)
Roy Steffery and Maynard
Donnie Anderson, Bennie
Osborn and John Dearmore
Don Ross who has restore/recreated
many of the current cacklecars and Jack Chisenhall, owner of
Vintage Air, and the newly restored Texas Longhorn with a couple
Dearmore with Paul Hutchins.
Here's a pair; George "The
Bushmaster" Schreiber and Bob "Floyd Lippencotte"
Muravez. There's some history here.
Back to the cars later,
time for the presentations inside.
Jim Lee and Don Ewald
Bob Frey acted as the Master
of Ceremony and things got off to a rocky start with a couple
of audio equipment problems. That was fine because it allowed
people to visit more, late arrivers to see the entire ceremony
and of course, let Frey be classic Frey.
A few shots from during
the audio repairs. I'll try to name who I can.
It was great to see Jim &
Alison Lee (waving) finally make one of these together. Alison
is a regular but Jim stays home to "take care of the farm".
At the end of the day he had a great time and vowed to become
a regular too.
Bob would come up to
check the mic, still not fixed, back to visiting.
The irrepressible Ron
Leek and family.
Rose Dickinson, Manager of Marketing
and Advertising for the NHRA Museum. She would later be joined
by Donna Crowther and Don Irvin.
Honoree Ron Hope and
Grand Marshall Gordon
Collett and family.
Honoree Chase Knight and his
wife Laura. This was the first NHRA Reunion that he had attended,
regardless of which coast, and they had a great time. Saw folks
he hadn't encountered in 30-40 years. One of the high moments
of his life, says he.
One of the Sam Jones
The other Sam Jones table.
Dale Moody and Friends
Honoree Roy Steffey
Steve Gibbs and Charlie
Dalton, his half brother who lives in North Carolina.
As the room kept filling up,
the audio repairs were finally done and Larry Fisher, Executive
Director of the NHRA Museum made his welcoming statements.
Without further ado, Bob introduced
the first Honoree, Roy Steffey. As engine builder and
tuner for several successful drivers including Jim Marsh, Maynard
Rupp and Eddie Schartman, Roy Steffey was one of the top nitro
crew chiefs of the 1960s. He first gained notoriety with the
record setting Logghe-Marsh-Steffey C/Fuel Dragster in 1964 and
tuned drivers Rupp and Schartman to NHRA World Championships
in Top Fuel (1965) and Funny Car (1966) respectively. Steffey
and Rupp made history by winning both the NHRA Springnationals
and World Finals joining Roland Leong and Don Prudhomme as the
first teams to win more than one NHRA event in a season. Mercurys
Fran Hernandez and Al Turner hired Steffey in 1966 to be the
chief mechanic for one of the first flip-top Comet Funny Cars
driven by Eddie Schartman.
Greg Sharp did the honors.
Next up was Dale Moody and
Sam Jones, Its surprising to think that during the
Gasser Wars of the early 60s, that a couple of small town
boys from Washington, Indiana could beat the big name stars from
Ohio and California. Yet Dale Moody and Sam Jones did just that
winning the C/GS class at the 62 NHRA Nationals as well
as the Street Eliminator title. They repeated in 1963 with class
and Junior Eliminator wins as well as class in 64. Sam,
his brother Mack and Dale Moody built their entry around a $75
37 Chevy coupe, a supercharged 327 cid Chevy small-block,
and a B&M Hydro-Stick. In the late 60s they retired
the GOLD coupe, but Sam found it in 2004 and after a thorough
restoration it appeared as one of the Golden Fifty race cars
at the 50th
Anniversary U.S. Nationals.
Ron Leek was the next Honoree and being a promoter and
announcer, he wasn't short of words. After his first drag race
in the mid-1950s Ron Leek was hooked. After racing at the
58 NHRA Nationals, he went to work at Als Speed Shop
in Aurora, Illinois where he befriended many early stars of drag
racing. After promoting a match race in the early 60s,
drag racing became his life. He became a popular track announcer
and Drag News columnist. Deciding that his promotion work was
only helping track owners, he bought the Rockford, Illinois drag
strip and soon renamed it Byron Dragway. Innovative promotions
like his Gas Coupe & Sedan Nationals and weekly E.T. brackets
that paid $1000 to win earned him the title Godfather of
Honoree Chase Knight is
best known for driving a series of Golden Gator dragsters in
the Comp and Pro Comp ranks from 1972 through 1982. The three
rear-engine entries he drove for Al Lidert, used the unique arrangement
of running the engine with a single conventional supercharger
fed by a pair of turbochargers. He grew up in Hialeah, Florida
where he joined the Cabriolets Car Club and began driving dragsters
in the late 1960s. Knight was named Division 2 Sportsman Driver
of the Year in 1976 as selected by his peers. He went to work
at Crane Cams in 1967 where he is still employed as the camshaft
and valve train development manager.
The next to be honored was Ron
Hope who is a traditional hot rodder participating in many
forms of the sport for more than five decades. Born and raised
in Whittier, California, his first job was with legendary hot
rodder Ak Miller, who instilled in Ron the go fast gene that
has influenced the rest of his life. He began with a record holding
Bonneville gas roadster in the early 60s and has raced
a variety of cars there since. In the early 90s he joined
Don Green, builder of the legendary Rat Trap Fuel Altered. Since
the original would no longer pass tech, they agreed to build
a replica. With Ron at the wheel, the unpredictable Bantam roadster
has literally been raced all over the world.
The last to be recognized was
the Grand Marshall, Gordon Collett who has seven NHRA
Top Gas victories and to his credit is the winningest driver
of all time in the category. In addition he won the AHRA Winter
Nationals in 1965, NHRA Divisional Championships in 1964 and
65 and several major independent races throughout the country.
Because he racked up wins at such a rapid rate, none other than
Camfather Ed Iskenderian, dubbed him Collecting
Collett. Collett said he chose to race Top Gas for most
of his career because he could earn nearly as much Match Race
appearance money as the Top Fuel teams of the day, and do so
on a much smaller budget. When Top Gas was discontinued at the
end of 1971, he raced Pro Stock until 1974 when he retired from
First nitro fix of the weekend.
As with any Cacklefest the one constant is that he who makes
the most flames gets the most photos.
Tomorrow, the track....
Presentation, Hotel Cacklefest
Push Starts, Pits & People