Ron Johnson passed away on Wednesday,
October 10, 2017. He was 83 years old. Its hard to comprehend
how fast this has all happened. Until about six weeks before
the events, Ron was going strong working hard on Nitro Night
in Escondido, and the inaugural Nitro Revival at Barona. He began
to complain about some "muscle aches"
or possibly a broken rib before deciding to consult with doctors.
A scan revealed the devastating news of advanced cancer. Ron
went through bladder cancer some 15 years ago, so it could have
been a related development.
It was such a blessing that he
was able to get to the Escondido and Barona events and enjoy
them. He was extremely pleased. Steve Gibbs visited him the previous
Friday, and found him in bed wearing his orange Nitro Revival
staff uniform shirt. Ron faced his situation head-on, and should
be an inspiration to us all. His family did all they could to
make him comfortable to the end.
Not enough can be said about Rons contributions to the
"Cacklecar" movement. We are all having a hard time
imagining things without him. However, his legacy is long and
deep, his kids Kol, Connie and crew will continue to share his
three cacklecars; The Chris Karamesine "Chizler" AA/FD,
Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer" AA/FD and the Shubert &
That said, we will carry on as
Ron wished, celebrating his life and the events that were so
much a part of his final 8 months of time on earth.
The first thing we saw was the
Official Merchandis of Nitro Revival gear including logo T's,
event T's, NR hats, posters and other goodies. There were also
Nitro Revival tickets on sale.
Cindy Gibbs put together the
great team to make this and the Nitro Revival a sell out.Kathy
Said, Ann Rey and John Souza, Cathy & Jeff Crowther, Debby
Stephanie Gibbs Kinder. Mom Gloria (Gordy) on the right.
Ross Preen whips out the ol CC
to stock up on Nitro Revival goodies to take back to Austraiala
when he and wife Jude end their event tour. Photog Dave Kommel
Kickin back early on,
Jimmy Scott, Geno & Harley with Ed McCulloch to the right.
Cindy Gibbs and Maureen Fairbairn
who traveled all the way from New Zealand to be here. She is
a well known Kiwi drag racer...for years she was considered the
fastest woman in their country. "Devil Woman" was the
name of the car.
Gloria and Steve
Darrell & Pam Conrad
and Bob Brown
Old school trailers for both
the Anderson Family "Vagabond" and the "Magicar"
of Bill Pitts.
Tommy Allen getting his
Soapy Sales AA/FD unloaded and to his spot.
Tommy Allen's "Soapy
Sales" AAFD after the unload.
AA/FD of Joe Passelaqua
The Mike Kuhl AA/FD out
of the trailer.
Kenton and Red Greth
with Joe Schubeck.
Sam Chastain getting
his Iron Horse in its parking place.
Bill Pitts and Pam Conrad
Geno and Harley were
on hand, all was good.
Mixing the good stuff.
Connie Braun and Joel
Gordy, Maxine "Max"
Zewiey, Don Ewald and Jeff Crowther.
Sky Wallace, Dan Kaplan
and Darrell Conrad
The cars were all parked on the
blocked to traffic Grand Ave. so the fans could see them up close
Ron Johnson's Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer"
and Chris Karamesines "ChiZler" waiting for their parking
Burkholder Bros. AA/FA
which is always a fan favorite.
Jack Gillett's Sidwinder
A/D with its super cool new paint job made its debut.
Joe Passelaqua getting
his Smirnoff AA/FD ready to rumble;
National Dragster photog Randy
Anderson attended his first Nitro Night and stayed to shoot the
Nitro Revival on Saturday.
Although Bob Higgenson was unable
to meet his target date with the spot on recreation of the Skinner,
Jobe & Crosser AA/FD it gave a great taste as to the finished
Bill Pitts with John
Barrett who was the owner of the Magicar before Bill.
Showman Sonny Messner
with his Don Garlits Swamp Rat III AA/FD.
All the way from Australia,
Ross and Jude Preen with Jay Carpenter.
Maria and Walt Steven
nailed down premier viewing spots early on.
Cat hurder Steve Gibbs once again
laid down what was suppose to happen. Key word was suppose.
Stephanie Gibbs Kinder,
Steve and Gordy's youngest daugher.
Lundberg made his swan song appearances announcing at Escondido
and the next day, at Barona. We were proud he chose these events
to end his 60 year career as one of racings premire annoucers.
At about 5:30 the street static
fire-ups were led off by the Burkhoder Bros. The cars were fired
one after another down one side of the street and up the other.
Tocco, Harper & Garten
AA/FA with Mike Tocco at the controls.
Carl Olson working the injetors
of the Kuhl & Olson AA/FD. Mike was a bit under the weather
but was in attendence.
The Rossi, Baney &
Goebel Yeakel Plymoth Spec. AA/FD with Paul Rossi in the seat.
Bobby Langley's Scorpion
V with Blake Crosby in the seat.
Sam Chastain's "Iron
Tommy Allen in his Allen
& Huff Soapy Sales Watchdog AA/FD
The Anderson Family Vagabond
John Strom in the seat
of Bill Pitts' Magicar AA/FD
Don Garlits Swamp Rat
III AA/FD with Sonny Messner in the seat.
Ron Johnson along with daughter
Connie were on hand to see all thee of his cars fire-up on Grand.
Nostalgia Top Fuel 2017 championship
contender, Mendy Fry and Gordy Gibbs were among many who stopped
by to wish Ron well.
Ivo his ownself.
That's a wrap.
Mark McCormick in Ron
Johnson's "ChiZler" AA/FD.
The magnificant Smirnoff
AA/FD restored and owned by Joe Passelaqua.
Schubeck in his 1966 Garlits car.
Zane Shubert in the Herbert
& Shubert SBC A/FD owned by Ron Johnson.
Jay Carpenter's Southwind
AA/FD with Mike Clancy in the seat.
Ash Marshall Scorcher
AA/FD with owner Dennis Young (Australia)
The Dean Eng. Special
AA/FD of Jake McCloud debuted its new paint job and it is killer!
Jerry Bivens works the
butterflys on his Check Mate AA/FD.
Parriach Joel Gruzenburg
oversees son David in the Newhouse Spec. AA/FMR.
Prior to the main event
the National Anthem was played and no body took a knee.
Escondido Nitro Night Page 2