The Belle of this ball was the
debut of the beautifully restored Wale & Candies 1963 dragster.
As always, Pat Foster did an incredible job of bringing this
piece back to life. Paul (Candies) has kept this car in his possession
since it was replaced by a later model in 1965. Dale Armstrong
built the engine for the restoration and as one would expect,
it sounded stout.
Although it is not a cacklecar,
this was the other half of Paul's double hitter - another Foster
restoration - the 1976 NHRA Winston Top Fuel championship car
of Candies & Hughes that was driven by the multi-talented
Richard Tharp. As is the Wale & Candies car, this is drop
dead gorgeous and it was no surprise to anyone who knows him
when Paul officially donated it to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum on Thursday night during Wally's 94th Birthday Bash.
Paul Candies and his sons with
the latest member of the cacklecar family.
From the first people in the
gate the cacklecars were not only a huge draw for the fans but
also a great meeting place for the legends of the sport.
Al Bergler's "More
Aggravation" is hard to miss at any event.
Ron Johnson and Steve "The
Organizer" Gibbs with the Shubert & Herbert car.
The Wing is back! After a crash
at the 2005 VRA Finals, the car was completely redone over the
2006 season and is now officially back in action. This is great
news for the fans.
Ed Lenarth's "Holy
Toledo" was the lone Funny Car in the group.
Pure Heaven made the short tow
from the museum to the track on Thursday.
Team cars, Norm Weekly with the
"Frantic 4" and Dennis Prater's "Stellings &
John Ewald's traveling
road show - the BankAmericar and Mastercar.
Sonny Messner was on
hand with his Swamp Rat III recreation.
Don Garlits, in for the Cacklefest
in Messner's car, was all over the place. Here he chats with
Dennis Prater and "Wild Bill" Alexander.
Big Show Kalitta shoe Dave Grubnic
was among the many "new school" players who ventured
from the Pro pits to see their history.
car of Paul & Pam Schavrien.
Jim Green had his "Assassin"
on hand - easily one of the top 5 restorations in the world.
Friday was the maiden fire-up
for the Wale & Candies car with Foster in the seat and Armstrong
overseeing the engine.
However the first attempt revealed
some chinks in the armor as the idler assembly didn't hold up
to the stress of the snout starter.
With help from Bob Danly
and John Ewald the repairs were made.
As his car was readied, Paul
Candies was doing what he always did best, interact with friends
and fans and then look forward to writing the checks at the end
of the month.
With the engine fired, Armstrong
adjusted the barrel valve and got a good, crisp idle.
Running smooth, the car
was ready for Cacklefest.
Bill Alexander in place
for his Ernie's Camera "Shudder Bug" fire up.
Retired Top Fuel and Funny Car
driver John Collins was in the seat of John Ewald's "Mastercar".
Here he catches up with Ronnie and Jeep Hampshire.
Gary Cochran ready in
the Stellings & Hampshire car.
Don Ewald waits for his
turn in the BankAmericar.
First to fire was the
Kuhl & Olson car - a Cacklefest staple from day one.
Carl Olson looking lost
in the K&O cockpit.
Al Bergler rumbles his
"More Aggravation" fuel coupe.
Ron Stearns joined in
Trevor Larkin in his
SBC fuel car.
No name but the guy in
the Frantic 4 car is an Indy car shoe.
Original driver Walt
Stevens in The Poachers.
Rod Alexander prepares
to fire the Shudder Bug.
The stout Pontiac sounding
great on 90%.
Gary Cochran in the Stellings
& Hampshire car was next to fire.
Beckman got the seat in the Howard Cams Rattler.
John Collins in the seat of a
Top Fuel car for the first time in 36 years. As all of us have
experienced, all his racing memories flooded back during the
4 minute run time.
Don Ewald enjoyed his
memories in the BankAmericar.
Foster closed the show
in the Wale & Candies beauty.
Don Ewald and Ron Johnson of
Cacklefest.com oversee the awesome display of cars.
Two old vets, Gary Ritter
and John Collins.
Sunday - 10 AM - this photo says
it all. At this point all knew the Cacklefest was toast and there
was no guarantee the Big Show would get off.
By 11 AM the rain stopped
and the task of drying the track began.
To heat things up, Pat Foster
jumped from the Candies car into the S&H car for another
Not ones to sit around and let
a little rain spoil the fun, John Ewald jumped into his Mastercar
to wake the folks up.
After John, Don Ewald
fired up the BankAmericar.
Bill Pitts' "MagiCar"
didn't come up from San Diego until Sunday morning - just in
time to find out the show was called off. So, as to not make
it a totally wasted trip, he put Jeep Hampshire in the car for
a fire up. It was a great diversion for the fans waiting for
the track to get dried.
Another car that was a Sunday
arrival was Jay Carpenter's dual engine "Syndicate".
Jay fired her up and
it was 16 cylinders on nitro.
There was plenty of time for
visiting on Sunday. Here Carl Olson and who chat while Dave McClelland
and Gordy Bonin exchange lies.
Henry Walther, Paul Candies
and Pat Foster.
As racing finally got under way,
we find Richard Tharp and Donnie Couch exchange numbers. Or,
Tharp is paying off a bet.
Since we didn't have a Cacklefest
and that left us way short of photos, here's a few shots by John
Ewald of how the other side lives at the races. Above in John
Force Racing's Bernie Fedderly in his office while Austin Coil
toils in his.
Very cool, right? But are they
having fun? Force or not, sometimes all the best "stuff"
money can buy can't get you past the first round.