15-17 National Trails Raceway, Columbus, Ohio. The first
four NHRA National Hot Rod Reunions were held at Beach Bend Raceway
in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was a great location for a laid
back nostalgia event with a few hundred cars, lush and verdant
green in the bend of a river. Trees and grass everywhere with
covered grandstands to shield the fans from the sun. However,
getting in and getting out was a bad joke. Also, the nearest
decent airport was Nashville which was over 100 miles away. The
location, five hundred or more race and show cars, a high spectator
turnout and neighbors combined to make the single lane road (in
each direction) slow 'n go at best. Some reported a 2 hour time
span to cover the 3 miles in and out of the track. And so a change
of venue was made.
Columbus, Ohio's National Trails Dragstrip became available
in late 2006 as an alternative site and being only a few hundred
miles away, distance was not a factor for most people. National
Trails has been in operation since the 60's and has been the
site for both major NHRA races and match races at which a number
of the cars attending Cacklefest this year competed. The track
was originally family owned and the patriarch, Clark Radar, was
a colorful character who old time drag racers now remember fondly.
The track symbol is a Moose Head, which originally was more prominent
but now is home on a maintenance building.
The facility is up-to-date in respect to the track and amenities
as it has hosted a "Big Show" event each year through
2006. The pit area is much larger, superb access from the nearby
I 70 freeway and Columbus 25 miles away with ample hotel, restaurant
and general merchandise availability. Plus, an fine big airport
served by all the major carriers. A lot less nostalgic, but much
easier to get to and more room once you're there.
There seemed to be more race cars and perhaps a few less Street
Rods than previous years. Other than the lack of any nostalgia
feel, it is a good location for an event of this nature
and the track management people were on top of most everything.
Maybe the larger pit area contributed to less congestion, because
it seemed that the event ran somewhat on time and there were
only a few unexpected delays. The track had what it took in the
way of staff and equipment to deal with the occasional guardrail
incident and get track back in operation. Some liked it just
fine and will be happy to go there again. Many others would like
to see the event move back to Bowling Green. Only time will tell.
The "Bergler Gang"
posed for a group shot on Friday.
Norbe Locke's "Grandpa's
David Hoyh and Ralph
Kitron's "Swamp Fox" AA/FD
The program for cacklecars was
pretty straightforward. There were basically three adjoining
areas set aside for cacklecars. Many were situated on the West
side of the first pit lane behind the grandstand. There was enough
room for each car to have a display, e-z up, posters and signs,
etc. Some of the cars there were Norbe Locke's "Grandpa's
Toy" a blown Chevy powered Chassis Research K-88, David
Hoyh and Ralph Kitron's "Swamp Fox" AA/FD which was
owned by David's dad Mel Hoyh in the mid 60's, Barnes and Gladstone's
392 Hemi powered Michigander AA/FD, Jerry Baltes was there with
his recreated "Croshier, Baltes and Lavato" AA/FD along
with the original car that was discovered hanging in the rafters
of Jim Urbanek's body shop shortly after the recreation was completed.
Al Bergler was there with his magnificent competition Coupe,
"More Aggravation" and he just had completed a restoration
of "Gang Green", an AA/FD owned by Larry Payne from
Michigan. The Ed Golden owned "Probe" AA/FD originally
campaigned by Steffey, Marsh and Rupp was there also.
Jerry Baltes had twin "Croshier,
Baltes and Lavato" AA/FD's in his camp. On the right is
the car he had recreated in 2005 when he gave up ever finding
the original. Ironically, in 2006 someone saw an old dragster
hanging in a body shop and thought it sure looked like the CHL
car. It was. Long story short, Baltes hooked up with Jim Urbanek
who's body shop the car was hanging in and Baltes arranged with
him to bring his newly-found "original" car down from
Eastlake, Ohio to display next to the refabricated C-B-L dragster
completed a couple of years ago.
Barnes and Gladstone's
Jerry Baltes, Tom Moyer (the
guy from Mentor, Ohio who made the "connection' between
the two cars between Urbanek and Baltes), Mike Urbanek and Jim
Urbanek - owner of the original C-B-L.
Ivo climbs in for the
Barnstormers maiden fire up.
With the help of Dusty
McWilliams, Ron Johnson fires the engine.
Tom Ivo spent much of
his weekend signing autographs.
The starting line end of the
second pit section was dedicated to cacklecars as well. This
is where the NHRA Museum trailer was located with the Howard
Cams "Rattler", Tommy Ivo's "Barnstormer"
and Kenny Safford's "Safford/Gaide and Ratican". Here
also were the Guy Boucher Tommy Ivo "1970 FED and Glass
Sided Trailer" that has been so marvelously restored and
also the Bruce Larson presentation of the RED that Tommy took
flying lessons at Pomona in during the 1973 Winternationals.
Here, also, was an e-z up for
Ivo to meet and greet his numerous fans from his many years of
"back east" touring! Ted Guth set up here with the
Hawaiian AA/FC and Larry Reyes was in attendance as well. Also
in this area was the two car display of Don Trasin, with the
Tom McEwen "English Leather" AA/FC and the fabulous
"Jade Grenade" AA/FD. As usual, Pat Foster was with
Trasin to lend his experience to the program and Raymond Godman's
Top Fuel Car was next door. A little farther on down this row,
Don Ross had both Scorpion 1, the original Bobby Langley unblown
car, and the really freshly completed Scorpion 5 owned by Bill
Crosby which was assembled during the 24 hours prior to loading
into the trailer for the trip. Bobby Langley was on hand along
with his wife Ruthie.
One of the 5 cars making their
Cacklefest debut was the incredible "TV Tommy" Ivo
"Barnstormer". The car was recreated by Ron Johnson
with Ivo's blessings and help. It would get a lot of attention
over the weekend. Johnson opted to bring the new car east without
paint as that is the way the original cars was first seen with
a full body in 1962.
Paul Hutchins, who was shooting
the event for WDIFL.com, got to wheel the Barnstormer to the
end of the track for a photos shoot. He looks good in there.
Don Ross pit with both Scorpion
1, the original Bobby Langley unblown car, and the newly completed
Scorpion 5 owned by Bill Crosby.
Bobby Langley tries out
the seat of the newly restored Scorpion V.
Safford-Gaide-Ratican Olds powered
fueler. This is one of three cars that resides in and were transports
east by the NHRA Motorsports Museum.
Another museum based
car, the Howard Cams Ratter on display with the Barnstormer.
Larry Dixon Sr. (who
drove this car in 1969) gets ready to do a test push start.
With a Big Show weekend off,
Larry Dixon Jr. was on hand to see dad back in the Rattler. Obviously
he was asked for his autograph a lot but this fan got the kids
to sign as well. Who know, we might be looking at the third generation
of Dixon drivers.
Guy Boucher made his long awaited
debut of the 1970 Tommy Ivo dragster and it is drop dead gorgeous.
This was the last FED Ivo campaigned but like most other restorations,
it never looked this good. Unfortunately, this beauty sustained
some front end damage during the Cacklefest. More on that in
the Cacklefest page.
Tom Ivo admires Boucher's
Boucher even restored
Ivo's famed glass sided trailer.
Ray Godman's "Tennessee
Bo Weevil" AA/FD back for its second NHRR appearance. Everyone
is hoping that Ray will make the trip west for the CHRR but he
Ray Godman can work on an engine
better than most people who walk. Here, with original driver
Preston Davis in the seat, is static fired.
The last part of the Ivo trifecta
was TV's 1973 car that was restored by Bruce Larson. Like Boucher
'70 car and Johnson's Barnstormer this is nothing short of perfect.
The detail is right down to the
engraved "TV" "Tom" on the steering wheel
and "Ivo" on the break handle.
Larson even made an exhibition
burnout on Friday.
The Hilton Family were
on hand again with their restored Tom Hoover car.
Don Trasin was on hand with his
beautiful "Jade Grenade" and Tom "The Mongoose"
McEwen Corvette funny car.
Green on green - a fan
with the Grenade.
One of Jungle Jim's funny
cars was there to cackle - which one we don't know.
Ted Guth's Hawaiian AA/FC
This was in the Bergler
pit area and stopped dead most everyone who walked by.
Across the main traffic lane
from these two areas, adjacent to the staging lanes, "Big
Daddy" Don Garlits set up camp with his traveling road show
and the first Swamp Rat to run a 426 Hemi. There were a number
of other cackle cars scattered around the area. Next to the Hospitality
tent on the other corner of the intersection, Red Greth displayed
the Speed Sport Roadster which he and his son Ken Greth brought
along in the Speed Sport AA/FC trailer.
Cacklefest Page 2
Cacklefest Page 3
That about covers all the players
in the pits. We all know the real reason they came here was for
the Cacklefest so just click the link below and we'll get right
to the meat of this site.