Meanwhile, after a hasty conversation
with Boucher, Ivo came out on the return road to where the Barnstormer
was. There he was approached by Garlits and there was an animated
conversation between the two. Probably not for the first time
either, as they match raced each other all over the country for
almost 20 years from 1962 on. Following this conversation, Garlits
returned to his car and Ivo came over to the Barnstormer and
spent the next half hour schmoozing with fans.
Damage to the Garlits car was
concentrated on the fiberglass tail section below the push bar.
Probably a fiberglass patch and a black paint fog job will make
it presentable again. The Boucher car was was another matter
as the nose piece was smashed down and the axle and torsion tube
were pushed back. However, no one was hurt and as painful as
it was to see the damage, tubing, aluminum and paint are all
replaceable or repairable. Both cars will live to see another
At minimum, two factors played
into this unfortunate accident. First, the Garlits push car should
have remained in line behind the dragster. The second factor
is as follows. We have been told that when Steve Gibbs asked
Guy Boucher if they needed a practice push start, Boucher told
Gibbs that they were okay. Gibbs feels that had the practice
start taken place, the problem with the motor not starting would
have been uncovered and could have been remedied prior to Cacklefest.
According to Gibbs, at future Cacklefests, a practice push start
will be mandatory for all new cars and/or all first time drivers
and also all new combinations of car and driver and proficiency
of each start will be observed by officials. This seems eminently
realistic and something that we have been enthusiastic about
for some time.
Here Gibbs and Garlits have a
Sunday morning chat, no doubt discussing the events of the night
Parting Shot: Front engine dragsters
are very hard to see out of and have been running into the back
of other dragsters (and countless other objects) all through
the history of the sport. An East Coast racer named Joe Tucci
was seriously injured in just this way in 1960 and Ivo himself
has been heavily rear ended more than once. A driver was killed
at Fremont when he was sent down with another dragster stopped
on the strip. Art Malone was once hit in his stalled car very
near the finish line. These cars were driven by watching both
sides of the track and what was dead straight ahead was totally
The term "that's just racing"
has been used over the years to describe incidents like this.
Maybe we need to add a new phrase "that's just cackling!".
That concludes our coverage of
NHRR Cacklefest V. It is possible we will be adding more late
arriving photos so check back from time to time. We hope to see
many of you at the inaugural Up Close and Personal Cacklecar
Showcase at Irwindale Dragstrip on August 4th, 2007. And if you
haven't done it already, make your reservation for the greatest
show on Earth - the 2007 California Hot Rod Reunion October 12-14