Ron Johnson's Barnstormer
and Shubert & Herbert fuelers in their pit.
John Ewald's traveling
road show took up a large hunk of Irwindale real estate.
The pre-Irwindale "Cacklecar Showcase"
was a huge success. There were 10 cars there. The NHRA Museum
crew led by Dusty McWilliams brought the Pure Heaven altered,
the Safford dragster and the Rattler. John Ewald had both Mastercar
and BankAmericar plus his 58 Chev show car/push car. Ron Stearns
brought the Ratican, Jackson & Stearns altered and Bob Deburn
brought the 2006 Grand National Roadster Show winning Paradise
Alley 392 AA/FD. Ron Johnson brought both Shubert/Herbert and
the Barnstormer. Wayne Phillips brought the Stone, Woods and
Cook Willys from the NHRA Museum. Nice mix of really nice cacklecars.
Most of the cars did at least one static start from 4:00 to about
7:00. Then they started to get ready to do a cackle, scheduled
for 8:30. The cars would be the Rattler, Stearns, Paradise Alley,
Barnstormer and Ewald's pair. All Six cars were in the parade
lap pushed or towed the length of the track, lining up on the
return road at the end of the track. The cars participated in
two different fashions. Ewald's cars, Mastercar driven by John
and the BankAmericar driven by Bob Muravez were the first cars
scheduled to go. They were push started from the finish line
on the return road, which has only a chain link fence between
it and the spectators. After passing by the starting line grandstand
they made a turn and circled behind the tower and drove through
the staging area out to the starting line, where they staged
briefly and then idled down the track together.
As the Ewald cars passed the 1/8 mile track's finish line, the
Barnstormer, with Tommy Ivo in the seat, was push started and
he stopped in front of the starting line grandstand. Next was
the Ratican, Jackson Stearns altered which was also push started.
Ron Stearns pulled up alongside a space between the starting
line grandstand the main grandstand which is at half track. Then
Paradise Alley with Jim Adolph in the seat was blower started
and drove down and stopped behind Stearns. Dusty McWilliams was
push started in the Howard Cams Rattler by Bob Danly in Ewald's
'58 Chevy and pulled up in front of the main grandstand.
The Barnstormer was moved closer
and closer to the starting line 4 times along the length of the
grandstand, giving people all along the fence the opportunity
to get a snoot full of Nitro. There were no hitches in the actual
"performance". It went off just as intended, after
minor adjustments were made up to shortly before they were scheduled
This was the first time Ron Johnson had ever tried to mastermind
one of these deals and even though he had superb help from Wayne
Phillips, Rod McCarrell and Gary Edwards, it was a challenge
with just 6 cars. One can only imagine what Steve Gibbs goes
through with 50 players.
It was a very rewarding experience though, and Johnson feels
he will be much better equipped to handle another, should the
occasion ever arise. They had a number of people from the area
turn out to help in one way or another. They were short of push
vehicles so Frank Baney and Jim Rossi brought the Yeakle Plymouth
tow vehicle, and original mid 60's Dodge pickup painted to match
their soon-to-be-completed restoration. They pushed Ron Stearns
and also towed Dusty and the Rattler in the parade.
Photos by Darrell Conrad,
Pam Schavrien, Darr Hawthorne, A.L. (Fullbloom) Billings and
Although there were no
fan fire-ups at this event, several spectators took the opportunity
to sit in the seat of the Mastercar.
Gwen Durry manned the
NHRA Motorsports Museum pit and made sure nobody went hungry.
Bob Deburn's Paradise
Alley in the pits.
Although it didn't cackle,
the Pure Heaven II AA/FA was on display thanks to the museum.
The perfectly restored
Custom Body funny car was also on display.
Looking toward the track from
the end of the Cacklecar "pits", the Ratican Jackson
Stearns AA/FA, and the NHRA Museum display with Stone Woods and
Cook AA/GS and the rest of the Museum cars. Across the lane was
the Ewald display, Paradise Alley and the Cacklefest.com entries,
Barnstormer and Shubert/Herbert.
John Ewald joins Ron Stearns
and crew kick back in the Ratican-Jackson-Stearns pit. Ewald
noted how much easier it must be dealing with a short wheel base
car like their altered than his dragsters.
Another museum car was
the classic Stone, Woods & Cook AA/GS Willis.
John Ewald goes over
the start up procedure with Bob Muravez.
The Howard Cams rattler with
a freshly rebuilt 392 between the rails was one of four cars
that got the day off from just sitting around the NHRA Wally
Parks Motorsports Museum.
Ivo climbs into Ron Johnson's "Barnstormer" for a warm-up.
Bob Danly and Mario Garcia
fire the BankAmericar for its pre-cackle warm-up.
Dusty McWilliams monitors
the engine temp and throttle response.
Ron Stearns in the seat
for his warm-up.
John Ewald warms up his
Crew Chief, Bob Danly
oversees every fire-up the car does.
Johnson explains to Ivo that
these are a steering wheel and a brake handle. Tom seems a bit
overwhelmed with the concept.
"I want you!"
McWilliams has his hand
in several cacklecar tune ups.
Tom Ivo did double duty in the
warm-up department. After firing the Barnstormer he was deposited
in the seat of the Paradise Alley car.
Like we said, McWilliams
is everywhere. Here he fires the Howard Cam Rattler.
Ivo is reminded of the difference
between the Weedburners on the Barnstormer and the Zoomies on
the Paradise Alley car. Weedburners let the guy in the seat smile
for the camera. Zoomies make you want to cover your face!
As the sun set in the
west, the cars were assembled in the staging lanes.
ready to push up.
Bob Muravez goes up track
in the BankAmericar.
Tom Ivo takes the Barnstormer
Jim Adolph parades the
Paradise Alley fueler.
Mastercar fired and getting
thumbs up from the fans.
John Ewald with Bob Danly
behind the wheel of John's '58 Cevy take the Mastercar to the
top end for the push start....Danly also pushed the Rattler to
life while Ewald was going down the track.
Maxed Out Racing crew
member Mario Garcia brings up the "Bank" cars to stage.
Tom Ivo cackles The Barnstormer.
This was the first time that
Irwindale had hosted a cacklecar event with push starts. To our
knowledge it is the first time that a pair of cars had been push
started at night and staged together and idled down the track.
Both spectators and track management were enthusiastic about
the entire cacklecar agenda.
Check back for more
event coverage as they happen.