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Here a report from the July 28th PDA organized Long Beach street event in the Bixby Knolls business district. This is the second year the event has been staged, through the efforts of Rae Gabelich, a city councilwoman and whirlwind of energy. Toyota was the main event sponsor and they cross promoted their other Long Beach event, the Toyota CART Grand Prix.

The Cackle portion of the event took up about one fourth of the total space but seemed to be the strongest draw for the citizenry who turned out in larger numbers than last year. There was a long two block section of Atlantic Avenue blocked off. Atlantic which has a center median is the main "downtown" street in the Bixby Knolls business district and runs North to South. The North bound side of the street was a two block long car show with the cars angle parked to the curb. The Southern end of the Southbound lane was more show cars, with a strong presence of CART and Formula Atlantic cars highlighting the Long Beach Grand Prix.

The cackle area "pits" was in the North end of Southbound half and the intersection was completely blocked off, both North and South of the cross street, for a space about 200 feet long. This was closed off with interlocking temporary fencing and all the cackle cars were lined up in this area. This was done to provide security to the area where the Nitromethane and Alcohol fuel was kept and used. The Fire Marshall had created some pretty elaborate requirements to be followed to keep the spectators at a distance anytime a Nitro container was open.

Lots of heroes as well including Tom Ivo, Walt Stevens, Dale Pulde, Roland Leong, Dan Broussard, Lil John Buttera, Kenny Youngblood, Bob Kachler, Doug Fisher, the Hampshires and on and on.

Photos by Darrell Conrad, Pam Schavrien, Warren Merriman, Doug Kruse, John Ewald and Ron Johnson

 

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There were 11 cars present. From North to South were first the BankAmericar and Mastercar of John Ewald and Bill Pitts MagiCar.

 

Then Ken Blackmore's Poison Ivy crewed by Jay Carpenter, Don Prieto's Hustler 5, The Barnstormer and Shubert/Herbert owned by Ron Johnson, Terry Mastrejuan's Thunder Chief, the Dean Engineering car of Jake and Jack McCloud, the Ratican, Jackson, Stearns AA/FA brought by Ron Stearns and a contemporary Top Alcohol Dragster.

 

 

 

Dale Pulde and Valerie Harrell once again were helpful in bringing barrels of Pro Nitro and Alcohol and doling it out to the participants. Each car got 10 gallons of Nitro. Everyone's fuel jugs were kept under an e-z up in this common area anytime they were not in the cars trailer. All fuel mixing had to be done in this location. Three carts were provided to accompany participants fueling their cars. The carts had rubber rugs to be placed under the fuel tank and a qualified person, lead by Bill Pitts, stood at the ready with a fire extinguisher as fueling took place, three cars at a time. Overkill perhaps, but in a downtown business area with thousands of people on the sidewalks, nobody objected to the required safety measures.

 

Doug Kruse lays out the "nitro rules" with Fire Captain, Bill Pitts looking on.

 

 

 

Bob Danly and Mario Garcia not only helped with firing 5 different cars they were official "Nitro Firemen" as they had completed NHRA's Fuel Handling course....they were not happy with the very hot yellow firesuits they had to wear...it did keep the fire chief happy.

 

 

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At 3:30, the cars were fired up one at a time, starting basically from the North to South.

 

Hal Sanguinetti was in Ron Johnson's Shubert & Herbert car.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Prieto gets his Hustler VI ready to fire with Tommy Larkin in the seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Tom Ivo MIA, Funny Car pilot Dale Pulde fired Johnson's Barnstormer.

 

 

 

 

 

Monika Gilbert does the Make A Wish car show supported by drag racers was in the seat of John Ewald's BankAmericar. It was her birthday so they decided to give her some real candles to blow out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeep Hampshire in Bill Pitts' MagiCar.

 

Crewing the MagiCar were Dennis Hespeller and Vince Yamasaki.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Lethein, who grew up in the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach with the "Ewald Boys" was in the seat of John Ewald's "Mastercar".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Igge (of Jr. Fuel fame - Sons of the Rising Sun) was in Ken Blackmore's Poison Ivy fueler.

 

 

 

 

 

Terry Mastrejuan in his slick "Thunder Chief" AA/FD

 

 

 

 

Bob Danly gave the McCloud gang a hand firing their Blue Streak Special.

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Stearns in the Ratican-Jackson-Stearns - AA/FA.

 

 

 

 

 

Not a cacklecar for sure, but this contemporary Top Alcohol Dragster of Cartmell & Wright got the fans attention as well.

 

 

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Here are a couple of shots of Rae Gabelich in John Ewald's Indy car. John's better half, Cynthia Carpenter ran the fund raiser as they charged people to sit in the car for a photo op and raised over $300 for the Special Olympics, the charity that the event's proceeds went to. Firestone Complete Auto Care covered the cost of having the car there and were a major sponsor of the event as well.

 

 

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The cars in place for the 5:30 session.

 

 

 

The huge crowd was riveted to the nitro belching dinosaurs.

 

Ken Blackmore had Poison Ivy hitting on all eight.

 

 

 

 

Bluestreak Special got the crowds attention.

 

 

 

Bob Danly and Mario Garcia fire the BankAmericar with Chris Buttera in the seat. Chris is Lil John's son and got the seat after it was offered it to John who asked if Ewald would give it to his son....that's Lil John's hot rod in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

Ivo was in his rightful place in the seat of the Barnstormer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Beach City Councilwoman, Rae Gabelich gets ready for her fire up in the MagiCar.

 

Next to the MagiCar was the Mastercar with none other than the Mayor of Long Beach, Bob Foster in the seat.

 

 

 

 

With both cars barking at each other the Mayor and Councelwoman had a blast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rae Gabelich, already having had a "fire-up opportunity in Pitts' MagiCar, wanted her son Guy, to have the same experience. He was seated in the Shubert/Herbert car and enjoyed the experience completely.

 

 

 

 

Gabelich gets a kick out of watching Guy's reaction to the fuel Chevy.

 

 

Kol and Ron Johnson flank Rae Gabelich after Guy's fire-up.

 

Rod McCarrell was in the Hustler VI for its second fire-up...this was his first time sitting in a FED,

 

 

 

Bob Danly was kept busy overseeing the fire-up of 4 different cars including the Thunder Chief.

 

 

 

 

 

Jake McCloud in the Bluestreak Special.

 

 

 

Ron Stearns waits to fire the Ratican-Jackson-Stearns - AA/FA.

 

 

 

 

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At 7;30, the final fire-up was scheduled with the cars fired in two halves. Alternating 1,3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 and then 2,4,6,8,10 and 12 positions. This fire-up was delayed until the last possible minute to wait for the Sun to go down, but yet finish up on time for the 8:00 noise curfew. Cindy Gibbs Arias took the seat in Shubert/Herbert for this fire-up and Cindy's high wattage smile is an indication of what she thought of this.

 

Like previous sessions, the crowd was 10 deep for the final.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Ivo was back in the Barnstormer for the evening show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Streak Special.

 

 

 

 

Crewman, Mario Garcia got a chance to be inside the BankAmericar for a change.

 

 

 

 

 

Kiersten Brada-Pitts got her first fire-up in her Dad's MagiCar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Igge in the Poison Ivy fueler for the final fire-up.

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Muhlenhort of Racetec in Oxnard, Ca. former owner driver of the High Spirit AA/FD (2 front motored & 2 back motored cars under that name) was in the Hustler IV. Last dragster was the Hollywood Squares AA/FD. Originally from the East Coast, moved to Ca. in the 70's and built cars for the "Old Man" at RCS. Opened Racetec in 1977 and have built frames and bodies to this date. "Thanks to my good friend Don Prieto for letting me slip into the seat of the Hustler VI, to be washed once again in thunder and nitro fumes. It's been 30 years. How I have missed it."

 

 

Kenny doned a mask for session three in the Thunder Chief.

 

 

 

Rod McCarrell was in the Mastercar for the third session. He got to see flames for his second sitting in a top fuel dragster.

 

 

 

 

 

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Also on hand were some noteable vendors including the premiere nostalgia drag publication, Full Throttle News and the smiling faces of Ora Mae and Robyn Millar representing Drag Cartoons.

 

 

PDA Staff Ken Wynia, Bill Pitts and event organizer, Doug Kruse.

 

All the ususal suspects.

 

Kenny Youngblood poses with Rae Gabelich and gives here one of his on-the-fly drawings of her HUSBAND GARY IN THE PURPLE GANG DRAGSTER HE DROVE. The Lion's sign was the actual sign that stood in the middle of Lion's lanes on closing night. Don Cook owns this half, he and John Ewald split the halves of the sign on that fateful night December 2nd, 1972. Ewald's half now hangs in the Don Garlits museum.

 

John Ewald and Rae Gabelich. Rae holds the bag of money raised for the Special Olympics from the Firestone Complete Auto Care Indy Car photo op booth.

 

Don Prieto, Tom Ivo and Bill Marcel who tuned the Ernie's Camera A/FD when Ivo drove.

 

Richard Gutierrez, Tom Ivo and Kol Johnson.

 

Tom Ivo, Cindy Gibbs and Ron Johnson.

 

Ex-dragster pilot and member of the High Speed Motorsports Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster team, Walt Stevens is always the clown.

 

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Check back for more event coverage as they happen.

 

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