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Indianapolis, IN August 29 - September 03, 2007: One of the few things drag racers will almost unanamously agree on is that the U.S.Nationals was, is and always will be the premier event of drag racing. Period. Although much has changed over the last 53 years, Indy still congers up emotions felt nowhere else. For many those emotions were steeped by the invitation only Cacklefest dubbed the "Select Sixteen".
For the first time ever there were two Cacklefest's held at one event - one on Saturday evening and one on Monday prior to all the final rounds using two different formats. Saturday night, all the cars were paraded and then lined up in front of the grandstand, facing away, so the noise and fumes would go to the fans in the stands. On a signal, they all lit up at once and ran as long as possible. On Monday all the cars were lined up on the track beyond the finish line, half the cars in the right lane and half in the left. They were push started one at a time and were stopped aiming at the edge of the track. For both events, the fans went NUTS!
The following cars and drivers participated:
Swamp Rat / Don Garlits
Ivo Barnstormer / Howard Haight
Howard Cams Rattler / Larry Dixon, Sr.
King & Marshall / Jimmy King (first push start in 35 years)
Croshier, Baltes & Lavato / Jerry Baltes
Safford, Gaide & Ratican / Kenny Safford
Poachers / Walt Stevens
Wale & Candies / Bob Fulton (crewmember on original team)
Gang Green / Larry Payne (original owner & driver)
Aggravation III / Al Bergler
Loukas & Preising / John Loukas
Michigander / Bob Gladstone
Swamp Fox / Harold Brewer (original driver)
Probe / Ed Golden
Paris Bros. Twin / Dominic Paris
FireFly II / David Daniels (Bob Daniels re-created B/ Comp Coupe tribute car)
Photos by Ron Lewis, Ron Johnson amd Dave Hoyh
Backing up, the cacklecars had a full week in Indianapolis starting with an appearance at ARC Racing Engines in Brownsburg (on Nitro Alley). The crew at ARC had over 200 folks show up for some food and drink - and nitro! On hand were the Ivo Barnstormer with Howard Haight in the seat, The Poachers with Mikey Roth and non other than Larry Dixon Sr. in the Howard Cams Rattler.
All Schumacher Racing Photos by Ron Lewis
Paul Schavrien's "Poachers" AA/FD all the way from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Howard Haight in the newly painted Ivo Barnstormer.
On Friday 10 of cars were taken to Don Schumacher Racing Open House (who's shop is also in Nitro Alley) for his open house and, to the delight of the many visitors, they did some static fire-ups. It was a highlight of a great day that raised $17,000 for Riley Hospital for Children. Steve Gibbs and the NHRA Museum staff were very gracious to participate along with several prominent Midwestern cars.
This is 12 year-old Tyler Genneken in Paul Schavrien's "Poachers" car. Tyler was being treated for leukemia at Riley Hospital and had a great "Cacklefest" experience thanks to Paul and Dusty from the Museum. Tyler was in the last car to shut off and was all smiles. He is doing much better and has since returned to playing football. Maybe a dose of nitro is good for us after all.
Justin Grant's replica of Shoes "Stardust" Funny Car was a big hit. Steve Gibbs and John Loukas Kokomo, Indiana's Troy Coker owns this nitro (not alcohol) Jr. Fueler. Howard Haight filled in for TV Tommy Ivo in the "Barnstormer." AA/Fuel Coupes of Loukas & Preising and Motown's Al Bergler.
Indoor exhibits included 100+ show cars and bikes, Dodge concept cars, Tony Schumacher's Army TF car, Gary Scelzi's gold Mopar/Oakley tribute car and a huge array of raffle prizes that rained $17,000 for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
All 7 DSR drivers were on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. The legend -- Kenny Safford in the Safford, ratican and Gaide "Sour Sisters" Oldsmobile AA/FD. King & Marshall, The Poachers and The Barnstormer. Entering the main grandstand area at the U.S. Nationals.
In the background you can see a few of the many 1932 Fords also on display. All part of the salute to the 75th Anniversary of the "deuce".
Ron Johnson's "Ivo Barnstormer" showing off its new paint/lettering job.
The Cacklecars, for those of you familiar with the Indy layout, were clustered to the left of the main grandstand entry along the outer wall and under an 8 car tent. Al Bergler's camp included his Aggravation III, Gang Green with Larry Payne (original owner & driver) and Ed Golden's "Probe".
The David Hoyh Family "Swamp Fox" with Harold Brewer (original driver) on hand. Croshier, Baltes & Lavato with Jerry Baltes in control. The Michigander of Barnes & Gladstone with Bob Gladstone up for Cacklefest.
Safford, Gaide & Ratican made another trip east from the NHRA Museum and Kenny and Caroline Safford drove their custom 1959 El Camino over from Chicago to do the Cacklefest.
Wale & Candies with Bob Fulton who was a crew member on the original team getting the seat honors.
Don Garlits brought his repaired (from Columbus) Swamp Rat VIII.
The King and Marshall AA/FD, now owned by Ray Helger, Jr. of Little Compton, Rhode Island with Jimmy King who would do his first push start in 35 years.
John Loukas brought the Loukas & Preising AA/FC from his home in St. Paul, Minnesota. John was accompanied by his wife Ginger and his two sons and their families. John was in the car himself for the cackles.
Paul Schavrian brought the Poachers from California to cackle with Walt Stevens in the seat. Paul convoyed with Dusty McWilliams and his son Shane, towing the NHRA trailer with the Rattler, the Safford Olds and the Barnstormer. They arrived on Tuesday to be present for the promotional pre-event fire-ups.
Another museum car was The Howard Cams Rattler and it was handled Larry Dixon, Sr. FireFly II (Bob Daniels re-created B/ Comp Coupe tribute car). Construction of The FireFly was done by Mike Spitzer as a tribute to his long time friend Bob Daniels.
Paris Bros. Twin with driver Dominic Paris The Frank Pedregon tribute car built by Pat Foster for Tony & Cruz. It was a display only. Here are some candid shots from the staging lanes prior to Saturday's Cacklefest.
Barnes and Gladstone Michigander.
Baltes on the left and the Swamp Fox on the right.
The Candies and Wales car of Paul Candies, restored last year by Pat Foster who was in attendence to help with the cars fire-ups. Dave Huber, Louisville, KY, provided push truck services.
David Hoyh brought the Swamp Fox, originally owned by his dad, Mel Hoyh. Ralph Kitron restored this car
The Safford Olds with the long owned 59 El Camino. The stunning "More Aggravation" AA/Competition Coupe owned by Al Bergler.
The "Gang Green" car owned by Larry Payne which was restored by Al Bergler and first seen at Columbus at the NHRR.
The Tommy Ivo Barnstormer behind Jim Coffey's 57 Ranchero push car.
The Howard Cam Rattler, restored by Nick Arias III and Brent Johansen, originally owned by the Porsche Brothers who were all here. The tow car is a Chev Nomad owned by Fred Bear who has volunteered as a push car/driver at many Eastern and Mid-west NHRA cackles.
A bonus to Cacklefest fans was the freshly restored Gas Ronda SOHC Mustang, now owned by Brent Hajek of Ames, OK. So far we only have a few shots from Saturday. Howard Haight in the Ivo Barnstormer. Getting almost as much attention as the Cacklefest cars was the fleet of period correct push vehicles. Seen here is Jim Coffey's '57 Ranchero, use to push The Barnstormer. Walt Stevens in The Poachers. Bob Fulton in the Wale & Candies restoration. Harold Brewer in The Swamp Fox. Cacklefest dinner group on Sunday night celebrating Cindy Gibbs' (front - 2nd from left) birthday.
Ron Johnson, Walt Stevens, Jake McCloud, and Paul Schavrien kick back in the Poachers pit. Ron Johnson, Jim Coffey, Kol Johnson, and Howard Haight with The Barnstormer. Throughout the weekend the Cacklefest drivers sat for well received autograph sessions. The Monday push start Cacklefest was staged at the top of the track.
Howard Haight strapped in and ready to go. Harold Brewer ready to go in the Swamp Fox. Garlits was the last car down. Check back for more event coverage as they happen.