For the second year in a row,
the Stephens & Venables fueler was the first in line for
the dragsters. Dickie with dad Dick Venables in the seat with
car co-owner Natalie Wiley.
First out were the self start
cars (floppers, gassers and dragsters) led by this Jungle Jim
Since Bowling Green is still
way down on their car count compared to the grand daddy CHRR
in Bakersfield, self start cars that by definition are not cacklecars
are included in the show. In this case several quality gassers
rolled by the stands including the Stone Woods and Cooke cars.
Barb Hamilton - a legend
in this area of the country - in her record holding gasser.
The S&S Racing Team
was represented by these two classics.
Bruce Larson was on hand
with his 1967 USA-1 Camaro funny car.
Randal Davis is the fellow who
was Hubert's crew chief on this '70 Camaro Funny Car back in
the day. Randal searched for the car for many years and finally
found it in Nova Scotia Canada. Having been the crew chief, he
was able to ID the chassis. The restoration was finished in 2008.
First timer "Pinocchio"
AA/C. Rich Venza built this as a tribute to all the great comp
coupe cars form the 50's and 60's. Started with a '69 Woody frame,
added a custom Rod 'n Race Fiberglass body, (similar to the Pedregon
body he made) and a blown alky 358 SBC. Not a clone of any particular
car, just a tribute to a long gone era.
"The Hooligan" owned
by Kevin McDonald with his young friend John Francis in the seat.
Unfortunately for McDonald, his car ended up parked first in
line on the spectator side, next to Fred Hurst. The car fired
the car very nicely but they were at the edge of the stands so
far they couldn't be seen by many of the fans or the photographers.
There was an 8 foot concrete wall in front of them behind the
starting line and because of this there are no photos of the
car fired up.
Dick Venables was next out in
the Stevens & Venables car. He may have wrenched it in the
day but with Steve Stevens unable to make this years even he
got the seat.
The first push start car to go
down was also the oldest car in the show - the Bronson Special
built in the late 40s or early 50s (the actual date is unknown).
Original owners grandson, Bill Bronson restored the car and was
in it here.
Al Bergler, who has become a
Cacklefest staple, in the seat of his More Aggravation AA/FC.
The Logghe Stamping Co car -
another Bergler restoration. John Logghe, son of Gene (who was
also present at the event and even sat in the car for a fire
up). John runs the Logghe business now with his cousin.
Another car out of the Bergler
camp was the Gang Green entry of the late Larry Payne. Ron Bergler
was in the seat.
Bobby Langley's Scorpion V -
owned by Bill Crosby and restored by Don Ross... Crosby in the
Another Cacklefest newby was
the Ditmar Bros. AA/GD. This is a very nice car that would be
really nice with the original 3 point cage. It is owned and restored
by Shawn Dill, co-tuner along with Rahn Tobler on Cruz Pedregon's
F/C. Shaw is pictured here in the driver's seat.
On the three point cage observation
Shawn had this to say:
"I "restored" the Ditmars Bros. car with a five
point cage so I can actually run it! Some of us were born a few
years too late to experience the thrill of a real dragster so
this is my way of reliving that. I went to extremes to make sure
every detail on this car was exact to 1970, including plumbing,
fasteners, etc. All of the necessary safety improvements were
made as transparent as possible-that aluminum clutch can is actually
a brand new Browell steel can I had aluminum ceramic coated and
polished for example, and how many people would notice that the
top frame rail from just in front of the motor all the way around
the driver is now 1 1/2" instead of 1 3/8". That was
a huge undertaking, and the two hoops on the cage are perfectly
in line with one another so head on shots look like a three point,
sorry there was no way to hide it in the side view. I could have
built a "Cackle Car" and sat in a lawn chair at a car
show. Or I can go over to the local track on one of my few off
weekends and run my car for fun and try to recapture what racing
was like before sponsors, dial-ins, and race-pak computers!"
Editors Note: After an impromptu
poll of other cacklecar owners and fans the overwhelming consensus
is - lose the five point cage.
Bobby Langley, the oldest
driver in Cacklefest, in his recreated Scorpion 1B.
2009 NHRR Honoree Jerry Baltes
in his Croshier-Baltes-Lavato AA/FD. And by all accounts, nobody
had more fun this weekend than Jerry and his gang.
Jim Adolph in the Pure
Heaven II AA/FA.
Yet another Bergler restoration
is the beautiful "Probe" owned by Ed Golden who has
his 17 year old son Loren in the seat for the parade. Loren is
being groomed to be the driver in next years Cackelfest.
Brian Perrenot was back for his
second NHRR in the restored Perrenot Family "The Gizzle
Hopper" Lincoln powered AA/C. Third generation Perrenot
(Fred's granddaughter) Gretchen was in the seat.
NHRR staples are the Barnes &
Gladstone "Michigander" AA/FD owned by Bud Barnes and
Bob Gladstone. Original and Cacklefest Driver: Bud Barnes.
"Cox & Amos" AA/FD
restored as last raced in 1975. This would have been one of the
very last front engine TF cars and the only one to try to qualify
at the 1975 U.S. Nationals.
Wale & Candies 1963 AA/FD
that was restored by the late Pat Foster and owned by Paul "Tugboat"
Candies with Bob Fulton (Reb) in the seat.
The Hilton Family were on hand
again with their restored ex-Tom Hoover car. This is another
very nice piece that one can only wonder why there is a 5 point
cage on it. The original 3 point would really bring this car
David Hoyh's "Swamp
Fox" with Cammron Hoyh in the seat.
Gibson Gill Special, the only
injected fueler in the program. A 1968 A/FD now owned by Mike
This year ex-Top Fuel driver
Jim Walther got the seat in Raymond Godman's "Tennessee
Preston Davis opted to be in
the Raymond Godman's "Tennessee Bo-Weevil" funny car
that he drove in the 70s.
Kenny Safford flew back to be
in the seat of his Safford-Gaide-Ratican Olds powered A/FD. The
car is based in the NHRA Motorsports Museum and was one of three
hauled back for the event.
The meticulously Hanna restored
Creitz & Donovan AA/FD. Butch Maas was in the car for the
push start - no ID on driver here.
Big Mac took a moment to recognize
one of the best drag racing photographers of all time - Steve
Tom Hanna - nothing more can
be said about this masterpiece that already hasn't been echoed
Larry Dixon Sr. was reunited
with the seat of the Smirnoff fueler and had a ball doing it.
Larry Dixon Jr. was featured
in the seat of the Howard Cams Ratter and got a huge Kentucky
welcome from the thousands of fans.
As he always does, Don
"Big Daddy" Garlits finished off the parade.
It's Showtime -
The calm before the storm.
Dickie Venables waited
for the signal for the static start cars to fire their engines.
The first nitro car to start
and it just went crazy from here. Push starts would be coming
down track at a pace that precluded any silence.
Enjoy the photos -
you know who's who by now!
Yea, that was fun!
The fans flowed out of the stands
and those of who had seen this act before retreated to the safety
of the pits. In hindsight it was a great idea because 45 minutes
after this shot was taken the sky fell out - the first and only
rain storm of the weekend. It cooled things off for a few minutes
but only added to the intense humidity on Sunday.
What a difference a few hours
make. By Sunday morning the cacklecar pits were all but a ghost
town. Unlike the CHRR, most of the people here don't stick around
for Sunday if they are not in the show. That pretty much left
the photogs to shoot eliminations.
See you all (hopefully)
at the CHRR in October!