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With the loss of NHRA founder and figure head, Wally Parks in 2007 it seemed more that fitting to give him a tribute worthy of his legend at the final race of the season. It took a lot of planning but the participants, representing every era and every class of NHRA drag racing over the last 50 decades made their way to the hallowed grounds of Pomona Raceway to make beautiful noise for the guy who made this all happen so many years ago.

During a weekend filled with controversy over the new World Championship points system one thing was not debated... the passing of Wally and the tribute organized in his memory was an emotional segment for racers and fans alike.

Between the semis and finals on Sunday, nearly a quarter mile of significant vehicles and people line up in front of the grandstands. After the preamble and introductions they did a simultaneous fire-up (functional cars) to conclude the presentation. These cars and people were representative of Wally's career, and his influence on motorsports.

Dave McClelland moderated.

Original NHRA Safari station wagon and Trailer with the original safari team consisting of Bud Coons, Chic Cannon, Bud Evans, and Eric Rickman.

Lineup: Historical

Dry Lakes Roadster: Ed Iskenderian

Al Teague Streamliner: Al Teague

SoCal Roadster: Alex Xydias

Chrisman #25 Dragster: Art Chrisman

Glass Slipper Dragster: Ed Cortopassi

Dragmaster Dart: Jim Nelson and Dode Martin (first car in NHRA Museum)

Street Rods: One car each from 4 clubs: Cal Rods, Road Kings, L.A. Roadsters and Street Rods Forever

1960s Vintage Front Engine Fuel Dragsters

Ivo Barnstormer: Tommy Ivo
Magicar: Jeep Hampshire
Baney & McEwen Yeakel Plymouth Special: Billy Tidwell (Tom McEwen with car).
Howard Cams Rattler: Marvin Graham
Kuhl and Olson: Carl Olson
Swamp Rat 3: Don Garlits (Sonny Messner's car)

Other Participants

Over Hill Gang Top Fuel Dragster: Kelly Brown - winner of 25th U.S. Nationals.

Bubble-Up Nostalgia Funny Car: Canadian Champion Terry Capp with Crew Chief Roland Leong.

Army '78 Plymouth Arrow FC: Don Prudhomme (Bob Brandt with car).

"Suddenly" 1957 Plymouth Wally Parks Roadster.

Cal Rods replica: Richard Parks and David Parks.

NHRA selections / all classes.

Junior Dragster Current Junior Champion: driver J.R. Todd stood by car.
Stock: Jerry Emmons - Chevelle
Super Stock: Houser/DeFrank - Cuda
Super Gas: Paul Weichmann
Super Comp Comp: Ed Sigmon
T/AFC: Steve Gasparelli
T/AD: Tom Bayer
Pro Stock Bike: Steve Johnson
Pro Stock: Warren Johnson
Funny Car - John Force Racing: Mike Neff
Top Fuel Dragster - Kalitta/Mac Tools car: Scott Kalitta.

Also included were Linda Vaughn, Marv Rifchin and the All Time Top Ten Drag Racers.

Photos by Tom West and John Ewald





Prior to the Sunday Cacklefest Tribute, some of the cars were on display at the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum located on the same grounds as the drag strip. Greeting visitors was the Ron Johnson owned Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer" AA/FD.


Jack and Jenna Beckman show off their new bundle of joy and future racer Friday night.


Tom Ivo - Your Hero and Mine - with the Barnstormer inside the museum.




Ronnie Hampshire and Cindy Gibbs, who played a significant role in making the tribute happen, chat on the Midway.


Even the "Salt" cars were represented with the Al Teague Streamliner.



Art Chrisman's 25 car and the Glass Slipper on display.


The Howard Cams Rattler and the Candies & Hughes world champion car shared the museum pits.


Dusty McWilliams warmed up the Howard Cams Rattler prior to the show. You can't see her, but a gal who shoots for Full Throttle News was in the seat.


Sonny Messner gets ready to fire his Garlits-Swingle Swamp Rat III.


Steve Gibbs, who once again played the role of organizer perfectly, and Sonny.


Saturday night after final round of qualifying at the WORLD FINALS, Sonny Messner and Ron Johnson lined up their cars and lit them up. Ivo was behind another Garlits Swamp Rat and loving every minute of it.








Ron Johnson freely admitted to being a trouble maker. After they were done running, they rolled the cars together and posed Sonny and Tommy to simulate the reactions to a staged accident! (see 2007 NHRR Columbus). It was fun.


Somehow they got Gibbs to join the Screen Actors Guild for a few minutes and intercede between the two miscreants.


The Howard Cams Rattler dazzles the Big Show fans with artist James Ibusuki in the seat.


The Roland Leong tuned, Terry Capp driven "Pacemaker - Bubble-Up" Nostalgia Funny Car was also a fan favorite.



Gwen Drury, who recently became Gwen McWilliams, and Rose Dickinson, Manager of Marketing and Advertising for the NHRA Museum were doing everything from polishing to Cacklefest registration. As always, the entire museum staff was a part of making this happen.




Long time NHRA Division Director and announcer, Bernie Partridge and Big.


Carl Olson sits in the Kuhl & Olson fueler prior to the show.


Dave McClellan, Bernie Partridge and Eileen Daniels. Here's about 140 years of NHRA history.


NHRA Museum Curator, Greg Sharp with his gal Donna Crowther.


Roland Leong and Dale Armstrong.


Bill Pitts and crew wait at the top end to take the Magicar down for the show.


It took some time to line up all the cars on the return road and boy, were there some players.













The contemporary race cars were closest to the starting line, the vintage cars in the center and the other cars were staged on the top end.
Photo courtesy of National Dragster


Don Garlits and Sonny Messner


Terry Capp, Ron Hodson, Roland Leong and the Bubble-up crew.


Carl Olson and Mike Kuhl


Yeakel Plymouth Spec.: Tyler Baney, Bill Tidwell, Frank Baney, Chuck Gobel and Paul Rossi. Tom McEwen joins the group (below).



Tom Ivo and Ron Johnson with the Barnstormer.



Dragmaster Dart: Jim Nelson and Dode Martin.



Bill Pitts' "Magicar"




The Snake and crew before the fire ups. Shortly after this event Prudhomme sold this car and most of his other old race cars in an 8 figure deal to Ralph Whitworth for his museum in Winnemucca, Nevada called America's Car Collection..



Wildlife Racing - Don Prudhomme & Tom McEwen - 37 years later.


Tommy Ivo


Jeep Hampshire


Terry Capp in the Bubble-Up flopper.


Kelly Brown


The Vipe looks very excited.


Garlits in the Messner Swamp Rat.


Bill Tidwell in the Baney, Rossi & McEwen Yeakel Plymouth car.


Carl Olson



Jeep Hampshire


Tom Ivo


Dennis Hespeller, Jack Beckman, Vince Yamasaki and Jeep Hampshire.


"Fast Jack" Beckman and the "Magicar" crew on their way back to the pits.







2006 CHRR Cacklefest DVD




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