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Bakersfield, CA - March 07-09, 2008: The 50th anniversary of the March Meet was in short an incredible event. Under four days of Chamber of Commerce skies, the largest car count/spectator attendance in history filled the hallowed Famoso Dragstrip grounds for the event that lived up to its star billing - and more.

John and Blake Bowser along with one of the best crews ever assembled put on a drag race/car show for the ages. From the full pits on Thursday to the Winners Circle shots on Sunday this was an event brimming with an accommodating facility, incredible racing surface, friendly staff, full bore fans, record performances and a Cacklefest.

Unlike the NHRA CHRR, there was not 60+ cacklecars at the March Meet but 15 of the best accepted the invitation and filled The Grove past the 1st grandstand. The cars were on display all with with most doing static fire-ups every day. On Saturday they were all lined up in front of the pit side grandstands and gave the crowd a full dose of nitro. As always, it was a fun deal for the car owners, those who got to sit in them and most of all the fans.

Without further ado, enjoy these photos documenting the show.

Photos by: Bob Brown, Stephen Justice, Warren Merriman, Steve Wallace, Dan Kaplan, Tim Hanaseth, John Ewald and Don Ewald

 

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The Belle of The Ball and the only car making its debut was the Ritter-Kinner-Carey "Blood Sweat & Nitro" restoration done by John Ewald. The car is all original and with the talents of Dyda Race Eng. and Paint 'n Place it turned out to be a real work of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Burkholder Brothers AA/FA was brought out for the first time, after recently having been reacquired by them.

 

 

 

On loan from Gary Ormsby Jr. was the trophy awared to his dad, driving The Vagabond, for being the first car to top 200 MPH at Sacramento Raceway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The long distance award for the entire event wen to the "Scorcher" AA/FD belonging to Dennis Young and George Bukureshliev from Sydney, Australia. The car has been restored over the last year and was shipped in January, via container, to the Port of Los Angeles. There it was picked up and the engine was installed. All this just so they could be part of the 50th March Meet.

We'll let George tell you about the car's history in Australia...

The car was originally Leland Kolb’s C&C Auto Parts dragster circa 1966. In 1968 Australian car dealer and drag racer Ash Marshall purchased it and shipped it to Australia. The car was known as Scorcher.

Unfortunately in December 1968 Ash crashed Scorcher into the braking area fence badly damaging the front end, chassis and beautiful bodywork. The chassis was promptly rebuilt and the wheelbase extended. The car ran for about a year with no front body panels. In 1969 Scorcher made history by becoming the first Australian car to run 200mph. In 1970 the front panels were made and the car changed appearance with electric blue paint.

Scorcher was sold in late 1970 and continued to change hands and race all over the East coast of Australia on both nitro and methanol. In 1978 the car was retired to become a display car in the club room of a Brisbane drag racing club. There it sat dormant for 10-years.

In 1988 a man called Dennis Young heard of a dragster for sale and borrowed the money to buy it not knowing the cars history. It was soon apparent what an important car he had acquired. The car was neither suitable or safe for racing at that time so the car was rebuilt to current chassis specs. The front chassis, axle, wheels, steering and body panels were re-used. The rest of the car was brand new. The car was raced in Competition Eliminator with an injected alky small block chevy until May 2000. I began racing with Dennis in 1995 and drove the car on and off from then on.

The car lay dormant again due to several factors including the owner and team principal Dennis moving to California to start a new business. Late last year the opportunity arose to re-assemble the original chassis sections and panels and restore Scorcher to it’s original form. A plan was formed to rebuild the car and ship it to the USA where Dennis could have it painted to it’s electric blue livery. Scorcher to be displayed at the 2008 March Meet with a non-running hemi engine. All going well the car will return from Austraila for the 2008 Hotrod Reunion, this time with a fire breathing hemi engine to participate in Cacklefest with none other than Ash Marshall at the butterfly again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Kaplan warmed up the seat of Ron Johnson's Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer" for "Stormin' Normin" Weekly who finally got a chance to do a fire-up in a car other than his Frantic 4.

 

 

 

Rick MacDonald takes this opportunity to fine tune the barrel valve on the original era-correct Enderle "Showerhead" injector that he modernized. Looking at Norm's smile in the next picture, it's probably running pretty good right now!

 

 

WDIFL member Matt Nausin got the very first fire-up in Ewald's Blood Sweat & Nitro restoration as a birthday present.

 

 

 

The engine wasn't in the car until the night before it left for the March Meet so this was the "seal the rings" fire-up.

 

 

Needless the say, Matt was VERY pumped when he climed out of the car.

 

Bill Pitts had to deal with some personal problems at home so he sent Rick McDonald with his Magicar. Over the weekend he fired the car several times to the delight of the fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday afternoon just before the final session of Top Fuel qualifying the cars made their way from The Grove to the staging lane to the return road. First out was Dave West's Beebe & Mulligan fueler.

 

 

No Cacklefest is complete without Steve Gibbs orchastrating every aspect of the event.

 

 

 

Dave Jeffers guided the Poison Ivy car to its spot.

 

 

 

Don Prieto and Trevor Larkin get the Hustler VI to its spot.

 

 

Rick McDonald and Jeep Hampshire

 

 

John Ewald to his spot with the Blood Sweat & Nitro AA/FD.

 

 

 

The last car down was the Burkholder Bros. AA/FA

 

With all the cars in place we had to wait until the cars were done running on the track. Chip Stark the young man who drives his 64 Ford Wagon down from Washington for the push car at the Reunion was in Wayne Kings car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norm Weekley and his "driver" Dale Martin.

 

 

 

 

Paul Rossi got into full dress for the Yeakel Plymouth Spec. fire-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Johnson put cacklecar pro Cindy Gibbs in his Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer".

 

 

 

Ron and Cindy

 

 

Ronnie Hampshire is no stranger to Ron Johnson's "Shubert & Herbert" car.

 

 

 

 

 

Trevor Larkin got the seat in Don Prieto's "Hustler VI".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Anderson was in the Anderson Family "Vagabond". In her hand was the American Flag that Judee Shoemaker used to back up husband John from every burnout. John had lost his life due to a heart condition and crash during the second quaifying session that morning. A heart felt tribute to a lost friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Ewald explained the procedure to Leeah Capps (John Buttera's daughter) who had never been in a dragster before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne King was first to fire his Doss-Clayton-King car.... everyone else fired at will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Jeffers getting a face full of nitro fumes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Sweat & Nitro and the Burkholder Bros were the last two cars to shut down. The fans showed their approval and appreciation with cheers and claps. The whole deal went very well.

 

The post-cackle was more photos and some mingling before the cars were pushed or pulled up the fireup road and back to The Grove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the Magicar in push mode, McDonald stopped to pick up the Hustler VI in pull mode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson had another two car tow deal going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cackle was very enotional for Leeah Capps as she had just lost her dad, John Buttera, a couple of weeks earler. With Leeha is John Ewald and her husband, Ronnie Capps who was a very able Top Fuel crew chief/tuner in the 70s.

 

 

John Ewald, Bob Danly and Mario Garcia - Maxed Out Racing

 

 

 

 

Orangeline

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