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Where The Past Meets The Present - Again

 

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Back by popular demand and after a two year absence, Cacklefest returned to the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In coordination with Steve Gibbs and the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum 10 premiere cacklecars were invited to "do their thing" in the desert. The cars were displayed right behind the main grandstands on manufacturers row so the fans could enjoy visiting the teams, hearing some static cackles and gather some autographs. The most heard comment at this and every event is "thank you for bringing back some great memories for me" and "this is when drag racing was at it's best". For those who could not be there we give you the story in photos.

Photos by: Ron Lewis, Tom West and John Ewald.

 

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As part of the pre-race activites was the grand opening of Carroll Shelby's "Shelby Corner Cafe".

 

The Don Purdhomme "Snake" model.

 

The cacklecars were represented by Kuhl & Olson, the Ewald Bros. BankAmericar, the Swamp Rat III recreation of Sonny Massner, Paul Schavrien's "The Poachers" and Frank Baney and Jim Rossi brought the Yeakle Plymouth Spec. The "Big Show" cars were represented by the Ford funny car of Bob Tasca III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Reinhart was on hand to do interviews like this one with Carroll Shelby.

 

Along with Shelby signing autographs were Don Prudhomme, John Force, Robert Height and Bob Tasca III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event was organized by Mike Kuhl's better half, Lynn. She did a professional job and all attendees had a great time.

 

When it was time to make some noise, John Ewald put Brittney Force in the BankAmericar while Robert Height got the seat in Mike Kuhl's car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Papa John Force (in the background) was a bit concerned at first but after he saw Brittney's face light up with the flames he just enjoyed it. She had never seen flames in front of her. A couple of years back Ashley had her first FED cackle in the BankAmericar.

 

 

The BankAmericar's crew chief Bob Danly brings up the R's and this car is loud as noted by both John and Brittney.

 

After Brittney's cackle, little sister Cortney climbed in the seat and was joined by mom and dad for a photo. Ashley was in town enjoying "The Beatles Love" show.

 

 

John Ewald and Laurie Force talk about how simple drag racing used to be... Purdhomme seems to be remembering to "good ol times" as well. John has been taking photos of the Force's for 30 years and promised not to publish the diaper shots he has of all three of the Force girls.

 

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Back at the track the contrast between yesterday and today were blatently obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the highlights of the weekend was the celebration of Gary "Mr. C" Cochran's 70th birthday. Here Jerry Ruth adds his congrats.

 

John Ewald shows Gary the custom birthday card drawn by Kenny Youngblood and signed by the who's who of drag racing's past and present.

 

Danly and Ewald light Gary's birthday candles...the 392 between the BankAmericar's rails.

 

 

Gary, one of the best drivers ever, loved the sound of his "cake".

 

 

 

A huge crowd including 30 members of Gary Cochran's family gave him a big applause when he finally "blew out" the 392's candles.

 

 

The Kenny Youngblood drawn birthday card for Gary signed by the "who's who" of drag racing. When NHRA announcer Bob Frey was informed of Gary's 70th birthday he did a very nice tribute over the track PA system covering all of Gary's racing accomplishments.

 

The Cochran family...they had custom tee shirts made for the event.

 

 

Gary and John admire the dragster donated by Tom West and sign by current champion Tony Schmaucher wishing a happy 70th.

 

Famed artist Kenny Youngblood congrats his old friend.

 

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Jake McCloud, Walt Stevens and The McCloud crew found themselves a hot new driver....much to everyone's delight.

 

 

 

 

Tom West just can't resist a pretty girl around race cars, here with the BankAmericar.

 

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Sonny Messner blew the nitro all over the crowd, much to their delight, with a number of cackles.

 

 

 

 

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Milestone Devolvement Group's Tom West talks over a die cast motorcycle program with Urs Erbacher. In addition to being Europe's top fuel champion he also builds and races drag bikes.

 

 

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Arguably one of the finest racing photographers ever Ron Lewis didn't hesitate to take the seat for a fire up in the BankAmericar. He walked around the rest of the race with a big grin on his face. The Ewald crew is happy to honor the unsung heroes of racing...the photogs who capture the action.

 

 

 

 

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Jim Head autographs the Milestone Development model of his funny car won at a charity auction the night before.

 

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The Ewald crew had the pleasure of being guests of computer guru Roger Garvin while in Vegas. He had never experienced a nitro burning Hemi before this...now he's hooked!

 

 

 

 

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Pat "Ma" Green was in Vegas to spend some time with her son, Randy who's the "Floater" on the Lucas/JR Todd Top Fuel car. And, she never misses a chance for a dose of nitro in a cacklecar!

 

 

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Tom West - camera - pretty girl - race car...yep, they all go together.

 

 

 

Cacklefest proper on next page.....

 

 

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Check back for more event coverage as they happen.

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