Where The Past Meets The Present - Again
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.
The Don Purdhomme "Snake"
As part of the pre-race
activites was the grand opening of Carroll Shelby's "Shelby
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
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
Back at the track the
contrast between yesterday and today were blatently obvious.
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.
Gary, one of the best
drivers ever, loved the sound of his "cake".
Danly and Ewald light Gary's
birthday candles...the 392 between the BankAmericar's rails.
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 Cochran family...they
had custom tee shirts made for the event.
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.
Famed artist Kenny Youngblood
congrats his old friend.
Gary and John admire the dragster
donated by Tom West and sign by current champion Tony Schmaucher
wishing a happy 70th.
Jake McCloud, Walt Stevens and
The McCloud crew found themselves a hot new driver....much to
Tom West just can't resist a
pretty girl around race cars, here with the BankAmericar.
Sonny Messner blew the nitro
all over the crowd, much to their delight, with a number of cackles.
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.
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
Jim Head autographs the Milestone
Development model of his funny car won at a charity auction the
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
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!
on next page.....
back for more event coverage as they happen.
Tom West - camera - pretty
girl - race car...yep, they all go together.