It wasn't the biggest Cacklefest
show but the cars that did make the call to Columbus, Ohio and
National Trails Raceway were quality pieces and the NHRA Big
Show fans loved them. The upside for the cars that did participate
is they get a lot of cacklefest.com ink!
Through the event prior to Cacklefest,
the cars were part of a small NHRR promotional display situated
within the Pro-car pits ("Nitro Alley") rather than
along the Manufacturer Midway. Elsewhere (his pit) Don Trasin
had the "Jade Grenade" and McEwen Corvette FC on display.
Trasin was competing the Super Comp and Super Gas categories
with his current racecars, precluding any active role in Cacklefest.
Co-ordinators for the Cacklefest were Fred Bear (legendary Gasser
driver from the eastern S&S Gasser Team) and former NHRA
Division Director Bob Daniels.
Now we invide you to enjoy some
Vic Cooke photos from the weekend.
Scene-set at National Trail Raceway
(U.S. Route 40 that runs in front of the track is known as "The
The five cars that were there
had a really nice pit area behind the grandstands amid the Top
Fuel rigs. L to R: Al Bergler's "More Aggravation"
AA/FMC, Barnes & Gladstone AA/FD, The Probe AA/FD and Croshier-Baltes-Lavato
Barb Hamilton's 1937
Willys C/GS was at the head of the pit lineup.
Don Trasin had his two premier
cacklecars on display but racing commitments and the absence
of Pat Foster kept them out of the Cacklefest.
There was a constant
flow of fans admiring the cars and asking questions.
Fred Bear's Nomad Pushcar for
Baltes' AA/FD and Jacob's '65 Ford Pushcar for "The Probe".
Midwest staple Barb Hamilton
who will be the "Grand Marshal" at the 2006 NHRR at
Bowling Green, KY.
The Probe and Jerry Baltes'
cars at rest.
Al Bergler's restored
"More Aggravation" AA/FMR
Barnes & Gladstone
Beginning the tow to pre-staging,
Barb Hamilton rolls past the fans along "Nitro Alley".
As is customary at NHRA events, the cacklecars are taken to the
top of the push road prior to the semi final pro rounds.
Lining up in "pre-staging"
downtrack. This is at the 1000' turnoff leading into the pro
pits from the return road. The cars gathered here just prior
to the semi-final round before staging on the return road itself.
Joshua Shaw's Ford pushtruck
for "More Aggravation" fitted with a Potvin-blown small
block Chevy in the bed.
Pulling out into staging along
the fence on the return road. (At this point, the return road
is one-way downtrack for the race crews chasing their car for
pickup at the top end). Hamilton, the only self-start car, was
at the head of the line on the top end.
Josh Shaw's girlfriend, Beth
Roedersheiner, offers a few glamor poses from the seat of "Michigander"
Hurry up and wait...
Owner: Jerry Baltes
Cacklefest Driver: Jerry Baltes
Pushcar/driver: 1955 Chev Nomad - Fred Bear
Talk about old meeting new. You
have 40 year old race cars with a 4.90 on the scoreboard.
Al Bergler's "More
Cacklefest Driver: Al Bergler
Bergler in the cockpit.
Barnes & Gladstone
Owner: Bud Barnes and Bob Gladstone
Cacklefest Driver: Bud Barnes
Pushcar/driver: 1953 Ford Pickup - Joshua Shaw
Everybody ready to go.
Prior to the push start fuel
cars, Barb Hamilton drove her Willis to its spot on the track.
Owner: Ed Golden
Cacklefest driver: Ron Bergler (Al's son)
Pushcar/driver: 1965 Ford Wagon - Jim Jacobs
This is a great shot of a push
start and check out the fans in the rear view mirror.
Perplexed shrug and hand gesture
by Jerry Baltes as his car wouldn't fire. Starting line crew
pushes him into position. (Jerry thinks mag might have been wet
and shorted from all the rain).
Summary by Vic Cooke: Very cool weather and a lot of rain
factored into both raceday attendance and the running of the
race. Rain didn't quit till 10 a.m. on raceday. Looked like quite
a few "sold" reserved seats were left unoccupied.
The congested display area didn't
allow for any "exhibition" fire-ups of the cacklecars
at their pitsite.
Nonetheless, the display was quite popular with a steady crowd
of admirers and the curious circulating through.
Not the noisiest C'fest with
only three of the five cars running...and the "Michigander"
being the only lit car on nitro. Reception by the fans was positive,
but a little subdued. I noted many taking photos, and a lot of
waves from the stands and positive comments from the fencehangers
as we pushed back to the pits.
The effort may have suffered
from the lack of any opportunity for a "rehearsal,"
particularly considering the very short pushstart room available
and inexperience on the part of one of the drivers and a couple
of the pushcars.
(Would a chance to "warm" the engine at the pitsite
prior to staging have helped the failed-start situation?)
Despite the glitches, everyone
rose to the occasion with an "improv" effort to present
a good show, and it was a commendable performance.