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Event Report by Bill Pitts

 

Escondido, CA - September 17, 2010: This year's Nitro Night was a hard fought program that required everyone to pull a rabbit out of the hat. And the rabbit was money, in any way, shape, or form. In Escondido, like everywhere else, times are tough, and many of the traditional sources for the funding of Nitro Night had dried up. Past sponsors, though supportive, were hard pressed to come up with anymore than they already were paying for the weekly "Cruisin' Grand" event. And all efforts to come up with outside sponsors, came up dry. But despite this, a first time "program" was created in the hope that it will help generate sponsors for next year's event. Every effort was made to acquire the funds to move Nitro Night out of "the red". An auction fire up was held by four of the teams and around $800.00 was raised which ws applied to budget deficit. Special thanks goes out to the two car Firestone Team of John Ewald, Ron Johnson and his Chizler, and the Magicar team for providing their cars for the auction fire ups.

And it must be noted that all the cackle teams present that night, deserve a big "Thank You" for not only taking Friday off from work, but assembling their crews and making the long trek through rush hour traffic to Escondido. And most importantly providing us with safe and reliable cackle cars for the show.


Tommy Allen "Trick Car" AA/FD Tommy Allen
Tommy Ivo's Barnstormer AA/FD Ron Johnson
Poison Ivy AA/FD Ken Blackmore and Jay Carpenter
Shubert & Herbert AA/FD Ron Johnson
BankAmericar AA/FD John Ewald
Mastercar AA/FD John Ewald
Climax AA/FA Steve Sarrot and Rick Billuni
Wynn's Spoiler AA/FD Bobby Hansen
Paradise Alley AA/FD Bob DeBurn
Yeakel Plymouth Spec. AA/FD Baney, Rossi, and Goebel
Dean Engineering Spec. AA/FD Jake McCloud
Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda" AA/FD Bob Hirsch
Thunder Chief AA/FD Terry Maestrejuan
ChiZler AA/FD Ron Johnson
Magicar AA/FD Bill Pitts
The Lincoln AA/FD (display) NHRA Museum
Hot Wheels funny car (display) Don Prudhomme

There is always allot of "behind the scenes" work done by these teams to bring a well running nitro car to the Broadway arena, where we do our "start and push" maneuvers. Nitro Night quite often incorporates MOTION into the show. The added dimensions of sparkling spokes, glimmering magnesium and chrome, and period correct push cars adds color and excitement as each car lights up the one block arena with the sights, sounds, and smells, that were a part of the show that was golden age drag racing.

Support teams kept the show running smoothly. Steve Waldron and crew, took care of crowd control. Connie Braum and assistants kept track of waiver forms and wristbands. Jack White and Don Irvin handled arena operations which involved the safe operation of the cars from fire up to shut down. Fire extinguishing operations, and track clean up were all part of the show!!! :) And special thanks to the Escondido Fire Department for standing by, suited up, in case of an emergency. It's such a reassuring feeling to have them right there, ready for action.

Drag racing history was everywhere--Don Prudhomme, Ronnie Goodsell, Mike Bamber, Ron and Jeep Hampshire (down from Northern California), Tommy Allen, and Zane Shubert, were all true stars of drag racing's past.

In short, the evening was filled with sights, sounds, smells, and tall tales so thick you could cut them with a knife. Moments and memories that all who were present will remember for many years to come. Trust me on this.

Grateful acknowledgement to the following people and groups--
The Downtown Business Association of Escondido:
Thora Guthrie
Sue Dusharme
Justine Aldridge
Planning Committee for Nitro Night:
Sue Dusharme
Craig Durham
Paul Bundee
Bret Gann
Steve Waldron
Jay Carpenter
Ron Johnson
Bill Pitts
.

Orangeline

 

Dragster row one with The Lincoln of Ted Cyr in the forefront.

 

 

 

 

Ron Johnson's ChiZler V

 

 

 

 

Dragster row two.

 

 

Ron Johnson's Tommy Ivo Barnstormer

 

 

Bob Hirsch's Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda"

 

 

Ray Higley's Climax owned by Steve Sarrot and Rick Billuni

 

Bill Pitts' "Magicar"

 

 

 

Ron Johnson's Shubert & Herbert... one of the few small block Chevy cacklecars.

 

 

 

Ron Johnson tinkering with his Tommy Ivo Barnstormer fueler.

 

John Ewald's Mastercar

 

Tommy Allen's "Trick Car"

 

 

Darrell Conrad, Bill Schilling, Joel Gruzen and Bobby Hansen.

 

Terry Maestrejuan's Thunder Chief

 

Bob DeBurn's Paradise Alley

 

 

Yeakel Plymouth Special owned by Baney, Rossi, and Goebel

 

 

 

 

Mc Cloud Bros. Dean Engineering Spec.

 

Bobby Hansen's Wynn's Spoiler

 

Ken Blackmore's Poison Ivy

 

 

Ewald Bros. BankAmericar

 

Bobby Hanson with Ron Johnson in his ChiZler. Hansen did the reproduction of this, the first 200 mph car.

 

Orangeline

 

Prior to any "beautiful noise" Bill Pitts held a meeting laying down the game plan.

 

All the guys that brought their cars down to make this another great show.

 

Bill Pitts with ex-top fuel driver Ron Goodsell.

 

Shortly after 06:00 pm Bill Pitts, John Ewald and Ron Johnson staged four of their dragsters on center stage for the Nitro Ride fund raiser. The driver seat of each car was auctioned off to the highest bidder.

 

Jim (Oil Pan) Taylor was the first winner of a Cackle Ride auction and got the seat of the well traveled BankAmericar.

 

John Ewald explained what was going on and introduced each car and lucky "drivers".

 

 

 

 

 

Right behind him was Don Mason of San Marcos in the "Mastercar".

 

 

 

 

Ever conscious of safety, retired fire captain Bill Pills oversaw every fire-up.

 

Ron "Big Yohns" Johnson and his lovely daughter Connie who took care of the liability waivers.

 

 

Enjoying a present from his wife was Garrett Bell in Ron Johnson's "Chizler" recreation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least was Bill White in the "Magicar". His brother Jack was the highest bidder and wanted to do something special for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orangeline

 

About an hour later as the sun was slowly dropping behind the makeshift starting line each car was fired up one after another and pushed down the street before the SRO crowd. Leading off was Steve Sarot in the Climax altered.

 

 

 

 

Jim Kirby was in the seat of Bob DeBurns beautiful "Paradise Alley".

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Goodsell in Ron Johnson's Barnstormer with its 1963 look - "weed-burner" hearders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ex-Top Fuel pilot Walt Stevens was in the McCloud Bros car.

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby Hansen in his Wynns Spoiler.

 

 

 

 

 

\

 

Steve Shoemaker had the pleasure of piloting the "Poison Ivy" fueler in the first round.

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy "The Watchdog" Allen

 

 

 

 

 

As always, co-owner Paul Rossi was having way too much fun in the Baney, Rossi & Goebel "Yeakel Plymouth Special" that was driven by the Mongoose in its hayday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original owner/driver Zane Schubert was in the seat of Johnson's Shubert & Herbert car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Maestrejuan in his dad Terry's Thunder Chief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Hursh re-living his childhod in Starvin Marvin's historic Anaconda!

 

 

 

Orangeline

 

Round two at night was the crowning jewel of the event - header flames!

 

Grand Marshall Don Prudhomme who lives near by was out enjoying the event and signing autographs. The Vipe is a different person now that he's retired and it fits him well.

 

 

The Climax fuel altered led off the night session with a bang... literally.

 

 

Towards the end of their fire-up the crank case developed an excessive amount of fuel vapors that made its way out the breathers and onto the valve covers. In doing so they ignited and gave Steve Sarot an unexpected surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

The Escondido Fire Department had the situation under control within seconds. No harm, no foul.

 

 

The first pair was Paradise Alley and the Shubert & Herbert Chevy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire the next pair... in the left lane was Mario Garcia in the BankAmericar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the right lane, Jake and Marilyn McCloud had a special guest behind the wheel of their "Dean Engineering" rail by the name of Mike Spenser. All you Sprint Car fans will recognize his name, as he is a two-time Sprint Car champion and current points leader.

 

 

 

The Thunder Chief and Tommy Allen's "Trick Car" put on a great show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ya gotta love the looks of the crowd...

 

With ears still ringing, Hansen and Rossi lit up the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Fuel vet Dominic Cardoza took the seat of the "Poison Ivy" dragster with Mark McCormick in the Barnstomer in the other lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Ewald took the seat of his Mastercar with Bob Hirsch in the other lane.

 

 

 

 

The fianl pair was Walt Stevens in the ChiZler and original driver Jeep Hampshire the Magicar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Ken Hughes, Bill Pitts, Darrell Conrad , Pam Schavrien and Pete Gemar for their photo and text contributions to this coverage.

 

 

Orangeline

 

Check back for more event coverage as they happen.

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