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EPPING, N.H. – In spite of sporadic rain so common in the region this time of year, the 2nd NHRA Motorsports Museums New England Hot Rod Reunion was another huge hit. Ultimately the fans did get a great show from Top Fuel dragsters to jet cars and most left with the feeling that the event really lived up to its hype.

Racing aside, on the Cacklefest side of the program, unlike the 100+ cacklecars that come out to the mecca of Cacklefest, Bakersfield for the California Hot Rod Reunion, there simply isn't that kind of car count on the East Coast. That said, the handful of cars that did make up this NEHRR Cacklefest were quality and well representative of the breed.

We'll start with the Honorees then move on to the cars.

This is a story best told in photos. Enjoy.

*I have to apologize for a converge that is not up to our high standards. Without going into the whys, suffice to say I didn't get the quantity of photos I expected. Dave Kommel did step up with some of his great shots to fill in the blanks, but he didn't shoot much of the actual Cacklefest.





On Saturday, the racing took a short break to honor some New England racing icons. In a ceremony done with far less pomp and circumstance than the Bakersfield and Bowling Green Honoree presentations, these were held in a large tent at the drag strip. Logistics had more to do with this than anything else as there was no host hotel to stage the presentations. On the upside, more people were able to attend that there were cacklecars everywhere.

Along with the Honoree Reception, there were two autograph sessions that featured the 2014 grand marshal Bob Frey, and Also Honorees Gil Coraine, John Healey, AL Hanna, George Weiler and ‘Jungle Pam’ Hardy.

“To see the legends of the sport interact with the fans and each other is the heart of these events,” said Larry Fisher, executive director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. “All the honorees bring a unique perspective to the sport and poured time, effort and passion to make what the sport is today.”




Welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Larry Fisher, Executive Director of the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum.


It was huge to see museum Curator Greg Sharp back in action. Sharp has been sidelined for many months with serious medical issues. It hasn't been the same without him.


Grand Marshall, Bob Frey, who announced drag racing at tracks across the country after falling in love with the sport after attending his first race in 1964, worked for years at his home track of Atco Dragway in New Jersey learning his trade. In 1985, he became an NHRA national event announcer and called it a career at the conclusion of the 2012 Auto Club NHRA Finals. In those nearly five decades, he entertained and educated millions and visited more than 200 drag strips. The self-described “skinny, geeky, bald-headed guy with glasses from Waterford in South Jersey” was the full-time voice of NHRA Drag Racing for nearly two decades.






A hot rodder for more than six decades, Gil Coraine started the Peace Pipes hot rod club in 1960, which became part of the New England Hot Rod Council that helped operate the pioneering drags at the Sanford, Maine, airport. He was part of the original group that acquired the land and developed New England Dragway in 1966 and was an original member of NED’s board of directors.








In his many seasons of racing, Hanna earned fame behind the wheel of Top Fuel dragsters, nitro Funny Cars, and jet dragsters. He and his longtime partner Bob Beaulieu first became involved with a variety of cars during the mid-1960s, including the first of his own series of Eastern Raider entries, Bill Flynn’s Yankee Peddler ’65 Dodge, Jim Maybeck’s Patriot Chevelle, the Screaming Eagle Corvair and Camaro, and many more. Hanna has maintained his interest in nitro burning cars and pays close attention to recent developments in fuel, clutch management, and data-gathering systems. He has been honored many times for his achievements, including his induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame in 2006.







Bob Tasca Sr. was the visionary leader, Bill Lawton was the highly talented driver, and Healey was the equally talented mechanic whose behind-the-scenes work helped make the Providence, R.I.-based Tasca Ford dealership one of the most featured Ford drag racing teams during the decade of the 1960s. In addition to his work for Tasca, Healey successfully tuned cars campaigned by John Downing and Ed Terry. Healey has received well-deserved recognition for his accomplishments, including induction into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame in 2012.





Frey introduced one of the most iconic images from drag racing in the 1970s is the skimpily clad Hardy backing up Funny Car superstar “Jungle Jim” Liberman after his burnouts. More often than not, she would put on a better show than the race itself, and she quickly earned fame on her own as “Jungle Pam.”

Prior to partnering with Liberman, Hardy was leading a quiet life in the sleepy town of West Chester, Pa., until one day in May 1972, when Liberman drove by in his Corvette and talked her into joining his match race tour. “I ditched the college that had accepted me, and it drove my mother nuts,” Hardy recalled. Today, Hardy’s husband, Bill Hodgson, helps tune George Reidnauer’s Excalibur Corvette Nostalgia Funny Car, and they attend many reunion-and nostalgia-type events.












At 17, Pennsylvania native George Weiler went to work at Beckersville Garage, honing his mechanical and welding skills, and in 1960, he and fellow members of the Eastern Custom Car Association were instrumental in creating Maple Grove Raceway. In 2004, he was inducted into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame and the Maple Grove Walk of Fame.










Bob with his sister.




Cacklefest Parade

Following the final race of the meet on Saturday, the ritual started beginning with the parade. This is where the fans get to see the cars and drivers, learns some history on both, prior to Cacklefest proper.

Opening up was the push start cars that proceeded to the top end where they were turned around and made ready.

Once again I have to apologize for the lack of photos. This is not the coverage that Cacklefest.com is known for. We'll make up for it next year.
















































This one I do know, Alison Lee in Brian Beattie's "Great Expectations" which was originally owned by Jim & Alison Lee.






Cacklecar Pits

































Mr. Cacklefest, Steve Gibbs and photog, Dave Kommel.



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