Cacklefest highlights National Hot Rod Reunion

'Cacklefest' Offers a Blast from the Past at 4th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion Unique event continues to grow and delight fans BOWLING GREEN, Ky. ^S (June 9, 2006) ^S To the uninitiated, "Cacklefest" sounds like it might be the nickname...

'Cacklefest' Offers a Blast from the Past at 4th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion

Unique event continues to grow and delight fans

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. ^S (June 9, 2006) ^S To the uninitiated, "Cacklefest" sounds like it might be the nickname for a hen house. To the initiated, Cacklefest is the sweetest sound in the world. And that's the sound thousands of fans will hear from the fabled wooden grandstands at Beech Bend Parkway on Saturday night, June 17, as Cacklefest once again roars at the 4th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by DuPont Automotive Finishes. The entire Reunion runs from June 16-18.

So what exactly is Cacklefest? According to Greg Sharp, curator of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, producers of the Reunion and the man who coined the term back in 2000, cackling is the sound emanating from a vintage top fuel drag racing engine while it's idling and shooting out flames. "They 'cackle,'" Sharp said, "and people love it."

Among drag racing fans, Cacklefest is now a common word. Perhaps Webster's will add it in the dictionary soon. There's even a www.cacklefest.com. This year, according to Sharp, more than 25 cars will be lineup and be cackling at Beech Bend. Cacklefest starts off with participants push-starting their early-style front-engine dragsters like they did in the 1960s, then gathering them all together down the center of the drag strip with the engines running or 'cackling.'

"Cacklefest is a proven inspiration for enthusiasts who have experienced this unique event," said Steve Gibbs, former vice president and current board member of the Parks Museum. "With each passing year we are amazed to see newly resurrected pieces of automobile history appear at the event."

This year, Cacklefest welcomes the return of Chris "The Greek," Karamesines' Chizler. Karamesines, one of the most colorful and popular characters in drag racing history, will be behind the wheel as the original 204 mph "Chizler" cackles to life once again for the first time in four decades.

Additional dragsters making their debut at the 2006 Cacklefest include Al Bergler's "More Aggravation," which won the first Ridler award at the 1966 Detroit Autorama; three "Tennessee Bo'Weevils from Raymond Godman, a former Honoree and; Texas-based Floyd Head's full-bodied top fueler.

The first Cacklefest in 2000 (at the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, Calif.) featured only nine dragsters, but as the event's popularity rose with subsequent Reunions, so did the number of classic cars. At last year's California Reunion, 37 vehicles participated, and 25 dragsters cackled at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion.

Said Gibbs, "From the very first Cacklefest, I knew we touched upon something that took many of us back to a hallowed era. It was pure magic."

The 4th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by DuPont Automotive Finishes, June 16-18 at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm. Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California and located in Pomona, Calif., the Reunion is part of the museum's "living history" philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.

Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods and customs of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.

General admission/pit pass, per person: Friday, $10; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $20. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

This year's honorees are Malcolm Durham, Bobby Langley, Gene and Ron Logghe, Jim Farr and Bill Roell ^S known as "Short Round and Dauber" ^S and Mike Spitzer. The Justice Brothers Reunion Spotlight award will shine on Top Fuel Pioneer Motorcycles. Those honored will be feted at a reception open at no charge to the general public.

The Reunion features a wide variety of activities and events, including:

* Hot Heads Eliminator NHRA vintage drag racing, featuring some the sport's most famous and historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Top Fuel, Supercharged Gassers, classic Funny Cars and Super Stocks

* Street rod "show and shine," presented by SoffSeal, with more than a thousand gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, custom cars, classics and muscle cars. "Memory Lane" will have a display of nostalgic race cars.

* National Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the Holiday Inn University Plaza's Bowling Green Convention Center ballroom on Friday evening, June 16. Open to everyone at no charge, it's a tribute to the Reunion's Grand Marshal and Honorees and a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing's heroes.

* Parish Heacock Pit Pass Barbeque on Saturday afternoon, June 17, in a special tent.

* Cacklefest on Saturday evening, where nitro-burning historic, front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are push started just like in the "old days."

* The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with manufacturer exhibits and demonstrations

* A separate amusement park with rides and games for all ages, including a brand-new roller coaster, adjacent to the park.

-museum.nhra.com.

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