Hot Rod Runion news 2007-06-06

'Cacklefest' Offers a Blast from the Past at 5th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, Saturday Night, June 16 Stage set for unique event at National Trail Raceway which continues to grow and delight fans COLUMBUS, Ohio -- (June 6, 2007) -- To...

'Cacklefest' Offers a Blast from the Past at 5th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, Saturday Night, June 16

Stage set for unique event at National Trail Raceway which continues to grow and delight fans

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- (June 6, 2007) -- To car folks, Cacklefest is the sweetest sight and sound in the world: 30 or more vintage dragsters fire up and "cackle" 10 gallons of nitromethane fuel in less than five minutes. The sound of that exploding nitro will be music to the ears of thousands of fans at National Trail Raceway, near Columbus, Ohio on Saturday night, June 18, as Cacklefest once again roars at the 5th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by SoffSeal. The entire Reunion runs from June 15- 17.

"A Cacklefest is like a barely controlled atomic bomb," said Greg Sharp, curator of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, producers of the Reunion and the man who coined the term back in 2000. "That exploding nitro cracks like a gun shot and shoots header flames into the night sky. It's a sight to behold and people love it," said Sharp.

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 35 cars will push-start their early-style front-engine dragsters like they did in the 1950s and '60s, then line then up down the center of the drag strip at National Trail Raceway with the headers glowing and the motors running or 'cackling.'

"Cacklefest is a proven inspiration for enthusiasts who have experienced this unique event," said Steve Gibbs, former NHRA 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."

The 2007 Cacklefest features three famous fuel dragsters that showcase the career of "TV Tommy" Ivo. Ivo will personally drive the Barnstormer -- his very first blown Chrysler dragster. The other two Ivo cars are a late-sixties-era Ivo Special owned by Guy Boucher (Ivo's last front- engine fuel car); and the 1974 rear-engine Ivo Special owned by Bruce Larson that Ivo crashed at Pomona decades ago.

Also on tap will be legendary "Big Daddy" Don Garlits' Swamp Rat 8, Howard Cams Special; Jade Grenade, Croshier, Baltes & Lovato , Aggravation, Safford, Gaide & Ratican, Tennessee Bo-Weevil, Scorpion, King & Marshall, Gang Green, Michigander, Probe and Hilton Family.

Also on display will be the two-time NHRA Funny Car Champion Chi-Town Hustler that was driven by Frank Hawley. Hawley is the Justice Bros. Spotlight Honoree.

According to Gibbs, besides legendary Top Fuelers, this year's Cacklefest will include four historic Funny Cars: Tom "Mongoose" McEwen's English Leather Corvette, winner of 1978 U.S. Nationals and now owned and restored by Don Trasin of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and driven by Pat Foster; Roland Leong's "Hawaiian" Dodge Charger, owned and restored by Ted Guth, Minneapolis, Minn., and driven by Larry Reyes; Jim Liberman's "Jungle Jim" 1972 mini Camaro, owned and driven by Henry Gutierrez, San Antonio, Texas; and the "Big Mike" Burkhart Camaro, restored and driven by Stephen Timoszyk.

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, more than 40 vehicles participated, and 25 dragsters cackled at the 2006 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 5th annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by SoffSeal, is part of the museum's Hot Rod Heritage Series 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, classics, customs and muscle cars of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.

Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at the National Trail Raceway gate, 2650 National Rd. SW, Hebron, Ohio 43025; phone: 740/928-5706; www.nationaltrailraceway.com. Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

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

* A ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a cruise from the Columbus Airport Marriott to Jegs High Performance in Delaware, Ohio, Thurs., June 14, starting 4 p.m.

* Just added: Hot Hues Custom Finishes by DuPont is sponsoring the appearance of American Graffiti actor Paul Le Mat, as well as two replica cars from the film: a yellow 1932 Ford Coupe that Le Mat drove and the black '55 Chevrolet 150 sedan driven by Harrison Ford.

* 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.

* SoffSeal Street rod "Show 'n Shine" with thousands of gleaming pre-1972 hot rods, street 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 Columbus Airport Marriott, Fri., June 15 from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. 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. Grand Marshal for the event will be Jeg Coughlin. This year's honorees are John Abbott, Don Cain, Ted Harbit, Fred Hurst, and the team of Gary Rupp and Pat Dakin. The Justice Bros. Reunion Spotlight highlights Frank Hawley.

* Heacock Classic Insurance Pit Pass Barbeque on Saturday afternoon, June 16.

* 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 are filled with vendors and manufacturers making it easier than ever to find that hot rod part or special souvenir.

-credit: museum.nhra.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Don Garlits , Frank Hawley , Pat Dakin