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The first actual Cacklefest event took place Friday at the host hotel, the Airport Marriott.

The evening's entertainment included an Honoree Awards ceremony hosted by Dave McClelland, following which Ron Johnson's "TV Tommy" Ivo "Barnstormer" was fired up up under the canopy on a healthy load of nitro. As any of you that have been following the cacklefest.com report on the building of the car will understand, it was a real thrash to get it there.

The Barnstormer was trucked from the track to town late Friday afternoon and displayed out front along with the AA/GS car owned by Fred Hurst and for those that didn't go into the convention hall for the awards ceremony, provided something to look at as the evening unfolded. They joined another Ivo car, the 1973 RED restored by Bruce Larson that was displayed in the hotel lobby.


Honorees celebrate at a free public reception on Friday evening at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by SoffSeal. (L-R) Honoree Fred Hurst, Grand Marshal Jeg Coughlin Sr., Honorees Gary Rupp, Ted Harbit, Don Cain, Pat Dakin and John Abbott.
Michael F. Hollander photo



Tony Thacker, executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, congratulates Eileen Daniels on her and her husband's Lifetime Achievement "Wally" Award. Daniels and her husband Bob, who was not able to attend the event due to illness, were surprised by the award, presented for their service to the sport. They are among the first employees of the National Hot Rod Association. Eileen is flanked by Cacklefest spearhead, Steve Gibbs.
Michael F. Hollander photo.


Tom Ivo revisits the cockpit of his 1973 car - the one that crashed so spectacularly at the NHRA Winternationals. Bruce Larson got what was left of the car and did this incredible restoration.










While the ceremony inside was winding down, Ron Johnson went outside and saw Jerry Baltes. Johnson had told Baltes he could try the new Ivo chassis on for size to see how it compared with the Baltes car. Rod Peppmuller, the original builder of the Barnstormer also built Baltes' recreation car chassis. Ivo provided Johnson with drawings done by Rod for Johnson's chassis with dimensions etc. but Johnson had Alex Mikkelson build the Barnstormer chassis rather than Peppmuller. Johnson fudged a little to make the car more roomy without changing actual width. It's a lot easier for a "mature" guy to be comfortable in and Baltes said if he ever has a chance, he'll make the same changes to his car.



After the wrap-up of the awards ceremony, the majority of attendees came outside and Ivo hopped into the seat .



Kol and Ron Johnson standing next to Ivo in the car making sure he's comfortable. Keep in mind, Mr. Ivo is no longer a child star.


With a little ado, they fired that 85% bad boy up.


Ivo has said that he normally ran 25% when match racing and in a Winternationals type setting he would go as high as 50%. They had 85% in the tank and Ivo was quite amused by the din!


Although they had the barrel valve a little on the lean side there was a nice flame pattern.






After the fire-up, they spent a little time getting things wrapped up and the car went back onto the ramp truck owned by the track and was returned to the track.



Saturday was an open day for the cacklecars as the actual Cacklefest would take place until around 8:30 P. M. Twilight last's so long at that time of the year that in the part of the country, darkness doesn't occur until about 9:45. However, to expect people to sit in the grandstands that late is a stretch, so the decision was made to do Cacklefest before actual Sundown. The gain is the cars are easier to see, the loss is the header flames.

At 7:30 the cars were lined up in the staging lanes and the pre-Cacklefest parade took place. All the cars paraded in front of the grandstand on the return road going toward the finish line. The static start cars were towed passed the stands then to the starting line area. The push start cars were staged, in order, on the top end.

Unlike the CHRR in California, there were not 60+ cacklecars so the very cool, but short car count entries here will get some bonus photo exposure. We hope you enjoy them.


Ted Guth's Hawaiian funny car with Larry Reyes in the seat.


Pat Foster in Don Trasin's Mongoose Corvette flopper.





Bruce Larson in his T.V. Tom 1973 dragster restoration.




The first car down was the oldest that was restored by Bill Bronson. Built sometime between 1948 - 53 at Lilly's Garage in Elwood, Indiana this homemade dragster is believed to be the first vehicle in the state of Indiana produced specifically for drag racing and for sure the oldest of all cacklecars. It was constructed by the Lilly family and the late Bill Bronson (Bill's grandfather) who resided in Tipton, Indiana. It was called the Bronson Special and was campaigned at several racetracks (US30, Bunker Hill, Stout Field, and Muncie Dragway) throughout Indiana.



Next out was the second oldest car - Bobby Langley in his "Scorpion 1" restored by Don Ross in 2004.



Bill Crosby did the parade in his brand new Scorpion V that was restored by Don Ross but due to new engine concerns opted out of the Cacklefest.



Next out was the legendary Speed Sport Roadster (aka Ol' Noisy). Red Greth in the seat with son Kenton in the push truck.




The Hilton Family's "Hombre" AA/FA



Bud Barnes in the Barnes & Gladstone "Michigander" has been a staple at all 5 of the NHRR events.




Another Cacklefest vet is the Swamp Fox of David Hoyh and Ralph Kitron.






Kenny Safford in his NHRA Motorsports Museum based Safford-Gaide-Ratican car from 1962.





Nobody has more fun doing a Cacklefest than Jerry Baltes in his Croshier-Baltes-Lavato 1963 fueler.





Making its Cacklefest debut was the Michigan based, Al Bergler restored Gang Green AA/FD owned by Larry Payne.





Another beautiful car restored by Al Bergler is the Ed Golden owned "Probe" AA/FD.





Rounding out Team Bergler is Al's own car - his restored "More Aggravation" AA/FC.






Ray Godman's "Tennessee Bo-Weevil" AA/FD making its third NHRR appearance.


Original driver, Preston Davis has far surpassed his driving weight but what old vet hasn't?




The legendary Larry Dixon Sr. back in the seat of the Howard Cams Rattler - another NHRA Museum based car.






Don Trasin in his Pat Foster prepared "Jade Grenade" AA/FD.





No introduction needed --- Swamp Rat VIII







"TV Tommy" in the seat of the brand new Barnstormer.


Barnstormer owner, Ron Johnson was all smiles as the car started its first, but certainly not its last, Cacklefest parade. Roger Stanke wheeling the cart with Kol Johnson in the back.








Originally, the Barnstormer was to be the first car and the Guy Boucher "Tommy Ivo" car, the last. This would give Ivo time to ride in both during the parade lap and also be able to "Cackle" both cars. Johnson had found some problems that prevented them from doing the "Cacklefest" with the Barnstormer so the order was changed and they paraded immediately in front of Boucher's car with Ivo in the seat of the Barnstormer.

After they got to the top end, Ivo got out of the Barnstormer (which was then towed back to the pits) and went to Boucher's car to get ready for the push start "Cacklefest". The last two cars were the Swamp Rat VIII and the Boucher/Ivo car.


The final car down, making its Cacklefest debut, was the magnificent Tommy Ivo car restored and owned by Guy Boucher.






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