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Bakersfield, CA May 1-3, 2009 – The second edition of the Rod & Kulture Dragfest was in a word, fun. They had something for everyone. If you are a drag race fan, hot rodder, rat rodder or just a lover of a party atmosphere laced with nitro this is where you wanted to be this weekend. In spite of being rained out most of Friday, the racers and fans who did attend saw everything from Nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters to old drag racing "drive-in" movies and a live 60s style "surf band"

Keep in mind that the idea behind Dragfest is to put on a real nostalgia drag race. When you looked out across the track and roam the pits (discounting the necessary modern improvements), they tried to make it resemble a real, early, 1960’s drag race. To do this, they made Famoso more period correct and tried to make historical cars their main focus.

Although many cacklecars were invited as "history cars", for whatever reasons, only four took advantage of what turned out to be a dream weekend for big kids who wanted to play with their big toys. Event promoter, Randy Winkle literally gave the cacklecars the red carpet treatment starting with premier pit areas to chances to do push starts, burnouts and chute shots all weekend. Nobody took more advantage of this than Ron Johnson who was there with his Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer" and Shubert & Herbert car.

Also on hand was Paul Schavrien with "The Poachers" AA/FD and the Baney & Rossi gang with the very popular Yeakel Plymouth Spec. Both cars joined Johnson for push starts and Walt Stevens did a classic burnout in the Poachers. However, most will agree the highlight of the deal was Marc McCormick in the Barnstormer making a smoky pass that was punctuated buy the deployment of the enormous Deist "ribbon chute". Jim Deist himself made the chute for Ron in 2006 to be an exact copy of the similarly colored chute Ivo had on the car back then.

But this is best told in photos. However, with only four cars and many photo contributors, each car got A LOT of coverage. Maybe next year more cacklecars will join in on the fun and get their play time overload.

Photos by: Bob Brown, Steven C. Wallace, Darrell Conrad, Pam Schavrien and Don Ewald.






Before the rains came on Friday afternoon, game plan one was to put NTF driver Rick White in the Barnstormer for the first chute shot pass. He fit just fine and was excited to have the chance. Here he's getting "acquainted". But with the first session of Top Fuel getting washed out, White would be tied up the remainder of the weekend with his primary ride. One driver down, two to go.




Meanwhile, the Poacher and Yeakle Plymouth camps took shape.



Camp Johnson



Although not a cacklecar per se, the Lamrose & Iaconao roadster was part of the mix and most definitely a "history car".



The midway coming together before the rains came Friday.



By Saturday morning there was no more signs of bad weather and things kicked into gear from the track to the pits. There were BS sessions everywhere including this one with Walt Stevens and Jim Rossi and Famoso track manager, Blake Bowser.


The first of many cacklecar fire-ups was Stevens in The Poachers.





Next to make some noise was Marc McCormick in the Shubert & Herbert car. Although not planned coming in, Marc would end up getting a ton of seat time by Sunday afternoon.





The first push start of the weekend was McCormick in the S&H car. Ron and Kol Johnson prepared on the top end.















Another very cool aspect of this event was the fact they had all the cars that ran return to the pits in front of the stands so the spectators got a closer look at everyone.



Back in the pits, Robin Millar gave a sneak preview of the Drag CarTOONs "Cackle Thunder" award that will be given to the loudest cacklecar at the 2009 CHRR. I'm told it will become an annual deal. Start planning your "tune-up" now!



With Rick White unavailable, Marc McCormick got his second call in less than 2 hours to take a ride down the Famoso push road.... this time in the Barnstormer. Walt Stevens would be in the Poachers.


With Steve Gibbs and Bob Brown joining the mix while Stevens and McCormick got suited up with Walt doing it in comfort.











First down was the Ivo car.





If you don't look toooo hard in the far background, doesn't this take you right back to the mid-60's.






This was a planned chute shot op so McCormick gave the red car some juice to make sure he would have enough speed at the other end to open the giant ribbon package.










The rip cord was pulled and the pilot chute did its job.









The fans loved it.



Next down was Stevens who, for this first shot, didn't even plan a burnout.








Everything went perfect and the car idled down the track.







Saturday afternoon Ron Johnson finally took advantage of the opportunity to do his first push start and trip down the quarter mile in his Shubert & Herbert car.








Once again, Marc McCormick was in the Barnstormer.















Both cars staged and Johnson was out first by a bunch. Maybe Marc was being nice to the boss? <grin>
















Right behind the red cars was Walt Stevens for his burnout chance in The Poachers.












Rolling through the water box, Stevens started his burnout.









And a nice burnout it was.



As Stevens came to a stop, Paul Rossi came down in the potent Yeakel Plymouth Special.






To put reality into the show, Stevens, who is on the crew of the High Speed Motorsports Top Fuel car had some team members, including driver Troy Green, come out to push him back. This is how we did it from 1967 to 1975.


Paul took the rear and Ellen Fisher served as backup girl.





About this time the High Speed guys are thinking what a great idea reversers were... and are!




Joining Green (far side) was Todd Shappie and Pete Palumbo.


Rossi, choosing not to be a burnout, made his turn and rolled to the line.






Shappie moved Walt into the beams.




























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