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CHRR Cacklefest preview and fire-up of Mondello Fiat

To drag racing enthusiasts, Cacklefest is the sweetest sight and sound in the world: 40 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 fabled Auto Club Famoso Raceway, near Bakersfield, Calif., on Saturday night, Oct. 13, as Cacklefest once again roars at the 16th annual at the Automobile Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Holley. The Reunion runs from Oct. 12-14.

 "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.

This year, according to Sharp, more than 50 cars (a Cacklefest record) will push-start their early-style front-engine dragsters like they did in the 1950s and '60s, then line them up down the centre of the drag strip at Famoso with the headers glowing and the motors running or 'cackling.'  As a prelude to the event, check out the first fire-up of the restored Mondello Matsubara Fiat Topolino earlier this week.
video action

 Some of the famous cars debuting at the 2007 Cacklefest spectacular include:

Yeakel Plymouth AA/FD. Car originally was driven by Tom "Mongoose" McEwen. It was restored by Frank Baney and Jim Rossi,
Huntington Beach, Calif. - sons of original owners, Lou Baney and Vince Rossi

Northwind AA/FD. It was the first major ride of Reunion Grand Marshal Ed "The Ace" McCulloch and was restored by Jack Coonrod,
Vancouver, Wash.

Smirnoff AA/FD: Fantastic restoration of one of the most beautiful race cars ever built. Originally owned by Lockheed SR-71 test pilot, and Reno air race champion Darryl Greenamyer. Now owned and restored by Joe Passalaqua, Escondido, Calif.

Starlite AA/FD: Car originally owned by previous Reunion Honoree Chuck Griffith. Owned and restored by Bill Turney,
Tucson, Ariz.

”TV Tommy" Ivo Barnstormer AA/FD:  Recreated by Ron Johnson,
Escondido, Calif. This is the first supercharged fuel dragster raced by Ivo, who will be once again behind the wheel at the Reunion.

Wynn's Spoiler AA/FD: Totally original car from 1968, owned and restored by chassis builder Bob Hansen. Car has same engine.even same tires and wheels as when it last raced.

Ron Johnson's amazing recreation of Ivo's Barnstormer

According to Gibbs, besides legendary Top Fuelers, this year's Cacklefest will include historic Funny Cars: "Jungle Jim" Liberman's 1972 mini Camaro, owned and driven by Henry Gutierrez, San Antonio, Texas; and "Wild Willie" Borsch's Mustang, owned by Jim Kipp and restored by Tommy Thompson.

"Jungle Jim and Wild Willie..what a show," said Gibbs.

Talking of funny cars, About 20 cars are expected to compete, including the famous "Bubble-Up" car from Canada, which is tuned by '06 Grand Marshal Roland Leong, and driven by former U.S. Nationals Top Fuel Champion  Terry Capp. The car holds the N/FC record. Also on hand will be last year's winning car, Gary Turner's "Pedaler," a 1979 Plymouth Arrow from Orange, Calif., with Kris Krabill driving, as will '06 runner-up, Lee Paul Jennings. "Bucky Austin of Fife, Wash., winner of numerous NHRA National Events, driving Steve Plueger's car, will be another favorite," said Gibbs.  "Also included will be the legendary Pisano and Matsubara '74 Vega driven by Jeff Utterback. The car was recreated by Danny Pisano, of Irvine, Calif., as a tribute to Uncle Joe Pisano and driver Sush Matsubara, one of the top teams of the 70's This will be a stout field." 

The legendary Mooneyes dragster, now freshly rebuilt, is also expected to be there 

The 16th annual Automobile Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Holley, 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. 

Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso Raceway gate, ( Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15.  Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available at the gate: $2 off Friday and Saturday and, $1 off Sunday.

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