This years NHRA World Finals actually meant something as the two fuel classes championship was still up for grabs. As part of NHRA's efforts to provide the fans with entertainment other than just the track activities a display of John Forces fleet of retired race cars and select nostalgia dragsters were on display. Joining those displays the class winners of the Heritage Racing Series were invited to display their championship cars. Our nostalgia king Steve Gibbs organized the whole area. The weather was shaky and heavy rain was predicted so the crowds were lighter than hoped for on Saturday but sunshine on Sunday brought out a mob of fans. Force had over 30 cars on display and watching him stage them on Wednesday was a riot, with a army of workers unloading and rolling them around John was making them move cars just inches so they would be displayed perfect. A special movie covering the cars and John's history was produced and played on a big screen all weekend, narrated primarily by John himself....we now know everything we need to know about JFR! The whole display area was busy all weekend but what really drew them in was when we cackled our dragsters, the sound of a crisp vintage nitro engine is like a magnet. We will let the following photos tell most of the story.

 

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The weekend before the Finals, NHRA organized a Fan Fest across the street from the Pomona drag strip in the city of La Verne. Race cars and hot rods of all types were on display and entertainment from bands and dance groups added the color.

The streets for a 4 block area were lined with cool machines including Joel Gruzin's Cagle/Newhouse altered, Terry Masterjuan's "Thunder Chief", Pete Eastwood's restored Ed Pink "Old Master", The Howard Cams "Rattler", Dave & Twila Mandella's 1977 Shirley championship car and John Ewald's "BankAmericar" and "Mastercar".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some NHRA stars were on hand to sign autographs including Jeff Arend, Jack Beckman, John, Britney & Courtney Force and Dave McClelland.

 

To the enjoyment of the fans we put a number of "kids", young and old in the seats for a photo op.

 

 

National Dragster editor Phil Burgess shooting pics of his son in the BankAmericar.

 

 

Gordy Gibbs just had to get in the seat of the Steve Gibbs "Grand Marshal Tribute" car, be sure to check out Hooks pass at the Hot Rod Reunion at Steve Gibbs CHRR 2011 on YouTube

 

The highlight of the day was when they rolled the "BankAmericar" and the Shirley Muldowney champ car into the central intersection for a cackle. Joey Head of NHRA was in the Bank car and co-owner Twila Mandella was in Shirly's car. Fired together it brought the house down filling the area with beautiful cackling and nitro fumes.

 

 

 

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At the track the cars were on display again, but due to the Force show the number of other cars was limited. Here are shots by Ken Hughes and John Ewald in no particular order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After setting up the cackle cars they turned on the big screen with the "John Force Story" that they had to listen to all weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may have been the Big Show but when a cacklecar fired the crowd was on hand and appreciative.

 

The epitome of a Californian - Brett Johansen brought his own space heater to the stands. It was a mere 40 degrees... summer in many states. Gotta love the look on Gary Beck's face.

 

Speaking of Californians. A little drizzle and out come the umbrellas. In Oregon we don't even own umbrellas!

 

Gary Beck, Henry Walther, Chase Knight, Bob McClennan Steve Gibbs and Brett Johansen.

 

 

On Saturday Kate Capps (Lil John Buttera's granddaughter) got a cackle in the Mastercar because the BankAmericar, which her grand dad built, had already been fired.

 

 

The Greeks granddaughter Krista Baldwin was promoting his team as the hardest working crew with billboards...it worked!

 

Greek's hard working, volunteer crew.

 

 

Gar and Cynthia Carpenter

 

Dave McClelland and Jack Beckman during one of the autograph sessions.

 

The Greek and Jim Head.

 

Steve Gibbs, John Force, John Ewald, Don Garlits

 

Dusty McWilliams in the Howard Cams Ratter with one of the guys who restored it looking on (Brett Johansen).

 

On Sunday Kate with her mom, Leigh Buttera-Capps wanted a cackle in her grandpa Lil John's car, she even had his helmet...how could I say no.

 

 

 

It is always a pleasure to have the Buttera family be part of any event. Leigh shooting photos and Kate in the seat.

 

Jason Rupert was on hand to accept his Wally for winning the Hot Rod Heritage Series Funny Car title.

 

 

 

Big and Sonny Messner who raced together for many years. They still remain great friends.

 

 

Kate Buttera Capps again, this time in the Mastercar.

 

 

 

Now dubbed "Ms. Cacklefest Driver" Gwen McWilliams got into the Shirley car for her 3rd cackle of the weekend.

 

 

 

The BankAmericar wowed the crowd with Rob Caldiera, a close friend of Bob & Sharon Muravez, in the seat.

 

 

Maxed Out Racing's crew chief, Bob Danly keeps a close eye on the engine.

 

 

On Sunday before the final round an impromptu tow by FED's in front of the fans...big reception by them. The matriarch of the Buttera family Leigh sat in the car her dad built back in 1968...the BankAmericar.

 

 

Dusty McWilliams was in the Howard Cams Rattler.

 

Dave Mandella's son Rex was in the Shirley car.

 

Gwen McWilliams in the Howard Cams Rattler for the last fire-up of the weekend.

 

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Dan, Ashley and Jacob Hood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you've never seen one, this is a body mold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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