1990's Nostalgia Drag Racing grew increasingly popular and has
now developed an incredible fan base. Maybe as popular as the
actual racecars themselves, are the "Cacklefest Cars"
(so named because they have functional fuel burning engines,
but are not legal to race due to their age) are a hit wherever
they appear -- at the racetracks or at any number of functions
that want a "thrilling attraction".
There are currently
40 or so 'Cacklecars' from the 1960s throughout the country with
more being restored or reproduced all the time. These were all
real racecars in their era and most were famous. On the forefront
of this movement is the beautiful and quite functional "Frantic
4" A/Fuel Dragster - circa 1962. While most of these cars
spend their time at the NHRA Museum or in the owner's garage,
the Frantic 4 is on the road as much as possible. Norm Weekly
and Ron Rivero would be quite happy to have this be a full time
"job". That could only come from a couple of guys who
We now invite
you to view a small sampling of the the teams "road show"
over the last two years.
The Frantic 4 is frequently invited
to appear for nostalgia functions at the Wally Parks - NHRA Motorsports
Museum in Pomona, CA.
members Dennis Holding (orange shirt) who financed the replication,
Norm Weekly (in car) and Ron Rivero (right) were like a bunch
of kids with a new toy when the car debuted in October of 2001.
The Jim Fox built 354 hemi never sounded so good!
on display are one thing, but THE thing is a good old push start.
These are only done at race tracks on approved fire-up roads
... like the one at Bakersfield, CA. Here, during its 2001 debut
at the CHRR, the Frantic 4 with Norm Weekly in the seat makes
its first push start in over 3 decades.
The push start
got the fans on their feet - when Norm staged the car and smoked
the tires - the crowd went wild. Due to safety rules, Weekly
could only make a 400 foot "run", but that was enough
for the 20,000 folks in the seats.
of the Frantic 4 Racing Traveling Road Show is the fact that
fans can actually get to sit in the car. And if they are so inclined,
they can actually be in the seat for a static fire up. What a
great birthday present that would be for fans of any age.
Talk about prime
time - during the finals (Sunday) of both the 2002 and 2003 NHRA
Winternationals 16 of the best "Cacklecars" around
push started down the track and then parked side by side in front
of the spectator grandstands. The 30,000 plus fans were on their
feet applauding these warriors of old. Since they last ran in
1972, thousands had never even seen a front engine fueler before.
During most events classic "photo
ops" (aka Kodak moments) are plentiful. At Pomona one of
the true legends of drag racing made a point of visiting the
Frantic 4 display. From LtoR: Randy Hargrave, Norm Weekly, Chris
"The Greek" Karamesines, Ron Rivero and Dennis Holding.
eye view of "The Office".
Randy and Katie
Hargrave (new owners of the Frantic 4 fueler) stand behind their
car in a rare shot with the body off. This was at the 2002 California
Hot Rod Reunion.
looks intently down the track as Weekly prepares to make another
smokey 400 foot pass at Bakersfield.
the event that started it all. For the 2000 California Hot Rod
Reunion, event "ring master" (Steve Gibbs) along with
a few racers who has old cars capable of push starting came up
with the wild idea of "Cacklefest". The concept was
simple. Take all the cars that could do it, and line them up
at the top end of historic Fomosa Raceway (Bakersfield). Then
when the sun set, push start them the way it was done in the
60s. Maybe a few fans would stick around to watch? The first
year there were 11 or 12 cars and yes, the fans did stay to see
it happen. About 5,000 to be exact.
The 2001 event
within an event already had a life of its own and there were
24 cars ready to cackle, including the brand new Frantic 4 fueler.
At the 2002 Cacklefest over 32 cars participated and rumors have
it that the 2003 show will be limited to just fuel dragsters.
The Frantic 4 will be at the top of the list.