WAR REENACTORS: With Ron Johnson watching, two of his tribute fuelers reenacted a routine that Tommy Ivo (seen in foreground) and Chris Karamesines experienced countless times in the mid’60s’ match-race wars, before burnouts and electric starters eliminated push-down drama. Drivers Kol Johnson, Ron’s son, and Mark Mccormick then staged and launched the cloned Chizler and Barnstormer, respectively, before idling downtrack. It was a fitting finale for both the event and cosponsor Johnson, a major player in the cackle movement.
SPLIT LEVEL: Soon to be southern California’s last surviving purpose-built facility, Barona reminds local oldtimers of long-gone San Diego County strips at Paradise Mesa and Ramona. The eighth-mile facility sits on Indian land near Lakeside. Clever carving of the surrounding hills created sufficient flat spaces for pitting and watching.
PYROMANIAC: Retired firefighter Bill Pitts continues to put out flames. Nobody shoots them higher than the godfather of cackling, whose restored Magicar inadvertently invented an entire exhibition category by lighting off in the Famoso Grove in 1993, during the second NHRA reunion. Golden Age star Jeep Hampshire is back behind the butterfly. Photographer Bob Mcclurg snapped the shot.
ROYAL FRIENDSHIP: Rookie promoter Steve Gibbs and rookie booksigner Linda Vaughn took a break between autographs to visit with Linda’s sister, Sheila Ann Franklin, and Canadian speed merchant Brant “The Kid” Inglis, who was wrenching on the same 392 Chrysler that Jack Williams last ran in the Syndicate Scuderia. Looking on is Amber Greth, the gearhead granddaughter of Speed Sport legend Red Greth. COLORFUL CROWD: Barona’s crowd was small but colorful, consisting mostly of cackle-car teams and friends showing support for Steve Gibbs. The fan in the middle was fortunate to score an official shirt before souvenir items completely sold out. Enough money was made, according to Gibbs, to ensure another Nitro Revival on Sept. 29, 2018. THUNDER LUNGS: Another reason for trekking to the southernmost part of the West Coast was a last chance—two chances, actually—to enjoy the Voice of Drag Racing. Jon Lundberg called the street action in downtown Escondido the night before Barona’s Nitro Revival. His sidekick here was NHRA Division Seven announcer Mike English.