2007-05-26 / News

Hot Rod Reunion coming to National Trail Raceway

HEBRON - In the golden years of drag racing two of the most notable names were "TV Tommy" Ivo and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. Those two legends in the sport will join together at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by SoffSeal - and they're bringing their cars to the three-day fanfest, June 15-17 at National Trail Raceway.

"Garlits and Ivo match raced hundreds of times in the 1960s and '70s," said Tony Thacker, executive director of the Parks Museum, "often racing at one track, then towing 500 miles overnight to get to the next. "We're very pleased that they've chosen to come and bring their cars to the event so that their fans old and new can see them 'up close and personal.'"

Garlits, who has participated in each of the past four National Hot Rod Reunions, will bring one of his famous Swamp Rat front engine dragsters to the event, which is produced by and benefits the non-profit Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. He was the No. 1 driver in the NHRA's list of the top 50 drag racers of all time. Garlits was the first to exceed 200, 240, 250, 260 and 270 mph in the quarter mile. He was also the first to win three NHRA U.S. Nationals titles and three world championships. His event victory total is a staggering 144.

Ivo will have three cars on hand, including an orange striped 1970s-era dragster, fully restored to original condition, as well as the fabled glass-sided trailer Ivo used for towing it. The Dodgepowered full-bodied AA/Fuel dragster was Ivo's last front engine dragster.

Ron Johnson, founder of www.cacklefest.com has undertaken the task of replicating Ivo's first Top Fuel dragster. Known as the Barnstormer (from a story in a 1964 issue of Hot Rod Magazine) the car was known as much for its beauty as its performance. The aluminum body work is presently being finished by Northern California artisan Jack Hagemann, Jr. and the car will debut in Columbus.

Ivo also received dubious national notoriety when an incredible Paul Sadler photo sequence of his horrific top end crash at the 1974 Winternationals was published as a center-spread and cover image in Hot Rod Magazine. The remains of that car were found and have been beautifully restored by 1989 NHRA Funny Car Champion Bruce Larson, and it too will debut in Columbus.

Ivo is the first to have built a four-engine Buick-powered dragster equipped with four-wheel drive. That car was known as the "Showboat." Ivo was also the first to break the barriers of 170 mph, 180 mph and, in Top Fuel, 190 mph. He was also the first to record a seven-second run and in 1972, the first to record a five-second run.

The Reunion 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.

Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods, classics, customs and muscle cars of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.

Credentials are now available for the Reunion by calling 800/884-6472 or through an application on the Museum's Web site at http://museum.nhra.com. A 3-day credential is $55. Those purchasing their credentials before May 25 receive significantadded value, including Saturday's Heacock Classic Insurance Pit Pass Barbecue, a "goodie" bag, a limited edition, collectible Reunion program, a dash plaque and a souvenir credential. A 3-day junior credential is also available for $10 and includes the barbecue. Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at the National Trail Raceway gate. Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

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