Anytime there is a mass cackle
where Gibbs is in charge a drivers meeting is held. They are
usually short and light. Not so this day. For the Gibbs family
and friends it was more than a revival, it was a tribute to an
incredible wife and mother, Gloria Gibbs who passed away just
2 weeks earlier. It was an emotional and sometimes humorous trip
down memory lane of a life that touched many in its wake.
Debbie Gibbs, Justin
Arias, Cindy & Steve
Another special "Gloria"
moment was a missing driver tribute during the Kitty Cackle segment
where 7 females received static starts with the 8th car filled
with a gorgeous bouquet of roses in the empty seat.
Many thanks to Pete Eastwood
for the seat.
The Sisters Gibbs - Stephanie,
Cindy & Debby
A not so emotional but certainly
a special part of the event was the 2019 Special Recognition
Awards hosted by Gibbs.
Widely known as "Flanagan,"
was the starter at the two tracks on which the Revival spotlight
will shine most brightly. A retired police officer and former
president of the Cal Rods Car Club, he has spent his lifetime
building and racing hot rods, starting with a 1931 Ford A model
coupe in the 1950s. More recently restored 1948 Ford pickup that
includes a low boost supercharger built by Top Fuel and Top Gas
veteran Don Hampton to allow it to be driven on the street.
"TV Tommy" Ivo
Ivo, of course, needs little
introduction. After making a name for himself in television shows
like "Margie," "I Remember Mama" and "The
Donna Reed Show," he turned his attention and resources
to drag racing. Much of his early racing career centered around
San Gabe where, on Oct. 24, 1962, he became the first to break
the 8.00 second barrier at the wheel of the car he called "Barnstormer."
He also debuted his radical four-engine
dragster "Showboat" at San Gabriel. Although it was
relegated to "exhibition" status by the NHRA, it nevertheless
helped to further cement Ivo's status in the sport and figured
into his 2005 induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of
America now housed at Daytona Beach, Fla.
Read's reputation for being able
to drive anything on wheels and do it better than most earned
him rides in some of the West Coast's most celebrated vehicles.
A member of the legendary "Groundshakers," he successfully
campaigned the "Dago Red" and Genuine Suspension Top
Fuel dragsters, the Haight and Sullivan fuel altered and the
aptly-named "Nutcracker" AMC Javelin Funny Car, among
Like Read, Southern distinguished
himself through his versatility, competing at some time at every
level including Top Fuel and Funny Car. The defining moment of
his long career was his victory at the 1988 U.S. Nationals in
Dale Smart's Top Alcohol dragster outfitted with the revolutionary
Norm Drazy-designed PSI screw blower. In 1981, he was runner-up
at Indy in Top Alcohol Dragster and a month later was runner-up
at the World Finals at OCIR in Top Alcohol Funny Car. He also
drove "The Stinger" Funny Car and John Lindsay's "Impulse"
Wilton's engines excelled on
both land and water. He and partner Del Doss had the baddest
big block Chevy on the West Coast in the mid-1960s, a car he
later restored to its original form for cackle events. He also
partnered with Kenny Ellis in the "Trigster," a three-wheeled
Top Fuel dragster built by Scotty Fenn but banned by the NHRA.
As a result, it raced only at non-NHRA tracks including San Gabriel
and won the B/Gas trophy at the March Meet at Bakersfield in
1961. Wilton later built blown Chevies for circle and straight-line
Swift may be one of the most
incredible drag racing success stories nobody knows. After a
motorcycle accident as a youngster, he encountered discrimination
in the workplace and elsewhere because of his prosthetic wooden
leg. Despite that handicap, he became one of the most prolific
racers of his era at the wheel of a stick shift 1951 Ford coupe
with flathead power that he called the "Poor Boy's Thunderbolt."
He had won 150 trophies before
they started bracket racing for money at Irwindale in 1966. In
1967, he won 17 races and dominated the track's "King of
the Hill" weekly tournament. He was so dominant during that
span that Drag News referred to him as "Mr. Unbeatable."
Smith began his fuel motorcycle
racing career at San Gabriel in the 1950s and almost ended it
at Irwindale in 1967 when he was pitched off at 145 miles per
hour, preceding his bike across the finish line. He ultimately
dominated fuel bike racing on a series of Harley motorcycles
in the 1970s, winning the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in 1971,
1974 and 1975 and earning runner-up honors in 1973.
He was the first to break the
9.00 second barrier on a motorcycle when he ran 8.97 at Bakersfield
astride his Shovelhead-powered "King Rat" Harley. Later,
he built the twin-engined Double King Rat on which he crashed
in Kentucky in 1975 after one of the engines exploded and blew
him off the bike, effectively ending his career.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS
PAT & JERRY BALTES
The Jim McLennan Drag Racing
Foundation Nitro Revival Welcome Center was ground zero for all
things NR3 and home base for Who?
Mike Channing and Roland Leong.
Mike was good enough to bring part of his incredible collection
of drag racing memorabilia to display. The Champion tent was
lined with coats/jackets/shirts that reeked of our history.