Rosemary Cavalieri named Grand Marshal of Cedar Falls Night of Fire

It is safe to say there are very few great grandmothers around with the nitro racing resume of Rosemary Cavalieri.  Rose and her late husband, Louie, decided in the early 1970s to buy a racecar. What started out as a possible modified production Chevy or Super Stock Ford Torino became a quite popular front engine top fuel car from Chicago called "The Guzzler".  They ran the car for a couple of seasons before converting to a rear engine top fuel car and once again it was one of the Guzzler cars from Chicago.

Fast forward to the mid '80s and she was an integral part of her twin boys, Louie Jr. and Mike, racing operation when they won two AHRA world championships. It didn’t stop there, though, she and her son Louie Jr. started a used racecar parts business that has been in operation since 1992 and going stronger than ever.

She also was lured back into owning nitro cars, first a couple of successful injected nitro  funny cars, then the original Mobil 1 car that Whit Bazemore drove as a blown nitro car, and then she agreed to team up with the Peek Brothers in the spring of 2000 and spent the next couple of years watching her youngest son, Jim, compete in NHRA Top Fuel competition.

When Louie Jr. passed away unexpectedly in the spring of 2003, Rosemary’s desire to be out on the road racing had all but vanished. Time does heal all wounds, though, and when Mike took over the tuning chores for long time family friend Paul Romine, it was, off to the races.

And while she is a mother of seven, grandmother to 17 and great-grandmother to another handful of up and coming race fans, she is still involved in the day-to-day operations of Cavalieri Racing Equipment Co. and her newest venture, Pinball Past. And she has enjoyed all the friends and racers she has met along the way.  

Cedar Falls holds a special place in her heart as it was the first time she went racing with Paul Romine and they went on to win the race, all the while making sure Mike didn’t work too hard as he was two days out of heart surgery.  

People often ask her about what it was like with Mike and Louie growing up and her answer is simple: "It was a challenge."