(photo by Chris Graves c/o maxcacklephotos.com)

(photo by Chris Graves c/o maxcacklephotos.com)


42nd Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals, Firebird Raceway, Boise ID—After three fiery nights of action that wowed capacity crowds in Boise, Utah-based Brett Harris dropped the drawers on an unsuspecting contingent of AA/Fuel Dragsters and claimed the event win at Firebird’s 42nd Nightfire Nationals.

Harris swung his first gauntlet late Saturday night in the final session of qualifying, posting a fierce ¼-mile elapsed time of 5.80 seconds and a full-throttle top speed of 247 mph, numbers which propelled the Steve Harwood-owned “Nitro Hemi” into the #1 qualifying spot, a position previously bogarted throughout the meet by Adam Sorokin in San Francisco’s “Champion Speed Shop” streamlined-dragster.

But Harris’s coveted slot meant more than just bragging rights: Because of a 7-car eliminator, the “Nitro Hemi” was granted a bye run into the semi-finals, where Harris’s 5.88 withstood the efforts of San Diego’s Neal & White. Harris also ran the final round unopposed after veteran racer Jim Murphy failed to make the call when he mortally wounded his “WW2’s” mount in the semi-finals while dispatching Sorokin. Murphy’s spectacular clocking of 5.73 seconds at 258 mph served as both Low ET and Top Speed of the Meet, but he said afterwards: “We hurt the # 5 piston real bad and have aluminum everywhere.”

Harris is the Boise AA/Fuel Dragster winner, but Murphy could hardly consider his efforts a defeat. His long-term goal—to claim the 2013 Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Title—became much more viable after his runner-up efforts allowed him to push past the two competitors in front of him before Boise, #2 Jim Young and #1 Denver Schutz, neither of whom drove at the Nightfires. Murphy now has a commanding lead in the points race with two events left on the Heritage Series schedule: The inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion and the 22nd California Hot Rod Reunion.


AA/Fuel Dragster Final Qualifying

1.  Brett Harris, Hooper, Utah, 5.80, 247.38.
2.  Adam Sorokin, La Crescenta, Calif., 5.83, 224.83.
3.  Jim Murphy, Santa Rosa, Calif., 5.84, 237.52.
4.  Rick White, San Diego, Calif., 5.85, 248.00.
5.  Tony Bartone, Long Island City, New York, 5.93, 218.92.
6.  Brendan Murry, San Jose, Calif., 6.36, 230.35.
7.  Ron August, Pleasanton, Calif., 6.39, 212.91.

AA/Fuel Dragster Round One

Win-Jim Murphy, 5.913, 244.16.
Brendan Murry, 6.300, 194.13.

Win-Brett Harris, 13.409, 62.65.

Win-Adam Sorokin, 5.938, 226.13.
Ron August Jr, 6.493,216.19.

Win-Rick White, 5.974, 231.30.
Tony Bartone, 7.595, 117.61.

AA/Fuel Dragster Semi Final Round

Win-Brett Harris, .095, 5.884, 245.29.
Rick White, .134, 6.589, 219.40.

Win-Jim Murphy, .132, 5.739, 258.17.
Adam Sorokin, .053, 6.838, 144.27.

AA/Fuel Dragster Final
Brett Harris, Hooper, Utah, .315, 6.99, 132.95 def. Jim Murphy, Santa Rosa, Calif., broke.


1. Jim Murphy — 265
2. Denver Schutz — 195
3. Jim Young — 173
4. Rick White–151
5. Brett Harris–118
6. Adam Sorokin–109
7. Brendan Murry–106
8. Tony Bartone–86
9. Ron August–85
10. Randy Bridges–75

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Jim Murphy in his latest "WW2" fueler. (photo by Mike Sopko, Jr.)

Jim Murphy in his latest “WW2” fueler. (photo by Mike Sopko, Jr.)

Firebird Raceway, Boise, ID, August 8, 2013—As a part of a year-long quest to claim the coveted 2013 Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Title, wily and tenacious veteran drag racer Jim “Holy Smokes” Murphy is leading a convoy of his California competition to Boise, Idaho for participation in this weekend’s 42nd Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

Based out of Santa Rosa, Murphy is third in Heritage Series points, about one round of competition behind the gutty and irascible Denver Schutz and the young, fast and terse Jim Young. Murphy plans to leapfrog over both Schutz and Young this weekend, and has both the mojo and machinery to do it. In fact, after retiring his old trusty-but-tiring “WW2” mount, Murphy purchased Frank Ousley’s Illinois-based “Crop Duster” AA/Fuel Dragster, the very racecar that Young drove to victory in the season-opening March Meet. With Tim Beebe, Murphy’s longtime cohort in grime, retiring from tuning Top Fuel cars, Jim also snagged Ousley himself to continue as his new co-tuner. Murphy then steered Ousley’s ex-machine to victory at the next race in the Heritage Series, the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, KY, when he dispatched Schutz in a wire-to-wire thriller of a final round.

Due to seasonal business commitments, and even despite leading the points chase, Schutz will miss this year’s Nightfire Nationals. Young, who is out of a ride after the “Crop Duster” was sold to Murphy, will still be in Boise, plotting to subvert and foil Murphy’s plans to take the points lead. Young will attempt this, not as a driver, but by assisting mechanically on the Champion Speed Shop fueler out of South City, San Francisco. Champion’s driver, Adam Sorokin, won the 2012 Heritage Series Top Fuel Points Title.

Impromptu partnerships aside, the fact remains that between Young’s tenure and Murphy’s ownership, the pre-owned “WW2” fueler-formerly-known-as-the “Crop Duster” is unbeaten in competition in 2013. This weekend in Idaho, Murphy’s objective is keep that undefeated streak intact.

Besides the Champion Speed Shop team, other potential obstacles to Murphy’s goal included the hard-charging Neal & White entry out of San Diego, Ron August, Jr. and the “Forever Young” dragster from the Bay Area, and the San Jose-based Brendan Murry’s 426 Hemi-powered “Running Wild.” Also attempting to throw a spanner in Murphy’s works are 2nd-generation fuel racer Brett Harris in Steve Harwood’s digger from Denver, Colorado and the so-called “Beast from the East,” Tony Bartone, who has posted the quickest ¼-mile elapsed time in the AA/Fuel Dragster class, at 5.561 seconds.

42nd Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Details:
Firebird Raceway, Boise, Idaho
Friday Night Nitro Pro Qualifying: 7 pm
“Saturday Night Thunder” Nitro Qualifying: 7 pm
Sunday’s Nitro Eliminations begin at 2 pm

Follow the AA/Fuel Dragsters at aafd.tv and facebook.com/AAFDTopFuel