Nine All-American Fuel Dragsters teams are loaded up with drums of nitro and motoring towards Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho for this weekend’s 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals, the third race in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Nostalgia Top Fuel points series. The eight-car Nostalgia Top Fuel Eliminations battle will continue a half-century of drag racing competition heritage at the premiere motorsports event in the Gem State
Current series points leader Mendy Fry is gunning to hold onto the lead after her victory at the National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, Kentucky in the High-Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel Dragster. Brendan Murry is heading out from San Jose, California in the number two position after an outstanding performance in the Running Wild dragster at Bowling Green.
“We feel like we’ve got something to give them now,” Murry reported. “We’ve put a few runs on the car and we’re starting to learn how to tune it. We’re making enough power knock the tires off at over 210 MPH. We’re working on it!”
Bakersfield March Meet winner Pete Wittenberg is hitting the Nightfire Nationals with high hopes at taking back the number one slot from his number three position in the KMA Circuit Breaker and expects a challenge with the change in altitude from his Southern California stomping grounds. “We’re loaded and ready for battle. I was number one in points but not being able to participate at Bowling Green bumped me to number three. I want that number one back.”
Adam Sorokin and the Champion Speed Shop are holding onto 4th place after what has so far been a tumultuous season as the team pushed to extract more power from their small block Chevrolet powered canopy special. “We are in a bit of a learning mode this year. We changed a few things this year that had promise but didn’t really yield the results we were looking for. A couple things are going back to a known variable. We’ll see what happens.”
Nightfire Nationals defending champion Jim Murphy has made a few changes to his WW2 dragster and is driving towards a repeat Nightfire Nationals win from the number eight points position after stepping out of Bowling Green to help rebuild the fire-ravaged Sonoma County California region he calls home.
“We’ve gone out twice at the local track here in Sonoma and made some half-passes. We’re going up to Boise and try and do the best we can. We’ll probably use the first couple qualifiers almost like a test session just to make sure we’ve got our arms around it, but we think we’ve made some positive changes. We’ll do a little better in that area and then we’ll be going up to win the race.”
Seventh place points holder Bret Williamson will strap into the hemi-powered Mike Fuller Forever Young AA/Fuel Dragster and California-based racer Dusty Green will once again meet up with the Nitro-Hemi from Colorado with eyes on climbing up out of a rain-soaked March Meet and unlucky National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green. “So far we have had a rough season and we are hoping to turn it around in Boise. We usually run respectably there and would love to turn this season around”.
Tyler Hilton and his dad Robert Hilton have sorted out some changes on their Great Expectations III AA/Fueler and are hoping to step up at Boise and keep their fearsome big block Chevrolet from overpowering the tires. “We tried some different stuff since Bowling Green but we are going back to where we were and are pretty confident”.
Last and certainly not least are Phil Ruskowski and the Island Nitro Gang who are making a herculean effort to put their Xibitionist Nostalgia Top Fueler back together and get out to Boise after an explosion at Lucas Oil Canadian National races took out the small block Chevrolet in a supercharged fireball.
“We then made a hit on Saturday after some adjustments and with plans of stepping off at 1000 feet. At half track it felt good and going right down the grove and I was just thinking that I was on a strong pass and 1000 feet was coming up fast and BOOM!!!! ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!!! I was on fire there was parts and pieces flying every which way and the blower was in a state of hang time. The percussion was impressive. I got the Xibitionist stopped still on fire but the safety crew was on it. After the fire was out and all the parts that were in orbit came back to earth the Xibitionist was sitting there smoking in the shutdown area.”
Thanks to tremendous support from the team and spouses along with sponsors and friends signs are better than good that Phil and the Island Nitro Gang are going to make the 47th Pepsi Nitro Nationals an international Top Fuel competition. “Getting to Boise is taking all my thoughts and time. Right now when I go to bed I don’t dream of sandy beaches I dream of BOISE and we can’t wait to see you all there! Small blocks on Nitro Forever”, said Phil on his Island Nitro Facebook Group.
NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL SCHEDULE
Nightfire Nationals AA/Fuel Dragster, AA/Fuel Altered, and AA/Funny Car nitro qualifying and eliminations run from Friday, August 10th through Sunday, August 12th. The 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals kicks off on Thursday, August 9th with Sportsman racing at 12:30 PM. Run schedule is subject to change.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10th
Gates Open: 9:00 AM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 1 (Q1): 2 PM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 2 (Q2): 8 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11th
Gates Open: 9:00 AM
AA/FD Qualifying Session 3 (Q3): 2 PM
AA/FD Round 1 Eliminations (E1): 8 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 12th
Gates Open: 9:00 am
AA/FD Round 2 Semi-Final Eliminations (E2): 2 PM
AA/FD Final Eliminations (E3): 4 PM
NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points standings ahead of the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway.
AA/Fuel Dragsters will join awful fuel-huffing AA/Fuel Altereds, nitro-burning AA/Funny Cars, unruly Pro Mods, fire-powered Jet Dragsters and the wheelstanding Outlaw Stagecoach for daytime and under-the-lights drag racing action. Firebird Raceway is located 5 miles north of Idaho State Highway 44 on Idaho State Highway 16. Tickets are available at participating local Stinker Stores. For more information contact Firebird Raceway at 208-938-8986 and on the web at http://www.firebirdonline.com or the official Firebird Raceway Facebook Page
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NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES
The 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway is the third battle for the 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship. Head on over to www.nhrahotrodheritage.com for an upcoming race schedule, news, points, results, rules and more.