All eyes in the nostalgia world will shift their focus toward the capital city of Idaho when Firebird Raceway rolls out the red carpet for the 43rd edition of the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals. Set for August 7th thru 10th, a strong turnout of racers are anticipated for the premiere motorsports happening located in the Treasure Valley foothills northwest of Boise. Operated by the New Crew, the featured NHRA Hot Rod Heritage point's event will host a pair of open eliminators in both Nitro Funny Car and Top Fuel.
The Nightfire is steeped in history dating back to 1972. Twig Zeigler and Dale Armstrong scored Nightfire victories in the event's inaugural year. Over the years, champions have included the likes of Don Prudhomme, Ed McCulloch, John Force, Gordie Bonin, Raymond Beadle, Tom McEwen and quite a variety of other top teams.
Leading the charge in the AA/Funny Car class will be the number one ranked team in Heritage points, Dan Horan Jr. with his Patriot Mustang. Horan was runner-up at the season opening Ignitor and winner of the Heritage event at Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City. In AA/Fuel Dragster, the class will be led by Tony Bartone who will be bringing his points-leading Top Fueler from New York. In Outlaw Pro Modified, defending Nightfire champion Marc Meadors Camaro will lead the charge in the key West Coast Outlaw Pro Modified Association event.
In addition, the Nightfire weekend will also play host to the longest running major bracket tournament in America (dating back to 1976) recognized as the Bracketeer Series. Racers from 12 states and three Canadian provinces will compete for a purse topping $80,000 in guaranteed payout. The event will also include a 4-day overall point's series within the National Dragster Challenge. Daily champions in Bracketeer will pocket $5,000 to win on Thurs., Fri., and Sun., along with a $7,500 payday on Saturday night. The event will also showcase the Lucas Oil Top Fire eliminator for the quickest 12 open-wheelers and 12 full-bodied rides in a special “race within a race”.
Approaching three dozen Professional racers will compete under the lights nightly, including qualifying at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by finals at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon and continuing until nightfall. Tickets are available by contacting the Firebird hotline at 208-938-8986 or by dropping by the track website: www.firebirdonline.com
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/FirebirdRacewayIdaho.
In conjunction with Team Wilkerson, who will be competing at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals with a special-edition car, Rottler Manufacturing has announced a series of Demo Days at their Seattle headquarters, for all racers and engine builders who will be in the area during the week preceding the Seattle race. The daily events will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day, from Tuesday July 29 through Friday August 1.
Rottler is a leading manufacturer of machines that are specific to the building and servicing of racing engines, and racers are invited to stop in during any of the open-house days to see a variety of machines in action. Rottler will have their latest 5th-axis head-porting machine running, their newest line of seat and guide machines, as well as valve refacers, a new true vertical stroke CNC cylinder honing machine, and both of Rottler's CNC block machining centers.
Racers arriving from Sonoma can take the Orillia St. exit off Interstate 5, then head east on Orillia. From there, turn left on S. 200th which then becomes S. 196th Street. Turn right on 81st Avenue South, and then right on S. 200th. Rottler is immediately ahead on the left side of the road. Racers can contact Rottler at 253-872-7050
A benefit fund has been established in the name of Valerie Bennett, a 15-year-old Ohio NHRA Jr. drag racer who committed suicide recently after being a victim of online bullying.
The fund was established to help her parents, Kim and Cartho, pay for the funeral expenses and for the establishment of a health services scholarship.
Valerie, whose home track was Summit Motorsports Park, is pictured, near lane, racing her brother, Brandon.
Contributions can be sent to:
Valerie S. Bennett Benefit Fund
1001 Sandusky Street
Perrysburg, OH 43551
A unique partnership was announced today that Western Technical College based in El Paso, Texas, has become the Official Technical College of Don Schumacher Racing's U.S. Army (Tony Schumacher), Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher (Spencer Massey), Valvoline/Infinite Hero Foundation (Jack Beckman), and Make-A-Wish Foundation (Tommy Johnson Jr.) teams.
Western Technical College's mission is to provide quality training and education in a caring, professional environment that prepares new students and working adults with the skills they need to succeed and advance in their chosen careers. Those objectives will be enhanced through a unique internship program with the largest professional drag racing team in NHRA.
"We're always looking to add skilled and ambitious people to the DSR organization," team owner Don Schumacher said. "We started our relationship with Western Tech through Matco Tools and we expanded it last summer during the Western Swing internship program for all parties involved. We see this as an opportunity to help facilitate the skill set of the students as they move into professional working careers. We hope that a few of these students can call DSR and Brownsburg (Ind.) home in the next few years."
In 2013, two students from Western Technical College joined Don Schumacher Racing for the three-week "Western Swing" as interns. Students Kody Throop and Josh Lerma, now graduates, joined DSR's U.S. Army and Matco Tools teams for races in Denver, near Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle.
As part of the partnership, DSR and WTC renewed and expanded the internship program beginning at the season's 10th event June 13-15 at Bristol, Tenn. Four interns have been mentoring with DSR's U.S. Army (Matthew Anderson) and Matco Tools (James Jones) Top Fuel teams, and the Valvoline/Infinite Hero Foundation (Melvyn McMinn) and Make-A-Wish (Michael Clemente) Funny Car teams. The students also have worked with the teams at the race shop in Brownsburg.
Clemente, Anderson and Jones have joined their respective teams in the winner's circle at the Bristol, Epping, and Chicago races.
DSR will host four more interns - Cedric Cole, Michael Darbonnier, Rachel Kirkendall and Adrian Samaniego - for the three-week Western Swing that begins July 18 at Denver and continues at Sonoma and Seattle. A third group of interns will join DSR for the first four races of the Countdown to the Championship playoff (Charlotte, Dallas, St. Louis and Reading, Pa.) that begins Sept. 12.
"It is the desire of every Western Tech Automotive, Performance Tuner, and Diesel Technology student to excel to the top of their chosen profession," said Jack Werner, Western Technical College Director of Automotive Technology, Heavy & Light Duty Diesel Technology and Performance Tuning. "Our partnership with Don Schumacher Racing provides our students the opportunity to train with the best of the best in the highly competitive world of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing. The students selected as DSR interns will apply skills learned at Western Tech in an environment that is a once in a lifetime experience. The teamwork, attention to detail and technical expertise learned by actively participating on a Don Schumacher team is training a student can't receive anywhere else in the world."
In addition to Western Tech branding on five DSR race cars, the school's logo will adorn the quarter panel of "Fast Jack" Beckman's Valvoline MaxLife/SynPower Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for NHRA races seven events including upcoming races at Sonoma, Seattle, Brainerd, Indianapolis and St. Louis.