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August 11-14-Firebird Raceway, Boise, ID- Hands down, this four-day event at Firebird Raceway is a "must see" event that any drag fan should attend. Firebird Raceway's annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals not only showcases some of the area's toughest bracket racers (who compete for $5,000 each night Friday-Sunday), but also features three consecutive nights of spectacular nitro and exhibition racing. A variety of fuel altereds, front-engine dragsters, Pro Mods, and of course several exhibition classes, pull out all the stops at a chance to claim a "Nightfire Nationals" title. 

This year's event featured over 30 professional entries, hundreds of sportsman racers from all over the Northwest and California, as well as record crowds during what was an absolutely gorgeous weekend.  Highlights of the event include: Jack Harris receiving the 3rd Annual "Jaker Award"; Brett Harris winning his first National title in AA/FD; Mike Boyd's 7.26 @ 205.29 MPH in the Winged Express; and Lee Smith's domination of the Pro Mod field.

The 35th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals is already slated for August 10-13, 2006, and you can best believe that plans are already being made to make it the most spectacular event ever produced at Firebird. For additional event info check out Firebird Raceway Online.  The following photo highlights are just a portion of what went on during the event. Enjoy! Dawn & Mark

Jason Richey ran a straight-as-a-string 6.09 in Dave Smith's "Nitro Fever" entry to win the AA/FD Tater Baker title.  
Scott Bailey made his first appearance at the Nightfire Nationals, qualifying his supercharged Pro Mod Chevelle in the fifth spot with a respectable 6.76.
Ed "The Outlaw" Jones ripped into a one-wheelstand in his Jelly Belly-backed "Candyland" Stagecoach during Friday's "Nitro Jam" Family Night.
Keith Jackson struggled to get his AA/FA down the quarter mile, running a best of 7.40 during qualifying.
It was a nitrous vs. blown clash as Lee Smith, near lane, and Rod Pearce squared off in the opening round of Pro Mod with Smith earning the win light.
Brett Harris had one thing on his mind when he rolled through the gates at Firebird, and that was to defend his father's 2004 Nitro Nationals  AA/FD Championship.  Harris qualified in the second spot with a 6.06 and went on to defeat Brendan Murry (twice) and Howard Haight with consistent low 6-second time slips.  Complimenting the win was the presentation of the New Family "Jaker" Award to dad, Jack, during Saturday evening's program.  Simply a great weekend for the Utah Posse.
Mike Savage, near lane, and Ed Schwarz paired up their gorgeous retro AA/FAs during Saturday's final qualifying session.  It was the first time either driver participated at the Nightfire Nationals, and both went on to win their respective bonus classes Sunday evening.

2003 Tater Baker winner Brendan Murry has been all over the map in 2005, on and off the track. Murry qualified his "Running Wild" entry in the Top Fuel main field in the seventh spot with a 6.21, but lost twice to Brett Harris in rounds one and two of eliminations.

Rick Hough ran a great 6.27 in his family's "Nanook" AA/FA during Friday's qualifying session before misfortune struck during Saturday evening's qualifying.  Following the launch, the pretty '23 T made an abrupt left hit into the retaining wall, which more than likely knocked out Hough, and then proceeded to direct hit the opposite retaining wall head-on before barrel rolling to a stop and catching fire.  The Firebird Raceway Safety Crew should be credited for being on the spot within seconds, while quickly and safely extricating Hough from the altered.  Hough was transported to an area hospital, and word from his dad is that Rick should be home soon and make a full recovery. 
Terry Cox snatched the top spot in AA/FD with a 6.03 during the final qualifying session.
Ed Schwarz, far lane, drove the gorgeous Mike Sullivan AA/FA to an "A" bonus match over Dan Hix with an impressive 6.23 over Hix's shut-off 8.02.
Scott Mason qualified his "Sudden Impact"  AA/FD entry in the third spot with a great 6.07, but lost in round one to Jerry Kumre. 
Vern Mills put his nitrous Pro Mod entry in the third slot of the program with a 6.59, but lost in round one to Pat Stoken. 
Idaho State Land Speed Record holder Chuck Haynes, near lane, provided the grand finale in his "Volcano" jet dragster against fellow MT statesman Kevin Olson in the "Gravity Storm".  Haynes exceeded the 300 MPH mark, giving fans plenty to cheer about.
Jerry Kumre, near lane, and Scott Mason met in round one of AA/FD.  Kumre went up in smoke almost instantly, while Mason was on his way to a round win.  Mason's entry began sashaying wildly down the narrow groove at 300', allowing Kumre to give chase and pedal the "Foothill Flyer" to a tire-smoking win.  Unfortunately for the "Foothill Flyer" gang, parts breakage prevented their return in round two against Brett Harris.
Ricky Ruiz collected his first Nightfire Nationals title by virtue of Jeff Diehl clipping the 1,000' timing cone in a dramatic final.
Adam Sorokin qualified "Nitro John" Blanchard's entry in the eighth spot of the AA/FD field with a 6.56.  Unfortunately for Sorokin, the throttle hung following his burnout in the first round forcing him to idle down the track.
2004 Pro Mod runner-up Pat Stoken was unable to qualify for the eight-car field, but was inserted as an alternate for Doug Ballance.  Stoken took full advantage of his reprieve, scoring a first round win over Vern Mills before losing in the semis to eventual runner-up, Ross Hogenson.
Jeff Diehl recorded a personal best AA/FA time slip with his pole sitting 5.70/265.64 while thrilling fans with monster header flames on each pass.

Lee Smith dominated the 2005 Pro Mod contingent starting with an off-the-trailer 6.48 pass to claim the number one qualifying spot, which distanced himself from the rest of the field by more than a tenth of second.  Smith never relented, as he managed to negotiate the tricky track surface and claim his second Pro Modified Nightfire title.
Mike Boyd brought the house down when he charged to a new personal best time slip for Firebird Raceway, clocking a fantastic 7.26/205.29 in front of an appreciative and cheering crowd.
Aside from Mike Boyd's stellar 205 MPH blast in the "Winged Express" on Friday, another equally impressive run of the weekend has to belong to Ed Schwarz.  The Stannard and Schwarz team came into the event with less than five runs on the car, and proceeded to run a 6.23 in the "A" bonus final.  Outstanding!
Doug Ballance joined a large cast of newcomers at the Nightfire Nationals and qualified sixth in the Pro Mod show with a 6.79.  Unfortunately, Ballance was unable to make the first round call. 
The two most similar appearing AA/FDs lit up the night air during qualifying, that being Terry Cox, near lane, and Lee Jennings.  Cox claimed the top spot of the field with a 6.03, while Jennings qualified in the fifth slot with a 6.11.  Both drivers lost their respective rounds to eventual runner-up Howard Haight.
Jeff Diehl was on a mission to claim his second Nightfire Nationals title, but a run-in with the 1,000' timing cone negated his final round 6.24 against Ricky Ruiz.

M & H Photography -All text, photos, graphics, artwork and other contributed material within the Combustion Chamber  are copyrighted and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without express written consent. 
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