boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Boise Nightfire Nationals, Nitro Fire and Fanatics

Nothing beats a drag race for velocity believers especially if nitromethane is part of the plan as it was at the 46th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway outside Boise, Idaho. With its combination of everything from nitro-burning fuelers and supercharged door slammers to legions of sportsman racers and fire-breathing jet cars, the Nightfire Nationals is the race of the year in the Gem State or anywhere else. The storied event included four explosive days of drag racing action that saw nitro-huffing fuel cars blasting down the full quarter mile to a capacity crowd under the lights.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Firebird Raceway celebrated its 50th year with the largest field of professional cars ever at the mid-summer drag race that brings an NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series points battle together with multiple class Sportsman competition for non-stop heads-up and bracket racing action day and night. Eighteen nitro Funny Cars joined ten awful fuel altereds and seven front-engine Top Fuel dragsters for over 150,000 horsepower of nitro thunder echoing out from the Treasure Valley. Pro Mods added super and turbocharged nitrous-venting mayhem into the mix with four fire-breathing jet cars and a wheel stander closing out each evening.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

More nitro is better nitro and to that end the ever-growing newstalgia AA/Funny Car field saw some new entries make their debut at Firebird Raceway including the Bartone & Lebor metal flake painted 1969 Camaro and a 1970 Camaro with our name on it. With that many nitro floppers jockeying for a qualifying position into an 8-car field the state famous for potatoes set up a battle within a battle dubbed the Tater Baker. Funny Car qualifiers that slotted into positions 9-12 were pitted against each other for all the fries or hash browns because spuds just taste better cooked over nitro-fueled header flames.

Fuel Curve Funny Car Debut

Here is another view of our 2nd Qualifying Session run against Matt Bynum in Cecil Mathews' Camaro courtesy of the ultra-talented Les Mayhew who is better known to most as "Nitro America". We ran 5.866 @ 231+ MPH to their 5.894 @ 246+ MPH and both cars made the highly competitive 8-car show for this years Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway, who are celebrating 50 Years of promoting, contesting and executing some of the best drag racing events in the country. A major tip of our cap to the entire New family for truly being some of the best in the business and we thank them for all they do. Sit back, crank up the volume, click the HD button and enjoy some nitro-induced excitement with header flames courtesy of our Fuel Curve '70 Camaro! #goodguysracing #fuelcurve #sendit

Posted by Goodguys Racing on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We had an obvious rooting interest in the 46th running of the Nightfire Nationals as it was the coming out party for the new Fuel Curve 1970 Camaro. Driver and team owner Marc Meadors and crew busted tail to get the car tested and wrapped up in its new Fuel Curve livery. They made it out to Boise with time to spare for a leisurely Thursday night pit set up. After opening with a 5.98 ET at 237 MPH in an explosive round of Friday afternoon qualifying the team swapped in a fresh engine for an improved 5.86 ET at 231 MPH run in Session 2 on Friday night with the added bonus of huge header flames blasting up out of the zoomies for the fans.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve


Intense Funny Car competition saw the main eight-car field and four-car Tater Baker flip tops toss it up at Firebird Raceway like it was 1975 all over again. Marc Meaders number seven qualifying slot matched him up against Ryan Hodgson in Round One Eliminations Saturday under the lights. Marc cut a winning light and ran a 5.84 ET at 241 MPH but it wasn’t enough against Hodgson who ran a thundering 5.77 ET at 251 MPH for the win. Infused with newfound confidence the Fuel Curve team is looking forward to lighting up the night sky with more header flames at the next race. When the eliminator field was whittled down to the two finalists it was Hodgson against Ignitor winner Jason Rupert. Rupert proved yet again he was the car to beat with a semifinal time of 5.62, 259.01.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Hectic Pro Mod action was a battle of power approaches out on the 1320. Turbocharged terrors fought supercharged screamers and aspirated nitrous huffers proving that there is, in fact, a replacement for displacement. Drivers had their hands full as the cars danced down the track with power adders working oft-unpredictable voodoo on massive rear tires on the way to the stripe. Bret Williamson drove a supercharged Corvette Pro Mod to low ET and number one qualifying spot then strapped into the Mike Fuller Forever Young dragster and number four AA/Fuel qualifying slot.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

The Top Fuel front-engine dragster field was left one down by a Tony Bartone no-show. Mendy Fry set low ET with a 5.69-second blast and ran a bye in Round One Eliminations under the lights that saw Adam Sorokin deep-stage Bret Williamson back into his Pro Mod. Jim Murphy launched the Hemi-powered WW2 to a 5.75 ET at 252 MPH win after Phil Ruskowski red lit his small block Chevrolet-powered Mighty Mouse. Dusty Green ran his Nitro Hemi flames on to a 5.92 ET at 240 MPH over Tyler Hilton who gave chase in his big block Chevrolet powered Great Expectations III dragster with a 6.32 ET at 219 MPH.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Hemi vs. Chevy dragster matchups ran into Sunday’s Semi-Finals that saw Sorokin and Chevy prevail over Mendy Fry who red lit the High-Speed Motorsports Hemi. Jim Murphy beat a hard-charging Green by just one-tenth of a second and set the stage for a Hemi vs. Chevy matchup in the Final Round. AA/Fuel Altereds met the dragsters head on with their own infamous brand of unruly open wheel nitro-burning madness. Jeremy Sullivan pulled up the wheels of his freshly finished ’23 Ford T AA/Fuel Altered nearly over the top in qualifying and Bryan Hall lit up the flames from The Tramp ’32 Bantam in Eliminations. Hall was fastest of the bunch in elims with a 6.01, 235.27.

Sportsman racing was in full effect with an array of Nightfire Nationals classes featuring everything from dragsters to motorcycles and sled bike snowmobiles! Steady hot lapping of the giant field meant there was non-stop drag racing action morning to night. Thanks to full pit access any break in the action meant it was a good time to go try some famous Idaho finger steaks with fry sauce. Daily autograph sessions saw fans of all ages line up and get their posters, programs or arms signed by the drivers of the cars they just watched rocket down the track for a lasting memory of the largest motorsports event in Idaho.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Racing action came to an anticlimactic end ahead of Final Round matchups as a few raindrops fell on crews as they thrashed to get engines back into shape after the Sunday Semi-Final Eliminations. Hope was held out for a clearing and the staging lanes were optimistically filled but drops turned to steady rain. A saturated race track along with falling temperatures caused the Firebird Raceway brain trust to call Sportsman racing where it stood and push any unsettled Pro Final Rounds out to the upcoming California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, California proving that rain never stops a great drag race.

boise nightfire nationals, fuel curve

Head on over to Firebird Raceway for full results from the 46th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals and more information on upcoming events.

Currently based in New England, Mike Bumbeck is a journalist and 40-plus year driver and caretaker of everything from vintage econoboxes and turbocharged coupes to classic sports utility vehicles and motorcycles. He honed his skills writing about hot cars and punk rock in a pre-tech boom Bay Area before migrating back east as gigs with publishing empires and other pit stops fueled the past decade. An outside-the-box car guy, Bumbeck launched Clunkbucket in 2009 as a “place for the unsung heroes of the automotive universe.”

Share With: