45th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals, August 12-14, 2016, Firebird Raceway, Boise, ID. — There will be no time to put down your weapons as the second half of NHRA Heritage Series drag racing commences this weekend at Firebird Raceway in Idaho, and for the nitro-belching AA/Fuel Dragsters their Top Fuel Points Title is a multi-level firefight between four of the fiercest teams and machines to ever stare down a quarter-mile barrel.
Like gangsters in a Hong Kong crime movie, points leaders Adam Sorokin, Jim Murphy, Rick Williamson, and Tony Bartone all have their sights aimed at each other, well aware that the last man standing will most likely leave Boise as the 2016 season title favorite.
Bartone, who is 4th in points and needs to win here if he is to repeat as Series Champion, said he is keying up for the big Boise race this way: “(I am) shooting guns in Wyoming,” the New York-based racer said, then joked about the race itself: “I am not sure I can make it!” When asked about his quarry, he replied: “Prairie dogs.”
Conversely, California boy Adam Sorokin has no time for target practice. “It’s business as usual for ‘Champion Speed Shop,’” the current points leader said. “We are going for the win. We figure if we can pull down wins at the last two races (Boise and Bakersfield), the championship takes care of itself.”
When asked about any proverbial prairie dogs, Sorokin scoffed. “There aren’t any ‘easy’ rounds from here on out,” he said. “We won’t be taking anybody lightly.”
Likewise, Jim Murphy, currently 2nd in the points battle, has his “WW2” entry fit to fight.
“We had struggled so much the last two years — hurting the motor, having rear main problems and it seemed to be just one thing after another,” Murphy reflected. “Now the motor is definitely getting happier — so that means I am happier.”
2016 March Meet winner Rick Williamson, who is 3rd in points, drives the “Team Craig” rail out of Stockton, California and is more of the strong, silent type. He will be joined at the Firebird fueler fracas by his brother, Bret Williamson, shoe of the “Forever Young” dragster. Also accompanying the hunt are Dusty Green in Steve Harwood’s Utah-based “Nitro-Hemi,’ and third generation drag racer Tyler Hilton, in the Jim & Allison Lee-inspired “Great Expectations III” digger out of Virginia.
This is one fierce field, and with a weekend forecast of temperatures in the 90s, these racers will have no issues keeping their powder dry. It will all come down to aim and execution.-30—
45th Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals AA/FD Event Schedule
Friday – Sunday, August 12-14, 2016
Firebird Raceway, Eagle, Ky.
Friday, August 12
Top Fuel & Funny Car Qualifying Session 1: 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 13
Top Fuel & Funny Car Qualifying Session 2: 2 pm
Funny Car Runs & Top Fuel Qualifying Final Session: 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 14
Top Fuel & Funny Car Eliminations: 2 p.m.