MENDY FRY COLLECTS SECOND NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP

Mendy Fry is the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Champion. Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 254 MPH in the High Speed Motorsports hemi against Adam Sorokin, who turned a 6.08 ET at 204 MPH in the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet for Runner-Up. The weekend saw Fry break the Firebird Raceway track record with a 5.62 ET for Number One Qualifier and then break it again with a 5.59 ET in a Semi-Final bye run. The final round win light marked back to back 2018 and 2019 Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Championships for Mendy Fry and the High Speed Motorsports team at Boise. “I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is,” said Fry. “Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.”

I cannot begin to process how amazing my team is. Tom Shelar owned it this weekend. He knew exactly what this car needed every run, and my team carried out the directions flawlessly.

Mendy Fry

QUALIFYING ROUNDUP

Mendy Fry pushed the High Speed Motorsports hemi-powered dragster quicker through all three qualifying sessions and grabbed the number one slot with a 5.62-second Last Session run that set a new track record. Jim Murphy ran 249 MPH in the first Friday session for Top Speed but ran off the top end of the track in the second session. Jim said he didn’t get the chutes out and the WW2 blasted into the wheat field then went into a slow roll before coming to a stop. Jim emerged A-OK, but the run was disqualified. A herculean team effort got the WW2 repaired and into Eliminations on Saturday night. When the Idaho dust settled, final qualifying order was set for the 6-car Eliminations. 

Mendy Fry 5.62
Adam Sorokin 5.88
Jim Murphy 5.90
Tyler Hilton 6.60
Brett Williamson 7.09
Phil Ruskowski 7.43

RECORD-BREAKING RUN VIDEO

Mendy Fry breaks the Firebird Raceway Top Fuel record with a 5.62-second run at the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

TOP FUEL ELIMINATOR

Eliminations got underway on Saturday night under the lights. Adam Sorokin launched the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet out of the gate for a 6.11 ET at 209 MPH win over Bret Williamson’s 6.55 ET at 159 MPH in the Forever Young. Mendy Fry won with a 5.62 ET at 229 MPH to Phil Ruskowski’s 7.55 ET in his small block Chevrolet Xibitionist dragster.

Jim Murphy drove the WW2 to a 6.18 ET at 201 MPH win over Tyler Hilton’s 6.42 ET at 233 MPH in the Great Expectations III. Mendy Fry backed up her #1 Qualifier 5.62-second track record run with another 5.62 ET in the High Speed Motorsports hemi and moved onto the Final with an automatic Semi-Final Bye win. The Sorokin vs. Murphy Semi-Final winner would race Fry in the Top Fuel Final.

SEMI FINAL AND BONUS RUN

Sorokin pushed the Champion Speed Shop small block Chevrolet into the Final with a 6.06 ET for the win as Jim Murphy struck the tires in the WW2 hemi. Mendy Fry broke her own track record with a 5.59 227 MPH blast in a promotor’s option bonus pair-up with Tyler Hilton in the Great Expectations III. Fry’s record-breaking run in the High Speed Motorsports dragster was technically a bye as she automatically advanced to the Final. Tyler Hilton idled down the track after the fearsome blown-on-nitro big block Chevrolet overpowered the tires.

SPOKANE OR BUST!

Next stop for the All American Fuel Dragsters is the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway this weekend Friday the 16th through Sunday the 17th.

48TH PEPSI NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA

PHOTOS BY SANDRA ALBERTI

AMERICAN NORTHWEST TOP FUEL TOUR

The All American Fuel Dragsters are geared up for a front-engine Top Fuel Double Feature in the Northwestern United States. Two races in two weeks add up to double trouble for the teams fighting their way toward a Top Fuel Points Title in the NHRA Heritage Series. The action starts this weekend at the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho and fires up again next weekend for the Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway.

Beginning at Boise, reigning Nightfire Nationals Champion and current points leader Mendy Fry and the “High Speed Motorsports” team will battle fellow California fuelers Adam Sorokin in the “Champion Speed Shop” machine, Jim Murphy in the “WW2” entry, and Bret Williamson in the Mike Fuller Motorsports “Forever Young.” Tyler Hilton has headed in from Ohio to drive the big-block Chevrolet “Great Expectations III” dragster and Canada’s own Phil Ruskowski and his Island Nitro Gang are bringing their small-block Chevrolet “Xibitionist.” SoCal racer Pete Wittenberg is set to join the tour at Spokane in the “KMA Circuit Breaker.”

BOISE OR BUST

The Nightfire Nationals is the signature event of the season at Firebird Raceway and 3rd Nostalgia Top Fuel class battle in the 6-race 2019 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship. The event kicks off on Thursday with two Top Fuel Qualifying sessions on Friday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM and one on Saturday at 2 PM. Eliminations begin Saturday at 8 PM with plenty of header flames under the lights from Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, and Fuel Altereds. Finals start on Sunday at 3 PM. Check out Firebird Raceway for more information and tickets to the 48th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals.

RACE FOUR SPOKANE

The Nitro Summer Nationals at Spokane County Raceway is a new NHRA Heritage Series race. The 4th race for the season championship starts on Friday the 16th with all classes qualifying at 4 PM. Qualifying picks up again on Saturday at 11 AM, and Eliminations for all classes begin at 5 PM with Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Jets blazing into the night. Eliminations continue on Sunday until the last pair fights it out. The event features a cultural connection to American drag racing history with exhibition runs by Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster in the “Dragula” front-engine coffin dragster from “The Munsters” 1960s TV show.

TOP FUEL AMERICA TOUR

Next stop for the All-American Fuel Dragsters after the American Northwest Top Fuel tour is the Nostalgia Nitro Nationals at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma September 20th-21st. Stay tuned to the AAFD here or on out Facebook Page for news as we get it.

MENDY FRY WINS TOP FUEL AT NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS

47-nightfire-nationals-10Driving through violent tire-shake, Mendy Fry took the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel victory, Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.66 ET at 254 MPH blast in her “High Speed Motorsports” AA/Fuel dragster at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho. “It was pretty bad — I didn’t think I was going to make it. The team gave me a great car, and I didn’t screw up,” said Mendy.

Runner-up Dusty Green pushed Steve Harwood’s “Nitro-Hemi” to a 6.04 ET at 198 MPH in the final after his holeshot-assisted 2nd-round battle with Pete Wittenberg was settled by few thousandths of a second margin of victory. “It was a great weekend for the Nitro-Hemi team. We had a good run against Pete and just didn’t have enough for the High Speed Motorsports team”, said Dusty.

As examples of the class’s camaraderie, Bowling Green runner-up Jim Young texted tuning advice to semi-finalists Wittenberg and vanquished foes from the “KMA Circuit Breaker” and Brendan Murry’s “Running Wild” teams gathered to help Dusty Green and the Nitro-Hemi crew prepare for the final round. “That is what this sport is about. Awesome people. I can’t thank them enough”, said Dusty.

QUALIFYING ACTION

Session One Qualifying kicked off Friday afternoon with nine AA/Fuel dragsters battling for nitro supremacy in 100-plus degree temperatures. Mendy Fry struck the tires on the 150-degree track Friday but motored to the top of the ladder Saturday afternoon with a 5.68 ET. Adam Sorokin landed the number two slot with a 5.85 ET in the Chevy-powered “Champion Speed Shop” entry. Dusty Green pushed the Nitro-Hemi to number three with a 5.97 ET at 243 MPH. Tyler Hilton stepped up with his family’s “Great Expectations III” to the number four position with a 6.07 ET, landing ahead of number five Bret Williamson’s and the “Forever Young” fueler’s 6.09 ET. Brendan Murry drove the Running Wild to number six with a 6.18 ET and Pete Wittenberg came back after breaking a drive belt in Session One to qualified seventh with a 6.22. Jim Murphy landed the “WW2” fueler in the number eight slot with a 6.58 and Canadian Phil Ruskowski was 1st Alternate following a herculean effort to get to the Nightfire Nationals after an engine explosion at a previous race.

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TOP FUEL ELIMINATIONS UNDER THE LIGHTS

The Nightfire Nationals is famous for header flames under the lights and Saturday night’s Round One Eliminations saw Mendy Fry run a 5.67 ET at 253 MPH for the win over Jim Murphy’s 6.48 ET at 158 MPH. Pete Wittenberg turned on the KMA Circuit Breaker for a 5.73 ET at 253 MPH win on Adam Sorokin, who pushed the small block Chevrolet to 5.90 ET at 244 MPH. Dusty Green extracted a 5.98 ET at 248 MPH from the Nitro-Hemi ahead of Brendan Murry, who ran an 8.62 ET in the Running Wild. Tyler Hilton blasted the Great Expectations III to a 6.03 ET at 243 MPH over Brett Williamson’s 6.11 ET at 221 MPH, setting the stage for the Semi-Final battle on Sunday.

SEMI-FINAL MAYHEM

Semi-Final Top Fuel competition was tight and fierce. Pete Wittenberg ran a 5.71 ET at 252 MPH with a .145 reaction time and yet didn’t catch Dusty Green’s 5.80 ET at 241 MPH with an .054 reaction time. The margin of victory? 6/1000ths of a second and a few inches Inches at the stripe. Mendy Fry posted a 5.69 ET at 231 MPH to beat Tyler Hilton’s 5.88 ET at 249 MPH — the quickest and fastest run ever for the Great Expectations III big-block Chevrolet-powered AA/Fuel dragster. Tyler, his dad Robert, grandmother Alison Lee and crew divined the formula for success with a blend of timing and clutch fine-tuning and ran the weekend with minimal engine carnage.

TOP FUEL DECIDER

The combined forces united at the Nitro-Hemi pit thrashed through an engine teardown for a shot at victory in a Hemi vs. Hemi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel decider. At the green light, Dusty Green got out of the gate with .112 reaction time, but in the end it wasn’t enough against Mendy Fry who kept her foot down and muscled through tire shake for the win.

After striking the tires in Session One qualifying, Mendy Fry drove the High Speed Motorsports AA/Fuel dragster with remarkable consistency through qualifying and eliminations with 5.66, 5.67, 5.69 and 5.66 runs for event Low ET and 254 MPH Top Speed.

Mendy Fry’s victory at the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway earned her the number one position in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship points battle heading into the fourth race of the five-race 2018 season at the Nitro Nationals at Tulsa Raceway Park September 21st and 22nd.

All photos Arlene Eliason and AAFD. 

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47th PEPSI NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS TOP FUEL PHOTO EXTRA!

TOP FUEL HERITAGE CONTINUES AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY

boise-rollcall-1Nine 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

POINTS STANDINGS:
NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel Championship points standings ahead of the 47th Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

1 Mendy Fry 216
2 Brendan Murry 126
3 Pete Wittenberg 116
4 Adam Sorokin 107
5 Jim Young 97
6 Tim Cullinan 84
7 Bret Williamson 77
8 Jim Murphy 75
9 Dusty Green 65
10 Rick White 54
11 Jason Greenwood 52
11 Dan Horan 52
13 Julius Hughes 51
14 Rick McGee 10
14 Phil Ruskowski 10
14 Dave Miller 10
14 Paul Schultz 10
14 Tyler Hilton 10

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.

TOP FUEL FINAL RAINED OUT IN GEM STATE

adam-sorokin-nightfireMurphy vs. Sorokin Battle Rescheduled for California Hot Rod Reunion.

An action-packed weekend of nitro-burning mayhem was unexpectedly cut short when rain at Firebird Raceway upended the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals ahead of the AA/FD Final Round, leaving semi-final victors Jim Murphy and Adam Sorokin in nitro limbo. Murphy and Sorokin will strap into their front-engine dragsters and settle their contest of wills at the California Hot Rod Reunion and last race of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California on October 20-22.

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EXPLOSIVE QUALIFYING ACTION

The long race weekend celebrating Firebird Raceway’s 50th year began with some unanticipated AA/FD news as a surprisingly missing-in-action Tony Bartone left an odd number of Top Fuel drivers battling for front-engine nitro supremacy in Boise. Pre-race rumors left some wondering if Bartone was setting up a fake out, but only seven AA/Fuelers made the call for Friday’s Qualifying, confirming the absence of the 3-time Nightfire Nationals winner and reigning Top Fuel Champion. Still, four Chrysler Hemis and three Chevrolets entered Boise, with drivers ready to prove which combination would prevail.

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Near 100-degree daytime heat saw teams take different tuning approaches. Mendy Fry launched the Hemi-powered High Speed Motorsports dragster to a 5.78 ET in Session One. Later in the evening session, she clicked off early for event Low ET and number one qualifying spot with a 5.69 at 219 MPH. Concurrently, Jim Murphy drove the Roland Leong-tuned WW2 dragster out the back door oiled in and on fire into the number two slot. Fry witnessed the fiery drama unfold in front of her as Murphy passed lit up and smoking. Fortunately, both drivers emerged unscathed. Dusty Green gave the Nitro Hemi all it had in every round of qualifying for a number three position.

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Bret Williamson not only drove the Mike Fuller Forever Young dragster to a number four AA/Fuel qualifying slot but also made number one qualifier and low ET behind the wheel of a fearsome Corvette Pro Mod. Adam Sorokin stepped up from a Session One mechanical mix up with a 6.01 ET at 214 MPH and number five qualifying spot in the Champion Speed Shop Chevy-powered canopy entry. Tyler Hilton ran the Great Expectations III through qualifying with some gear changes for a number six position, and Phil Ruskowski ran the small block Chevrolet powered Mighty Mouse into the number seven spot ahead of Saturday night Round One Eliminations under the lights.

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TOP FUEL UNDER THE LIGHTS

With Low ET Mendy Fry ran a bye in Round One Eliminations. The High Speed Motorsports car got up on the tire and danced at half-track, but Mendy kept the rubber in the groove in the face of headwinds. Adam Sorokin deep staged the Champion Speed Shop dragster and took the win with a 5.89 ET at 217 MPH over Bret Williamson’s 6.17 ET at 199 MPH. 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 dragster to a 7.42 ET at 171 MPH. 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.

aafd-nightfire-nationals-19

The Chrysler vs. Chevrolet matchup continued as Sunday Semi-Final Top Fuel action saw Adam Sorokin and the small block Chevrolet prevail with a 5.92 ET at 192 MPH over Mendy Fry who red lit the High Speed Motorsports dragster and fouled out. Jim Murphy ran the WW2 to a 5.80 ET at 235 MPH over a hole shot and hard charging Dusty Green who gave the Nitro Hemi everything it had with a close 5.95 ET at 243 MPH, finishing just one tenth of a second behind Murphy. The Final Round stage was set for an epic Hemi vs. Chevy battle as crews thrashed through engine teardowns for a chance at victory.

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The battle and win would have to wait. Drops of late afternoon rain for the first time in months gave way to downpour into the night. Hope was held out for a few hours, but after measured deliberation, the decision was made to postpone the race. Falling temperatures in concert with a soaked track and more rain forecast through morning put an anticlimactic end to four days of superior drag racing action. Murphy and Sorokin will settle their Nightfire Nationals Chizler vs. Chevy score at the California Hot Rod Reunion following the 4th session in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Top Fuel Championship at the Nitro Nationals September 22-23 at Tulsa Raceway Park.

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Nightfire Nationals results at Firebird Raceway
GIANT NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS PHOTO EXTRA