Kris Krabill in Gary Turner’s “Pedaler” Plymouth Arrow won the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals for the second time in a row when he defeated Bucky Austin in Steve Plueger’s “Northwest Hitter” Plymouth Arrow by over 2 tenths of a second with a 5.95 @ 241.48 to Austin’s trailing 6.16 @ 217.18 in the final round.
19 nitro burning funny cars made the trek to Firebird Raceway for the 38th running of the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals this year. The heavy hitters were in town to square off against each other in the next to the last event on the Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship Points Chase.
Garrett Bateman in Steve Plueger’s “Plueger & Gyger” Ford Mustang leads the Nitro Funny Car contingent into the Nightfire Nationals pack in the points chase with a 24 point lead over team mate Bucky Austin. Mark Sanders in the “Mr. Explosive” Chevy Nova, Kris Krabill in the “Pedaler” Plymouth Arrow, and Mendy Fry in “McCain’s Bomb Squad” Plymouth Duster round out the top 5 in points.
Some new faces made their first trip to Boise in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. Todd Lesenko made his first competition appearance in the “Jolly Roger” Pontiac Firebird, Steve Macklyn driving for Jack Harris in the “Nitro Thunder” Pontiac Firebird, Josh Crawford in the “Fuel Junky” Ford Mustang, Ed Dougan in the “Fighting Irish” Chevy Camaro, and Paul Romine in his “Man O’ War” Ford Mustang making the trek out from the midwest to test his mettle against the best in the west.
Tractiion was hard to find in the first round of eliminations for the Nitro Funny Cars. Loss of traction, on and off the pedal sideways passes seemed to be the norm as the drivers in most cases fought to find the handle on the track Saturday evening.
Garrett Bateman in the “Plueger & Gyger” Ford Mustang defeated Dennis La Charite in the “Back In Black” Pontiac GTO with a 6.096 @ 206.80 to La Charite’s off the pace 8.712 @ 103.53.
Mark Sanders in the “Mr. Explosive” Chevy Nova defeated Leah Pruett-LeDuc in the Jennings & Pruett “Heartbreaker” Ford Mustang with a 6.820 @ 176.57 to LeDuc’s 8.217 @ 114.88.
Bucky Austin in the “Northwest Hitter” Plymouth Arrow ran low elapsed time of the round with a blast of 5.947 @ 231.83 to defeat Todd Lesenko in the “Jolly Roger” Pontiac Firebird and his 9.259 @ 100.56.
Steve Macklyn got his first round win in competition in the “Nitro Thunder” Pontiac Firebird when he defeated Mike Savage in the “Candies & Hughes” Plymouth Barracuda with an on and off the throttle 8.194 @ 120.01 to Savage’s very sideways 9.495 @ 79.99.
Kris Krabill in the “Pedaler” Plymouth Arrow defeated Josh Crawford in the “Fuel Junky” Ford Mustang with a very nice 6.051 @ 234.43 to Crawford’s 11.405 @ 72.49.
Twig Zeigler in the “Pizza Haven” Mini Satellite defeated John Powers in the “Powers Steel” Chevrolet Camaro with a 7.953 @ 131.40 after Powers crossed the center line.
Mendy Fry in “McCain’s Bomb Squad” Plymouth Duster defeated Nate Bugg in the “Lil Nate” Plymouth Barracuda with a 6.831 @ 186.37 to Bugg’s 6.982 @ 199.42.
Paul Romine in the “Man O’ War” Ford Mustang defeated Ed Dougan in the “Fighting Irish” Chevrolet Camaro with a 6.395 @ 201.34 to Dougan’s 7.830 @ 116.88 to finish up the first round activities Saturday evening.
The second round of eliminations kicked off Sunday afternoon with #1 qualifier Garrett Bateman in the “Plueger & Gyger” Ford Mustang defeating Mark Sanders in a holeshot victory in the “Mr. Explosive” Chevrolet Nova with a 6.149 @ 222.66 to Sanders quicker 6.138 @ 232.85.
Bucky Austin in the “Northwest Hitter” Plymouth Arrow dispatched Steve Macklyn in the “Nitro Thunder” Pontiac Firebird with another 5 second blast at 5.964 @ 231.36 to Macklyn’s 6.439 @ 233.22.
Kris Krabill in the “Pedaler” Plymouth Arrow easily defeated Northwest favorite Twig Zeigler in the “Pizza Haven” Mini Satellite with a 6.016 @ 239.61 to Zeigler’s 6.601 @ 215.66.
Paul Romine in the “Man O’ War” Ford Mustang defeated Mendy Fry in “McCain’s Bomb Squad” with a 6.093 @ 232.13 to the very game 6.126 @ 234.80 of Fry.
In the Semi Final round Bucky Austin in the “Northwest Hitter” defeated team mate Garrett Bateman in the “Plueger & Gyger” Ford Mustang with a 6.016 @ 230.06 to Bateman’s 6.135 @ 227.10.
Kris Krabill in the “Pedaler” Plymouth Arrow defeated Paul Romine in the “Man O’ War” Ford Mustang with a 5.960 @ 241.54 to Romine’s 7.785 @ 123.22 to set up the all Plymouth Arrow final against Bucky Austin.
The 38th running of the Pepsi Nightfire Nationals was once again a must see event with the best Nitro Funny Cars in the country squaring off for the top honors. The weather was gorgeous and the car count was phenomenal considering the economic woes facing many racers this year. The Nitro Funny Car Association stepped up and finally hired a true technical inspector to tech all cars at this event which is a welcome and needed addition. Be sure to check out our Sunday photo gallery at the link below. Photographers Darrell Conrad, Pam Schavrien, and Don Atkinson give you a unique view into Nitro Funny Car racing through their photography. The New Family once again put together a great event for the racers and the fans…