Nightfires Sets Firebird Ablaze: The 42nd Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals is Another Smokin’ Success

   Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

Winner of the first Nightfire race back in 1972, the Twig Zeigler Satellite gets ready to launch at the 42nd affair.

Temperatures were cookin’ this year. Afternoon heat pushed the corrected altitude to nearly 7,000 feet of oxygen-deprived, hot air as thermometers climbed into the upper 90s and track temps hovered near 140F. Fortunately, cooler, nighttime temps helped ease the sweat-factor, which paved the way for better performance figures.

More than a dozen Funny Cars vied for the eight Eliminator slots. Qualifying was led by John Hale at 5.84-241.22 In the finals, he shocked the crowd with the second quickest Funny Car run in track history at 5.77-248.20 to beat #3 qualifier Dan Horan Jr.’s 5.94-231.66.

Brett Harris led the Top Fuel field with a 5.80-247.38. He went on to score his fourth Nightfire championship on a single when #3 qualifier Jim Murphy couldn’t answer the final round bell.

Pro Mod featured a strong 11-car field fighting for eight spots. After qualifying on the pole with a 6.03-241.41, Goodguys president Marc Meadors faced off against #2 qualifier and defending champ Dan Myers for the Nightfire crown. Myers, wheeling Don Carter’s Camaro, got crossed up, giving the win to Meadors.

The race also featured an $80,000 purse for the Meridian Automotive & Machine Bracketeer Series. Nightly champions in the oldest major bracket tournament in America included: Ryan Cook, John Shaffer, Bud Preuss and Blu Hayball. The four-night Overall Points Championships were awarded to: Bracketeer-Shaffer, Pro-Dustin Martin, Heavy-Karl Martin and Craig Jensen in Sled/Bike.

Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

Texan John Hale defeated Dan Horan Jr. (far side) for the F/C championship.

Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

Winning his fourth Pepsi Nightfire title, Brett Harris drove the Steve Harwood-owned Nitro Hemi based out of Colorado to the T/F championship.

Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

Last years’s runner-up Marc Meadors dominated, running 6.03, 6.09, 6.05 and 6.03 to collect Pro Mod honors.

Pepsi Nightfire Nationals

The biggest sportsman winner of the weekend was John Shaffer from Boise, who won the four-day Bracketeer Points Series, along with the overall $5,000 winner’s title on Friday night.

Text by the New Crew, Photos by Chris Graves and New Crew

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