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Murphy Still Looking for Better Performance




Boise, Idaho - August 11-13, 2006: The 35th Nightfire Nationals was a race that will be remembered for years to come. For all the fans in attendance, it was without doubt the single most impressive event in the track's thirty-nine year history. Nearly perfect weather greeted a record field of racers and jam-packed grandstands to four incredible days of racing. Daily highs saw unusually low temperatures in the 80's and because of it performances across the board were stunning.

From qualifying right through eliminations, the Top Fuel Dragsters were flying and were by far the fan favorites. Fifteen of the best fuel cars in the world towed to Boise for the 8 car show. Who would've ever guessed a 6.01 bump at a track with a mien of 5,500 plus feet of corrected altitude. 5.80's and several cars over 250 MPH - AT BOISE! Just incredible.

Jim Murphy came to Boise with high hopes and left scratching his head. He and his WW2 Racing team were relatively confident that the car was returning to its previous winning form and after a 6.09 on his first pass, Murphy felt the car had a lot more left in it... and it did. Their ET improved on each qualifying pass ending up in the # 4 spot with a 5.971 at 238.66.

In spite of qualifying in the top half of the quickest and fastest field in Firebird Raceway history Jim and Crew Chief Tim Beebe felt they were still leaving a lot on the table. So prior to the first round of eliminations Beebe "changed every part he could" to find the missing link. This proved not to be the answer as the car slowed down (especially on the bottom end) and lost to Sean Bellemeur with a 6.11 at 244 while the winner carded a strong 5.92 at 253.

WW2 Racing's next outing will be the Governors Cup at Sacramento September 15 -16. Murphy is hoping to get a total handle on the car before the prestigious California Hot Rod Reunion in October.


Photos and full story below.



Murphy got to put his new Toterhome through its paces during the 13 hour trip to Boise. By all accounts he and wife Judy feel this is one of the better investments they've made for the racing program.


Since the first qualifying session wasn't scheduled until 8:00 p.m. Friday was pretty laid back. Murphy and the crew moved at a leisurely pace and had a lot of time to visit other camps.





Fun and games behind him, at 8:30 Murphy heats the tires for his first qualifying attempt.



Getting a Boise baseline Murphy clicked it early to a 6.097 at just 219.83



Saturday was a little more pressing than Friday as there was two qualifying sessions - the first at 3:00 p.m. The car was ready to go from the night before but there's always tinkering to do.




At 3:30 Saturday afternoon, the second session was held under the hottest conditions the cars would see all weekend. In spite of the low 90's temps, the track remained in excellent condition.



In spite of the heat the car left hard and went on to card a 6.027 at 238.66.



At 5:00 p.m. on Saturday all the Top Fuel drivers gathered for an autograph session held in the middle of the main pits. You would have had to see this to believe it. There was a constant LONG line of fans that never seemed to end. They were truly excited about meeting all the guys (and Mendy) and had them sign just about anything you can imagine. Lucky most of the teams had handouts (which several ran out of) which the fans really loved. And speaking of the Boise fans - they are second to NONE! Across the board the racers constantly commented on how friendly and enthusiastic everyone was. Racers at the event for their first time all vowed to come back and the fans were are big part of their reasoning.








The third and last session kicked off at 8:20 p.m. With all the cars in the staging lanes Jim Murphy gets into the cockpit.





By the time it was for Murphy to do his burnout the air temp was a nice 80 degrees.


After the burnout Murphy moves up toward the staging beams.



The car left hard spewing a lot of clutch dust.




Once again Murphy improved his ET with a 5.971 at 233.88 which landed him in the #4 qualifying position.



Final Top Fuel Qualifying

1. Brad Thompson -  5.883 @ 245.70
2. Mendy Fry  -  5.931 @ 235.66
3. Brett Harris  -  5.971 @ 244.23
4. Jim Murphy  -  5.971 @ 233.88
5. Sean Bellemeur  - 5.985 @ 247.52
6. Rick White  -  5.996 @ 241.09
7. Howard Haight  -  5.998 @ 250.83
8. Rick McGee  -  6.017 @ 237.90


Jason Richey  -  6.021 @ 251.11
Scott Mason  -  6.037 @ 237.27
Bill Dunlap  -  6.057 @ 246.71
Mark Malde  -  6.079 @ 230.71
Adam Sorokin  -  6.118 @ 241.80
Brendan Murry  -  6.212 @ 233.16
John Shoemaker  -  6.517 @ 218.28


This was the quickest and fastest field in the history of Firebird Raceway. Considering the quickest run made during the entire 2005 event was 6.02, the 6.017 bump spot left everybody stunned.



At 5:00 on Sunday the Top Fuel cars started filling the staging lanes for the first round of eliminations.



Murphy puts on his firesuit and gets strapped into the car.



Murphy's first round opponent was the whiz-kid, Sean Bellemeur in the High Speed Motorsports fueler.


Beebe makes his last minute adjustments before sending Murphy to the line.



Unfortunately for Murphy the car didn't react as they had planned and an unusually slow 60 foot time pretty much sealed his fate. Bellemeur never looked back running a very impressive 5.934 at 253.59. Murphy gave chase but his 6.119 at 244.49 wasn't enough.




Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams


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