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MURPHY WINS 37th NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS
Sets new Track ET Record at 5.76

 

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August 08-10 - Boise, ID - It was a weekend of sunny days, huge crowds, record runs, upsets and heart stopping drama as the 37th edition of the Boise Nightfire Nationals concluded Sunday night under the dark skies of Idaho with Jim Murphy and the WW2 Racing team in the winners circle. After winning their last outing, and setting a Sacramento track ET record, the win here came as no shock to anyone. Murphy and team came here full of confidence and it was not misplaced.

After qualifying #1 with a track record 5.779, Murphy reeled off two more 5.7 runs in eliminations to earn a spot in the final against the second quickest car of the weekend, Brad Thompson.

Murphy had to replace an engine before the final that was contested at 10:15 p.m. Thompson was slightly ahead until the 1000' mark when his car got loose and impacted the right side guard wall. The impact caused the car to veer sharply across both lanes and crash into the left wall as well. Murphy was by Thompson when he came across behind him and was not involved. After Thompson was extracted he was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Murphy's win vaulted him into into third place in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Top Fuel Points, just 3 points behind Troy Green and 2 rounds behind Thompson. What does all this mean with one race left?

It means that the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield on October 10-12 will be a vicious three way dog fight for the 2008 Top Fuel championship. Should Brad Thompson be unable to compete the whole deal will boil down to which driver, Murphy or Green, goes one round further than the other. High drama for sure.

 

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This annual event at Boise is different than most in that the majority of the featured action happens in the evening into the night. With the first qualifying session not scheduled until 7 PM, the teams have the luxury of doing things in the morning (like having a real breakfast or playing a round of golf) and getting to the track at a decent hour with little or no pressure.

 

 

 

 

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Top Fuel Qualifying - Session One

8:11 p.m. A late start for the festivities but the day time was taken up with a bracket race that paid some serious change to win. The Pepsi NightFire Nationals are a lot more than Top Fuel and Funny car. There are bracket races all four days of the event and today they staff of the raceway had to play catch up as the final three rounds got 'winded out' Thursday evening.

Weather conditions: air temperature 94 degrees, relative humidity 26 percent, barometer 29.75 inches.

 

Last minute adjustments in the staging lane as Murphy got belted in.

 

With the left lane now void of any sunlight, pair three of the first session was Jim Murphy in his WW2 Racing entry and Utah based Scott Mason in the Mason Bros.

 

 

David Thornhill guided Murphy back from his burnout to the direction of crew chief, Tim Beebe.

 

 

 

Murphy was stout on the bottom and zipped to a 1100 foot 5.905 at just 209.01. Mason was nipping some pistons and shut off early to a 6.797 at 151.48.

 

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Saturday morning found the crew getting ready for the first of two qualifying sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday - Qualifying Session Two

2:40 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 86 degrees, relative humidity 18 percent, barometer 29.80 inches, adjusted altitude 5,400 feet.

 

Michael Beebe lined Murphy up for his burnout. Murphy had the track all to himself as some of the cars chose to sit out this optional session (1 & 3 were mandatory).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The car left hard racking up another impressive 60' time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murphy just missed going around Sorokin for the #1 spot with a stout 5.856 at 237.65. But he was able to claim low ET for the round under about the same condition they'd see on Sunday in round one.

 

 

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Saturday - Qualifying Session Three

8:15 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 90 degrees, relative humidity 18 percent, barometer 29.95 inches, adjusted altitude 5,600 feet.

 

For the final session Murphy was paired with Adam Sorokin.

 

 

With two runs under his belt, Murphy and crew chief Tim Beebe "went for it" in session three. The car left like a rocket and never missed a beat going #1 with a really stout 5.779 at 242.45 - the second quickest pass in track history.

Sorokin's car took a set and ran close enough to the wall to kick up dust from 330ft to around 600ft. Another busy driver who wisely gave up with a 9.435 at 77.65 remaining #2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Final Order of Qualifying

1  Jim Murphy 5.779 242.45
2 Adam Sorokin 5.840 233.16
3 Brett Harris 5.901 252.88
4 Rick White 5.903 234.13
5 Brad Thompson 5.922 234.61
6 Troy Green 5.999 227.38
7 Jason Richey 6.201 248.82
8 Scott Mason 6.225 210.28
9 Mark Malde 6.355 179.92
10 Terry Cox 6.524 227.38
11 Mike Cross 6.985 171.26
12 Jerry Kumre Jr 7.532 132.08

 

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Sitting #1, the crew got the car ready for Sunday.

 

 

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Sunday morning found Tim, Jim and the crew feeling pretty confident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Eliminations Round One

2:20 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 80 degrees, relative humidity 17 percent, barometer 29.95 inches, adjusted altitude 5,100 feet.

 

The next to last pair of round one pitted #1 qualifier Jim Murphy against #12 Jerry Kumre Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kumre blazed the tires early in the run but Murphy's Beebe tuned ride was right there. Murphy's numbers: 1.046, 2.648, 3.882 at 202.79, 4.914 to card a final 5.788 at 255.53.

 

 

 

 

 

Murphy's time was by far the quickest pass of the session and served notice that this was THE car to beat.

 

 

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After servicing the engine, it was warmed up prior to round two.

 

 

 

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Sunday Eliminations Round Two

 

Waiting for the signal to fire up.

 

 

The final pair of round two pitted the two quickest cars up to this point - Jim Murphy and Troy Green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green did his job on the lights but a 5.887 at 245.36 was no match for a 5.768 at 258.39 (track speed record). Murphy would move into the semi finals.

 

 

 

 

 

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Following the huge win over Green, the engine needed some serious attention including piston and sleeve replacements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Murphy may have dodged a bullet here as the crew found some engine problems too late to fix between rounds. Opting to err on the side of caution, they decided to meet the minimal rule, fire and stage, to get back to the pits for an engine swap for the final.

 

 

 

Their decision may not have been popular with some of the fans but it was way smarter than possibly scattering parts all over the track prior to the finals in all classes.

 

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Top Fuel Final

Murphy had plenty of time to replace an engine before the final that was contested at 10:15 p.m.

 

The two quickest cars of the weekend did their burnouts. Brad Thompson had lane choice and put Murphy in the less favored right side.

 

 

 

Thompson left first and had a slight lead until the 1000' mark when his car got loose and impacted the right side guard wall very hard. The impact caused the car to veer sharply across both lanes and crash into the left wall as well. Murphy just got by Thompson when he came across behind him and he was not involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word came back that Thompson was awake but groggy when he was still in the car. After he was extracted he complained about some pain in his back, chest and arm. He was transported for X-rays and a complete check up and remained there for seven days. He is now recuperating at home.

 

The stage is set for the 2008 CHRR.

 

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Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams

 

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