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 2009 Nightfire Nationals

MURPHY RUNNER-UP

 

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August 04-16-2009 - Boise, ID - The 38th edition of Firebird Raceway's signature event was a weekend of way below normal temperatures, huge crowds, record runs, major upsets, lots of drama and a very bizarre Top Fuel semi final. The Nightfire Nationals are Idaho's premiere motorsport's national championship, and the 2009 edition was even bigger and better than any year previous. Headlining the 4 day show was Top Fuel Dragsters and Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars. In spite of a grim economy, there were 32 nitro cars on the grounds and both the Friday and Sunday crowds were bigger than years past. Most credit the absence of the normally hot weather for much of the increase.

For Jim Murphy and the WW2 Racing team it was in all a good weekend. After qualifying forth with a 5.99, Jim went on to beat James Day and Rick Williamson running 5:80s and then faced off with Rick White in the final. Murphy, the defending Nightfire Nationals champion, had lane choice and chose the tower side. White, who had a very lucky break in the semi-finals, had only run a 6.66 opposed to Murphy's solo 5.98. However, White had run low ET of the first two rounds so the final was a coin toss. As it turned out, after a great leave, the WW2 car didn't much care for the cool track surface and got out of the groove sending Murphy over the center line. White had no problems saving his best for last, ripping off a 5.70 at 254.45 for low e.t. and top speed of the meet.

Said Murphy, "We aren't too disappointed. The car ran good, we learned some things and there was no major parts damage. White's car was a monster this weekend and they deserved the win. We'll take another shot at them in Sacramento next month where we still can get enough Hot Rod Heritage Series points to move to the CHRR with a chance of winning another championship."

Now enjoy some great photos (and the whole story) below.

Photos by: Arlene Eliason, Dan Kaplan, Don Ewald, Darrell Conrad, Pam Schavrien and Don Atkinson.

 

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With the first qualifying session not scheduled until 7:00 p.m. after getting set-up, Friday was pretty low key.

 

 

 

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Top Fuel Qualifying - Session One

 

Boise has a unique staging lane in that it is right in front of the pits side stands and elevated above the race track. This allows the fans to see the cars and drivers up close and personal and lets the teams see how track conditions are playing out.

 

 

Dave Thornhill got Murphy belted in.

 

 

Ironically Murphy was paired with Rick White - the man he would meet in the final.

 

Crew Chief Tim Beebe waits for the command to fire the engine.

 

A very tall Michael Beebe showed Murphy where he wants him for the burnout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the direction of Tim Beebe, Thornhill guides Murphy back to the line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The car left hard and had good early numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gathering data Murphy shut off early to a 6.16 at just 219.51.

 

 

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The second and last qualifying session was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. so the engine was warmed up about 11:30.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 12:30 the Top Fuel cars made their way to the staging lanes.

 

 

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Saturday - Qualifying Session Two

In years past, there were three pro qualifying sessions but in an attempt to give their largest crowd (Saturday) a better show and have first round of eliminations under the lights. So, session two was the last chance to jockey for a position on the ladder.

 

Murphy suited up and ready to get in.

 

 

Michael Beebe checked the track temperature which was very friendly. Not a sign of the 130-140 degree temps seen in previous years.

 

Doing the mandatory lane swap for qualifying, Murphy was now on the spectators side of the track. In the other lane was, again, Rick White.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The car left hard and racked up more solid early numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murphy carded a safe 5.99 at 247.79 to qualifying fourth.

 

 

 

 Final Order of Qualifying

1  Rick White 5.88 @ 250.27
2 Brett Harris 5.81 @ 251.67
3 Rick Williamson 5.83 @ 250.90
4 Jim Murphy 5.99 @ 247.79
5  Mike McClennan 6.04 @ 250.27
6  Troy Green 6.11 @ 235.54
7  James Day 6.14 @ 235.27
8  Mark Malde 6.35 @ 183.11
9  Mike Chrisman 7.39 @ 130.52

 

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2009 Nightfire Nationals - Eliminations - Page 2

 

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Related Link

AA/FD Inc. - Nostalgia Top Fuel Teams

 

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