Written by Firebird Raceway Public Relations.



To say Eddie Knox and Daryl Ehrlich have a flair for the dramatic would be putting it mildly.

Knox, the owner, and Ehrlich, the driver, of the Top Fuel drag boat Problem Child could have taken it easy during the Top Fuel Hydro Final of Sunday’s Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series NAPA Auto Parts World Finals.  After all, their final round opponent – driver Mike Robbins and Liquid Quicker, was mechanically unable to make the final run.

A mere ‘breaking of the beam’ – a simple breeze down Firebird  Lake would be all Problem Child would need to pick up its second consecutive win in drag boat racing’s premier event.

But that’s not how Problem Child rolls.  Instead, the duo of Knox and Ehrlich decided to go all out.  In doing so, Problem Child set a new elapsed time (ET) record with a run of 3.597 and 251.593 miles per hour to thrill the sun-baked crowd.

“We ran it hard anyways for the crowd,” Knox said.  “It was a great crowd all weekend, and there was no way we were going to let them down.”

When asked about recording his second NAPA World Finals win, Knox commented: “Our set-up seems to really like the density of the water here…It’s really the best place there is in drag boat racing.”

Knox and Weber might have gotten their all-out approach for the finale from Joel Weber, driver of the What a Tomato Too Top Alcohol Hydro boat.  In a final-round showdown with Mike Fry’s Meanstreak, Weber ran a record ET of 4.39 and a sizzling 205.987 to edge out Fry, who was speedy himself at 4.427 and 199.946.

While the solo finale in Top Fuel Hydro and the final round shoot-out in Top Fuel Hydro brought Firebird fans to their feet , the finale of Top Alcohol Hydro Flats between Greg Jones’ Back in Black and Marcus Kinsey’s Bad Company unfortunately fizzled before it ever began.  Neither boat was able to make the final pass after experiencing mechanical problems at the starting line.  Kinsey and Bad Company were declared victorious based upon their better average overall times throughout the weekend.

Arizona’s newest city – San Tan Valley – can also claim a champion this weekend.  Jeremy Denny piloted the Cyanotic River Boat to victory with consistent runs throughout the weekend.  He closed out his quest for a NAPA World Final victory with a final round win over Keith Turly and Gittr Done after Turley’s boat red-lighted at the starting line.

“With the new boat,” Denny explained, “we were just trying to make it safely to the finish.  We had a couple of things we were trying to get dialed in, but it ended up working out really well for us.”

Here are the results for Sunday’s other final round match-ups:

Modified Eliminator:  Gambler (David Cooper) 10.050 ET, 106.132 MPH def. Abracadabra (Bob Prigmore) 9.951 ET, 103.330 MPH

Pro Comp Eliminator: Hot Shot (Mike Martin) 8.818 ET, 102.389 MPH def. Wet Dream (Tony Scarlata) 7.49 ET, 138.889 after Scarlata red-lighted

Pro Eliminator: FBomb (Mike Declark) 8.218 ET, 105.263 MPH def. Nicki’s Boat (Jeff Miller) 8.085 ET, 146. 341

Pro Mod: Just One More (Mike Lamb) 7.069 ET, 161.002 MPH def. Alcohol Dependent (Reagan Everet) 7.522 ET, 164.835 MPH

Personal Watercraft I: Monkey See, Monkey Do (Dave Watkins) 11.82 ET, 69.76 MPH def. Ollie Oliver (Draggin Waggin) 15.490 ET, 64.655 MPH

Personal Watercraft II: Can’t Touch This (Shelby Ebert) 17.487 ET, 51.195 MPH def. Cody Gray (Say When Again) 18.721 ET, 50.819 MPH

Stock Eliminator: Flexible (Al Zemke) 11.127 ET, 88.496 MPH def. Mamma’s Diamond (Bob Winder) 11.154 ET, 90.180 MPH

Top Eliminator: Josh Patridge, 9.132 ET, 108.827 MPH def. Blown Assets (Joey Valedez) 9.087 ET, 115.979 MPH




In what’s proving to be a nearly continuous display of record speed, Top Alcohol Flat Driver Tony Scarlata and Top Alcohol Hydro driver  Andy Reynolds set firebird2the tone early Saturday during the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series NAPA Auto Parts World Finals at Firebird International Raceway.

Scarlata’s Shazam got a leg on the new Top Alcohol Flat elapsed time (ET) record, recording a 5:30 9 in his first run of the day.  In drag boat racing, all new records must be backed up with a second run that is within one-percent of the record prior to the end of the event.

Scarlata said while records are nice, his main goal is to come out of the NAPA Auto Parts World Finals with a win.

“Records just come,” said Scarlata. “You go out and run the very best you can.  If you go out there trying to set new records, you can end up going swimming!”

Reynolds, who was part of a historic two-run sequence on Friday afternoon which featured three Top Alcohol Hydro boats getting  a leg on the elapsed time record, officially set a new miles-per-hour  (MPH) record with his first run on Saturday when his Little Red Draggin recorded a blazing 204.13 mph.

Reynolds was humble and realistic about whether the record would last the weekend.

“It was a good run,” Reynolds said.  “They hopped up the boat a little bit, and it seemed to like the extra power. It ran right down Broadway. I’ve never held the record before and I don’t know if the record is going to hold up this weekend, but it’s cool to have recorded it!”

Another Top Alcohol Hydro drag boat carved at least a temporary place in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series when What a Tomato Too established a new ET record with a run of 4.402.

In the Top Fuel Hydro division, Problem Child failed to back up its record run of 3.643. Driver Daryl Ehrlich recorded a 3.757 early during Saturday’s session, locking up the top spot in Top Fuel Hydro heading into Sunday’s eliminations.  With the top spot secured, Ehrlich and owner Eddie Knox watched the afternoon Top Fuel Hydro session safely from the Firebird Lake shoreline.

Saturday Results from NAPA Auto Parts World Finals

Here are pairings heading into Sunday’s elimination rounds:

Class: Modified Eliminator
Boat            Driver            ET            MPH
1.    WhiteKnight        Mike Heitman        10.003            96.879
2.    Gambler        David Cooper        10.005            108.565
3.    Ain’t Scared        Greg Carr        10.009            97.403
4.    Pressure Cooker    John O’Hara        10.012            102.157
5.    So Vain        Mike Garrett        10.019            107.271

Pro Comp Eliminator

1.    Wet Dream        Tony Scarlata        7.486            138.037
2.    Hot Shot        Dave Lipinski        8,092            141.732
3.    Bad Influence        Steve Schmidt        7.745            145.867
4.    Flat Magic        Milton Tolen        7.809            131.387
5.    Sunday Showdown    Ken Meyers Jr.    8.957            113.208

Pro Eliminator

1.    Stark Naked        Chris Starkweather    8.000            122.283
2.    Without a Trace    Dan Jensen        8.003            149.502
3.    Who’s Who        Bobby Booher        8.007            138.462
4.    Texas Red        Jerry Hardwick    8.019            145.867
5.    Slayer            John Digiacinto    8.019            113.493


1.    Risky Business     Dustin Nesloney    7.000            169.811
2.    Agent Orange         Steve Rajcic        7.001            174.081
3.    Top Gun         Mickey Snider    7.016            168.539
4.    Fist Full of Dollars     Jimmy Booher    7.028            169.811
5.    Screamin’ Seaman    Terry Kain        7.036            166.976

Personal Watercraft I

1.    Monkey See Monkey Do Dave Watkins     11.527            78.603
2.    Texas Slingshot    Curtis Byler        15.938            59.880
3.    Draggin Wagon    Ollie Oliver        15.073            65.312
4.    Water Lilly        Mary Silva        16.512            55.693

Personal Watercraft II

1.    Can’t Touch This    Shelby Ebert        17.322            53.508
2.    Say When Again    Cody Gray        18.726            51.165

River Racer

1.    Capital Punishment    Justin Niesener    12.000            90.634
2.    White Lightning II    Roger Silva        12.001            83.256
3.    Brain Damage        Jeff Koerner        12.410            82.342
4.    Cyanotic        Jeremy Denny        12.961            76.923
5.    El Bandito        Roger Sayles        12.796            77.855

Stock Eliminator

1.    Do Run Run        Jeff Berr        11.014            89.731
2.    Sublime        Jim Bernard        11.030            89.910
3.    Flexible        Al Zemke        11.096            88.496
4.    Mamma’s Diamond    Bob Winder        11.123            89.552

Top Alcohol Flat

1.    Shazam        Tony Scarlata        5.309            152.192
2.    Habit Forming        Don Bausher        5.400            149.850
3.    Bad Company        Marcus Kinsey    5.586            141.163
4.    Aw Sum Toy        Cole Thurston        5.622            142.939
5.    Back in Black        Greg Jones        5.816            147.261

Top Alcohol Hydro

1.    What A Tomato Too    Joel Weber        4.402            205.987
2.    What A Tomato    Bob Pizza        4.433            204.137
3.    Mean Streak        Mike Fry        4.444            199.362
4.    Little Red Draggin    Andy Reynolds    4.453            204.134
5.    Bad Habit        Kebin Kinsley        4.623            194.250

Top Eliminator

1.    Little Blue        Craig Lucas        9.000            115.979
2.    Shock Therapy    Jeff Vail        9.002            111.940
3.    Blow’n Feathers    Stan Tweety        9.005            116.883
4.    Black Rat        Bill Miller        9.008            107.015
5.    Josh Patridge        Josh Patridge        9.010            110.701

Top Fuel Hydro

1.    Problem Child        Daryl Ehrlich        3.643            248.839
2.    Spirit of Texas        Scotty Lumbert    3.651            249.750
3.    Liquid Quiker        Mike Robbins        3.814            237.567
4.    Toxic Rocket        Glen Wilson        3.995            226.518
5.    Hot Licks        Jarrett Silvey        4.102            222.816



If Friday afternoon’s first round of pro qualifying during the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series NAPA Auto Parts World Finals at Firebird International Raceway proves phoenix_2any indication, the series’ current record book could be obsolete by Monday morning.

One of the culprits behind the potentially massive revisions is no stranger to running record speeds at Firebird – a Problem Child was up to his old tricks. After setting a world record on the quarter-mile course during last year’s race on Firebird Lake, the Top Fuel Hydro Drag Boat owned by Eddie Knox and driven by Daryl Ehrlich decided to set its aim at the 1000-foot elapsed time record currently held by Spirit of Texas with a 3.645 (David Kirkland/Scotty Lumbert).

Despite having taken only one partial run in essentially a  completely rebuilt boat during Thursday’s Test-and-Tune, the new version of the Problem Child proved just as pesky as his predecessor, getting a leg on a new world record  with an of 3.643 et.  In order to set a new record, the Problem Child will have to back up its run with a time of 3.679 prior to the end of the event on Sunday.  

The boat had to be rebuilt following a crash in San Angelo, Texas earlier this year.

“I love this place,” an emotional Knox said following the run. “To get a leg on a record for a second time at Firebird, especially when it was our first real attempt at a full pass – that was a shocker.”

But if the Problem Child provided the main story, the subplot had to be a crazy two-run stretch in the Top Alcohol Hydro division which witnessed three of the four boats involved getting a leg up on a new world record.

In an awesome display of speed, driver Mike Fry’s Mean Streak, Andy Reynold’s Little Red Draggin and Joel Weber’s What a Tomato Too all got a leg up on the existing elapsed time record for the category.  Weber topped the trio with a 4.402 – to set a new record he’ll need to run a 4.446 or better prior to the event’s end. Weber went a step further in his pursuits, also setting a new mile-per-hour record at 205.987mph. What a Tomato Too crashed during last year’s race, meaning he’ll have a chance at redemption if he can back up either record.

Friday Results from NAPA Auto Parts World Finals

Here are results from Friday’s qualifying:

Class: Modified Eliminator
Boat            Driver            ET            MPH
1.    Undertaker        Jerry Rudow        9.355            115.533
2.    Undertaker        Rudow            9.375            115.090
3.    Undertaker        Rudow            9.417            113.924
4.    Gambler        David Cooper        9.832            111.111
5.    Cheyenne Express    Gary Payne        9.833            105.758

Pro Comp Eliminator

1.    Wet Dream        Tony Scarlata        7.486            138.037
2.    Wet Dream        Scarlata        7.495            138.249
3.    Bad Influence        Steve Schmidt        7.795            144.928
4.    Bad Influence        Schmidt        7.803            144.462
5.    Bad Influence        Schmidt        7.818            144.695

Pro Eliminator

1.    Slayer            John Digiacinto    7.706            125.174
2.    Killin’ Time        Kurt Powers        7.823            152.284
3.    Killin’ Time        Powers        7.828            152.027
4.    The Butcher        Steve Penberthy    7.851            144.000
5.    Guess Who’s Back    Arek Strohmenger    7.895            123.457

Pro Mod

1.    Black Jack        Gary Bauer        6.838            175.781
2.    Few Dollars More    Tommy Thompson    6.872            172.414
3.    Money Shot        David Fuentes        6.874            172.414
4.    Alcohol Dependent    Reagan Everett    6.925            172.414
5.    Hypochondriac    Bryan Sanders    6.933            174.757

Personal Watercraft I

1.    Monkey See Monkey Do Dave Watkins    11.470            81.227
2.    Monkey See Monkey Do Watkins        11.549            80.000
3.    Monkey See Monkey Do Watkins        11.624            81.744
4.    Draggin Wagon      Ollie Oliver        14.999            65.741
5.    Draggin Wagon    Olliver            15.355            64.609

Personal Watercraft II

1.    Can’t Touch This    Shelby Ebert        17.322            53.508
2.    Can’t Touch This    Ebert            17.407            54.381
3.    Can’t Touch This    Ebert            17.874            54.022

Stock Eliminator

1.    Flexible        Al Zemke        10.944            91.371
2.    Do Run Run        Jeff Berr        10.989            89.552
3.    Do Run Run        Berr            11.014            89.731
4.    Do Run Run        Berr            11.047            90.180
5.    Sublime        Jim Bernard        11.080            89.552

Top Alcohol Flat

1.    Shazam        Tony Scarlata        5.405            152.532
2.    Habit Forming        Don Bausher        5.597            146.000
3.    Monster        Mark Porter        5.833            142.342
4.    Back in Black        Greg Jones        5.890            151.179
5.    Bad Company        Marcus Kinsey    5.952            136.364

Top Alcohol Hydro

1.    What A Tomato Too    Joel Weber        4.402            205.987
2.    Little Red Draggin    Andy Reynolds    4.519            203.528
3.    Mean Streak        Mike Fry        4.574            202.922
4.    What a Tomato    Bob Pizza        4.587            194.805
5.    Bad Habit        Kebin Kinsley        4.676            190.985

Top Eliminator

1.    Midlife Crisis        Marvin Davis        8.661            139.752
2.    Midlife Crisis        Davis            8.760            136.986
3.    Black Rat        Bill Miller        8.856            111.524
4.    Just a Few Seconds    Doug Williams        8.942            125.174
5.    Shock Therapy    Jeff Vail        8.960            112.360

Top Fuel Hydro

1.    Problem Child        Daryl Ehrlich        3.643            248.839
2.    Spirit of Texas        Scotty Lumbert    3.651            249.750
3.    Liquid Quiker        Mike Robbins        3.814            237.567
4.    Nitro Chicken        Douglas Verstuyft    4.620            210.438
5.      Hot Licks        Jarrett Silvey        5.486            203.528

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