FIELDS SET FOR THE 49TH ANNUAL NIGHTFIRE NATIONALS AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY
The second day of qualifying for the 49th annual Nightfire Nationals concluded with Jim Murphy, Billy Morris and Tom Padilla retaining their position from Friday’s session. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a great deal of action.
For the dragster contingent the afternoon session one for getting acts together. Not much movement in field, however this was not the case for the evening session. The sun had gone down, and the good track conditions just got so much better.
Jim Murphy in his WWII fuel dragster stepped up from Friday’s run to retain the pole position at a very stout, 5.69- 252.76 miles per hour. The corrected altitude was about 5000 feet, during the Saturday session.
Stepping up to the number two slot is Bret Williamson at the wheel of Mike Fuller’s Forever Young, at 5.72- 249.86.
Rounding out the top three is Bryan Hall at 5.84-238.81.
Jim Murphy 5.69, 252.76
Bret Williamson 5.72, 249.86
Bryan Hall 5.84, 238.81
Pete Wittenberg 5.84, 236.46
Dusty Green 5.88, 238.38
Tyler Hilton 5.95, 223.06
The afternoon session was the same for the funny cars was about the same as their long skinny relatives, not a great deal of movement in qualifying, more or less getting a feel for the weather conditions as this would be the time on Sunday elimination would take place.
Nevertheless, in the evening session the whole field was turned upside down. Morris in the Eddie Knox tuned Problem Child made a statement pass, in the evening session. Front end a foot in the air and header flames to the top of the door all the way to the stripe. End result, 5.69-246.17.
Another mike drop moment took place as Michael Peck who went from the outhouse to the penthouse with a 5.69-255.48. He was a one thousandth slower that Morris. Peck was 11th in the eight cars show before that run.
Rounding out the top three is Jeff Arend in the Ronny Swearingen tuned California Hustler at a 5.70- 246.48.
There is nine hundredths of a second split from number one to number eight!
Billy Morris 5.69, 246.17
Michael Peck 5.69, 255.48
Jeff Arend 5.70, 246.48
Tony Jurado 5.71, 248.93
Geoff Monise 5.71, 250.51
Bobby Cottrell 5.76, 252.61
James Day 5.77, 248.57
Jerry Espeseth 5.78, 250.78
Alternates: Kris Krabill (5.84), Chris Davis (6.07), Wally Giavia (6.26)
The same held true for the fuel altereds as it did for their nitro cousins. The evening session held the drama. Tom Padilla and Jason Pettit held their number one and two positions respectively. However it seemed as old age and treachery overcame youth and exuberance, as David “Nasty” Benjamin and Randy Bradford shoved their way into the four car field, pushing out Johnny West and three time March Meet winner Dan Hix.
AA/Fuel Altered (Six Flat Index)
Tom Padilla 6.10, 227.19
Jason Pettit 6.18, 231.44
David Benjamin 6.21, 196.30
Randy Bradford 6.23, 210.60
Alternates: Dan Hix (6.27), Johnny West (6.31), Shawn VanHorn (6.44), Robert Winefsky (6.50).
Round one will start Sunday at noon Mountain time with AA/Fuel Dragsters, then floppers, followed by the altereds.