TEST `N TUNE HELPS JUMPSTART FIREBIRD’S 45TH YEAR OF NHRA DRAG RACING

Even though the day started off very cold and quite windy, it was filled with plenty of positive enthusiasm and intrigue as a strong turnout of racers attended the opening Test `n Tune Day of season. Braving temperatures in the upper 40’s for most of the day, along with a reasonably constant headwind all day, quite a cross-section of racers took advantage of the first chance to go racing since last season came to a conclusion late last October.

The Test Day is the first of two testing opportunities (next up: Spring Warm Up, Saturday, April 7th) before the Stinker Stores Season Opener, a double-header weekend of racing on April 14th-15th.

Significant amongst an abundance of time runs was the day’s quickest performer—Cody Hiatt, the defending Super Pro track champion in the Boise Muffler Series. Driving his Boise Refrigeration Service-backed Dragster, Hiatt nailed down the top run of the day with his all-new set-up at (.002) 7.26 elapsed time and a speed of 184 mph and change. Remarkably, it was a career quickest (on the motor) pass at Firebird, proving the new combination more than ready for the new point’s chase.

The reigning Pro bracket track champ Randy Williamson looked extra sharp, too, belting out a trio of passes at 9.40, 9.36, and a 9.40 with his 140-plus mph Vega. Often known as the “house of hook”, he was one of many that were lifting the front wheels off the ground on every test lap.

Former Division 6 Super Pro champion Ed Cutler picked up right where he left off last year following his #2 finish in the Gold Cup series. Driving his familiar Vega wagon, Cutler whittled off a number of solid laps (solidly in the 9.50’s) in anticipation of the upcoming point’s chase.

Two racers were out licensing on Saturday, too. Defending Division 6 High School champion Christopher Northup buttoned up his license with six solid laps, including an 8.56 and 8.57 (with the All American Towing Dragster) on his final two runs in front of dad – Sam and his Uncle Rick. Larry Lamberson also put together his six passes, finishing up the day with a very sweet 9.99 with his burgundy-hued Camaro.

Other noteworthy runs included the Emmett-based Nova of Andy Strunk who put together a pair 10.46 runs; Camille Shaffer delivered several runs in the low-8’s after replacing an axle leading up to the test day; John Lindboom was solidly in the 9.40’s with his hard-runnin’ Chevelle; and three of the Nova Row racers, Stan & David Deming and Paul Nicolosi made lap after lap in the 10-second zone. Melissa Jarboe earned the “best wheelstand of the day” not once, but twice – sending the front wheels on her completely refinished Vega about 3 feet (skyward), making it a bit of a handful for her short wheelbase Pro bracket ride. A tip of the hat also goes out to Doug Wikfors who debuted his beautiful new 1963 Plymouth Fury. Painted a very striking hot red, the Pro bracket muscle car was one of the real eye-openers at the first test day of the 2012.

And not without a bit of attrition during testing, the day’s “hard luck” award goes to Carl Youngstrom who was unveiling his new Pontiac Firebird race car. Set up and painted to somewhat look like his 9-second Pro bracket ride, his latest blue flamed `n white `bird unloaded the rearend in spectacular fashion after launching off the starting line. The entire center section ripped from the rearend housing leaving nothing but steel and aluminum (and driveline) scattered behind his car en masse. But knowing Carl, it won’t take him long to get that fixed and back out to the strip.

The bikes and sleds were out in force, too, along with a nice assortment of Junior Dragster teams that were preparing for the Stinker Season Opener.

Proving that drag racing is truly a family sport, here were a few of the family members testing on April Fool’s Day: Doug & Susan Wikfors (husband/wife); David & Stephanie Meimann (husband/wife) John & Patsy Lindbloom (husband/wife); Jim, J.R. & Necia Cox (dad/son/daughter); Brent & Tayna Borchers (husband/wife); Tim & Kristi Shawver (dad/daughter); Alex and Chandler Steen (brothers); Stan and David Deming (brothers); Blake & Austin Berry (brothers); Gina & Amanda Luckow (mom/daughter); Rich and Zach Pedraza (father/brother); Don Childers & Greg Buckert (uncle/nephew); Blaine, Katy & Fuzzy (brother/sister/grandpa); Melissa Jarboe & Luanna Malerich (daughter and step-mother); Richard and Rachel Rush (father and daughter); Ron, Adam & Duston Wurtz (dad/son/nephew) and several others…just sorry we didn’t list all those who are related and tested on April 1st. For those we missed, we’ll try harder next time.

Next up: Spring Warm Up & Swap Meet, Saturday, April 7th.