The 18th Annual Oil Can Henry’s Spring event enjoyed plenty of sun-filled skies and mildly breezy conditions. On the good side, Friday’s mid-day snow flurries helped spur much improved and dry weather for the main event day on Saturday.

With temperatures climbing into the upper 50’s by early afternoon, both vendors and buyers absolutely jam-packed the Firebird facility. In fact at one point cars were lined up big time coming into the track as ticket takers and the parking crew worked their tails off to accommodate all those attending Firebird’s first major event of the season.

Hands down, this year’s event attracted a huge throng of vendors and the buyer count was one of the best to date thanks in part to our good friends at American Classifieds who annually present and help promote both the Spring and Fall Swaps. If by chance you missed the event just check out the above photograph – this certainly gives you a small sampling of how many folks made their way to Firebird for the first of two Swaps this year (the other is the Fall Swap on Saturday, Sept. 29th). For all of you who attended this year, we say thanks for your support and attendance on behalf of every member of the New Crew and the Firebird track staff.

The day also included a full day of testing as racers took advantage of the second opportunity to make practice runs this season. A real cross-section of racers made a good number of runs throughout the dedicated test day. With corrected altitude about 500 feet above sea level, many racers made a number of very stout laps. Several mentioned that the second weekend of testing really benefited their consistency as everyone gears up for the Stinker Stores Season Opener on April 14 and 15 and the Ignitor on the first weekend of May.

It’s pretty difficult to mention everyone that made laps, but here’s a few tidbits that were observed throughout the full day of testing. Noteworthy from the sea of practice passes included two back-to-back career quickest (non-nitrous) laps by Cody Hiatt who managed to put together a 7.17 at 188 mph followed up by a second 7.17 and a stronger speed of 189 mph with some of that Mark Kidd horsepower. Bobby Barrett with the help of Chris Jaggers unveiled a very sweet `72 Nova (with a chopped lid) and pushed it into the mid-10’s with ease. Former Nightfire champ Larry Saunders looked plenty good pushing his Bantam roadster into the 8.20’s on several good-looking attempts. Tish Powell cranked out all six of her licensing runs to gain final NHRA approval (to blister the quarter well into the mid-9’s) with her 2006 Suzuki GSXR. Wade Hansen finally found the combination with his potent dragster after struggling at the first test day, putting together both a 7.99 and 7.93. Reigning Season Opener champion Tom Davis ran well with his `56 Chevy, knocking out a 11.37, 11.30, 11.32 & 11.28. Larry Jenkins debuted all-new graphics on the Boise Police Chevelle (and a colorful updated wrap on his enclosed trailer) and in our opinion the new “look” is very nice. Chris Batten flat sizzled the 1320 with not one, but like a trio of runs into the 8.80’s at well over 160 mph aboard his 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle. Dave Tweedy surprised himself and many Mopar enthusiasts when he surpassed his earlier 15.50 estimates with runs well into the 13-second zone with a four-speed and highly sought after `70 Challenger TA. It was nice seeing the Lee & Debbie Haydon `66 Chevy II back out with the 28 year old Tom Pinkston at the wheel (putting together a number of licensing laps). Lisa Thomas collected all-time career best numbers with her `66 Chevy II, eventually punching her 406 bowtie into the 9.40 range with ease (and a number of stout wheelstands, too). Unveiling a striking `55 Chevy 210, Wayne Ryder definitely has quite an eye for bitchin’ race cars. Still looking to get a solid lap after trying a couple of times under the observation of Dennis Radford—he’ll no doubt be back very soon to try and put together a full pull. After hurting another (2nd in two weeks) rearend, Carl Youngstrom was not to be denied. He fixed it in the pits and came back with thunderin’ 9.32 with wheels about 12-14 inches in the air at lift-off. Steve Roberts is really starting to get a handle on the John Hite-owned `63 Nova, delivering a fine 9.49 (career best) at 138.07. And how `bout Mike Drummond Big-O Tires `69 Mustang serving up monster numbers himself (10.26-129.34 and 10.27-129.38). Jeff Higgins, the former Nightfire winner, put together an 8.94, 9.00 and 9.01 with his immaculate Super Pro Mustang. His wife Melanie also punched out a number of solid runs with her matching Chevy II. 72 year old Jim Dillon looks just as sharp as ever, serving up runs of 10.21, 10.18 & 10.16, Driving his 427 blue oval `57 Ford, Steve Pyburn made it look effortless, laying down one run into the 9.80’s after another. Last but certainly not least, welcome back Stan Keller, a veteran that goes back to the earliest of years at Firebird. He made several solid runs with his `68 Roadrunner that sports 426 inches of mighty Mopar under the hood (and was joined by his son Anthony in his front-engined dragster). Obviously there were many, many others in action, but at least this provides a brief overview from the day of testing.

Finally, we want to pass along our thanks to everyone on the Firebird track crew. From the front gates to the food & souvenir service staff and everyone involved with race operations, we’re grateful for your enthusiasm and hard work. It was two very busy days of activities and all `n all – it was unquestionably another first-rate event.

Look forward to seeing everyone at the Point’s Opener!