18TH ANNUAL OIL CAN HENRY’S SPRING WARM UP & SWAP MEET ENJOYS IDEAL WEATHER
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!