FIREBIRD UNVEILS STATE-OF-THE-ART RACE CONTROL TOWER AND NEW STARTING LINE DESIGN

A fixture for the better part of the past four decades in western Idaho, Firebird has always taken a proactive approach at continuing to further enhance our NHRA Drag Racing facility. Starting in November of 2009 and finishing in April of 2010, an amazing team of workers helped construct a brand new Race Control Tower and starting line approach area to kickoff the 2010 Season.

It’s pretty amazing in its own right that the original tower was in place for such a long period of time. Looking back to the late 60’s, it’s really amazing that the ol’ girl (original tower photo below) stood tall and proud for 42 years. From its meager beginnings the tower was expanded on a couple different occasions, but in the end, we had simply outgrown all 304 square feet of the nostalgic tower.

Strategically designed, the new state-of-the-art, custom designed facility features an expansive Race Control split-level room, a fully equipped Media Center, four offices/suites, Power-Phone-Amp mechanical room, restrooms, storage rooms, and an assortment of other accommodations. All together, the structure offers nearly 3,200 square feet of floor space. Additionally, a new concrete bulls eye wall and expanded turning radius was designed and developed in the starting line area to allow for an enhanced entryway from the unique Firebird staging lanes.

In combination, a workforce of nearly 100 people and a multitude of companies were closely involved with the construction project, which was completed just in time for the start of Firebird’s 43rd season of NHRA Drag Racing.

A special ribbon-cutting affair was hosted by the New Crew during the NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor in early-May. A wide number of special dignitaries and firms attended the official unveiling of the Tower. Most noteworthy were Ada County commissioners Rick Yzaguirre and Fred Tilman, Eagle Fire Chief Dan Friend, Star Fire Deputy Chief Scott Buck, CSDI General Contractor Jeffrey Langan, and an assortment of companies & workers tied in with the multi-faceted construction effort.

We could easily write an entire book on the trials and tribulations of this very significant effort by everyone involved. By all accounts, it stands as one of the single most impressive improvements in track history, which is a pretty tall statement when you take into consideration the volume of enhancements we’ve completed over the past several decades.

Here’s a quick glimpse back at several phases of the project, basically from the start to the finish. At the very end of the construction pictorial, we want to take and thank all those who helped with the tower and starting line major-league improvement. Unquestionably, we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

On behalf of the entire New Crew, thank you for all your assistance!


Original Tower circa 1968 with two Top Fuelers in foreground.

Last look at the Firebird Tower in November of 2009.

The old tower was disassembled in December 2009.

By mid-December, mother nature blanketed the track with 8 inches of snow.

Two giant heating tents were fabricated to control the ground temperature.

The last elements of the Tower were torn down in early January 2010.

Riverstone Concrete poured all the lower foundation walls, some 12’ in height.

Special Symons concrete forms were utilized from CCS.

A concrete pumping system was used to move the mud.

Jay Jones and staff placed hundreds of yards of concrete during the project.

Cross track look at the start of the project in late-January.

This starts to provide a perspective of the tall retaining concrete wall.

To avoid future frost, all footings were placed 30-plus inches below grade.

The entire first floor features a slab on grade concrete floor.

Jeffrey Langan and Jack Lunsford with CSDI Construction.

Structural steel beams were positioned by Riverside Welding.

To meet key engineering standards, heavy beams helped strengthen the face of the building.

Jay Jones and plumbing contractor David Chester built knockout boxes.

One of the best in the trade, Mike Rice Excavation kept busy with his backhoe.

Foreman Trent Green and estimator Jack Lunsford (left) with CSDI.

Wood started to give the building some perspective.

As the roof profile was installed, you could really begin to sense the overall look.

This is Bill New, electrician Daryl DeGrange and David Chester.

The tower really gained some momentum in February.

YMC did a phenomenal job with both the heating and cooling aspect of the sizable project.

The very talented framing crew were from Phoenix Builders.

The forest green metal roof complimented all of the existing buildings at Firebird.

United Roofing was responsible for the roof and soffits.

Diamond Contractors moved tons of earth throughout the entire task.

This trio headed up by Mike Rice, left, did extensive dirt work.

Story continued on Page 2

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