Literally the who's who in the sport of Drag Racing have
competed at the Nightfire over the past thirty-five years. From the
"Blue Max" of Harry Schmidt & Richard Tharp to
"Jungle Jim" Lieberman, John Force to Don "the Snake"
Prudhomme, Tom "the Mongoo$e" McEwen to Ed "the Ace"
McCulloch, Jerry "the King" Ruth to Kenney "the Action
Man" Goodell, "Lil John" Lombardo to Pisano & Matsubara,
Dale Pulde's "War Eagle" to Henry Harrison, Mike Miller's
"Boredom Zero" to "Gentleman Hank" Johnson, they
have all made their presence known at the Nightfire during the early years.
But only one name stands as the first Nightfire champion. His name is
Twig Zeigler. The first event was staged in September of 1972, just a few
short weeks after the inaugural 64 Funny Car race put on by Bill Doner at
Seattle Int'l Raceway. Zeigler quickly became one of the all-time fan
favorites at Firebird, too, winning a number of other Firebird events thru
the years. He even overcame adversity after misfortune struck (a nasty
mid-track crash) at an Ignitor in the mid-70's, returning to compete in
future years. The amazing thing about this vintage photograph and burnout
(which Twig was quite famous for) is - check out where his tires are
blazing...from our view, he is doing the burnout straight down the
centerline of the dragstrip!
Winners of this year's Nightfire can all be proud that they
are following the footsteps of many of the pioneers, both past and current,
of our sport. Congratulations to professional champions Brad Thompson, Dave
Hix, Dennis Radford and Lee Paul Jennings in claiming titles at this
year's anniversary event. Image taken over thirty years ago by former
Firebird starter Dick Porter