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