Sports

Jet Dragsters headline Ignitor, plus more Valley racing events to catch in 2017

Gear heads warm up at Firebird Raceway for the 47th Napa Ignitor Nitro Opener

Dan Horan Jr. set a Firebird Raceway record with his 259.76-mph pass in his "Patriot" AA/Nitro Funny Car in the semifinals of last year's Ignitor. Horan returns for this year's event, which begins Friday and ends Sunday.
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Dan Horan Jr. set a Firebird Raceway record with his 259.76-mph pass in his "Patriot" AA/Nitro Funny Car in the semifinals of last year's Ignitor. Horan returns for this year's event, which begins Friday and ends Sunday.

Exhibition Jet Dragsters the Terminal Velocity and Lucas Oil Missile will take a break from their packed NHRA national schedule to make a stop at Firebird Raceway.

The two Jet Dragsters, which can reach 280 mph and are known for their pre-run flame shows and afterburner pops, will make their NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor debut Saturday (5:45 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.).

The 47th annual Ignitor begins in earnest Friday with AA/Nitro Funny Car qualifying at 4 p.m. Catch the Funny Cars again at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, and eliminations start at noon Sunday.

Gates open at 8 a.m. each day. Adult admission is $15 Friday and $20 Saturday and Sunday.

Racers also will compete in Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Sportsman Bike/Sled, Super Pro, Pro and Heavy throughout the weekend.

Take a look at some of the other top events planned for the 2017 season at Firebird, Meridian Speedway and more:

FIREBIRD RACEWAY

What to expect: The family owned and operated quarter-mile drag racing facility is celebrating its 50th year by hosting nearly 50 days of action this season, which continues through October.

Pro tip: Every ticket includes a pit pass, so fans can watch teams work on their cars, and drivers are accessible for questions or autographs.

DON’T MISS

Ignitor, May 5-7: A pair of 280-mph Jet Dragsters — Terminal Velocity and Lucas Oil Missile — make their Firebird debut, plus former world champion Jason Rupert returns to the Ignitor with his “Rolling Thunder” Camaro.

Oldies Drags, June 3-4: A combination of race and show classes take fans back in time, including Gasser, Muscle Car, Hot Rod, Street Machine and Nostalgia.

Fox Hunt, June 16-17: A staple on the Firebird schedule for 40 years, this event — which has free admission for ladies — features 270-mph Jet cars at nightfall, plus BB/Funny Cars and the “Outlaw” wheelstander.

Nightfire, Aug. 10-13: Legends like John Force, Don Prudhomme and the famed “Blue Max” of Raymond Beadle have raced at Nightfire. What future star might you spot this year?

Halloween Classic, Oct. 11-15: Overall event champions are crowned as the track closes out the season with Club Challenge Runoffs, the Lucas Oil Top Gun Shootout and trick or treating for the kids.

TIMES AND TICKET INFO

Start times vary depending on the event and day of the week. Adult admission ranges from $12 to $20, children ages 6-12 are $3 or more, and children 5 and younger are free.

MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY

What to expect: Watch race teams tinker with their cars as they compete in qualifying, heat races and main events. Multiple classes compete on any given Saturday ranging from the rowdy Hornets to the lightning-fast Winged Sprints.

Pro tip: If you wait until racing is finished and the track is cleared, fans can go in the pits for free to meet their favorite driver. If you ask nicely, you might even get to sit behind the wheel.

DON’T MISS

Diamond Cup, June 3-4: The ultra-fast NSRA’s Winged Sprintcars roll into town for two days of racing. The overall points champion goes home with a diamond ring.

Fourth of July Fireworks, July 4: Catch a full night of sprintcar racing, then sit back and watch the City of Meridian’s fireworks display shoot off behind the track.

Eve of Destruction, Aug. 4: If you enjoy carnage, this is the event for you. Highlights include boat races, reverse race, the Beast Jet Dragster Hornet Meltdown and Hornets vs. the Gauntlet.

King of the Wing, Sept. 15-16: The series founded by Idaho native and former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton in 2014 and returns to Meridian for the third year in a row.

Idaho 208 NASCAR K&N Series, Sept. 30: The Pro West tour — home to the Monster Energy Cup Series’ future stars — makes a stop in Idaho, and a delayed broadcast of the race will air at 9 p.m. Oct. 8 on NBCSN.

TIMES AND TICKET INFO

For most events, gates open at 4 p.m., qualifying is at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 6:30 p.m. Prices vary for special events, but in general tickets range from $11 to $20 for adults. Children 6 and younger are free.

MORE LOCAL RACING

▪ Owyhee Motorcycle Club: Both motocross and flat track racing is contested at OMC. If you’re looking for a good opportunity to introduce your child to motocross, bring them to the Pee Wee race on June 10.

▪ Sandhollow Raceway Park: The 1/9-mile dirt track 10 miles west of Caldwell has Outlaw Kart racing options for children and adults, primarily on Sundays. Its signature event is the Colby Solomon Memorial Tater Cup (Sept. 23-24).

▪ Snake River Karters: This family-oriented outdoor Go-kart facility has a 1/4-mile asphalt road course and 1/8-mile Speedway oval. Its largest event is the two-day Larry Kurpiewski & Doug Lindemood Memorial races, which are July 15-16 at Glen Morgan Track in Star.

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