race reports

Fox Hunt at Boise, Idaho


Keepin’ Foxy at Firebird


Words and photos by Brian Losness

Shawn Callen took the Pro Comp win.


Doing something for over forty years it makes it hard to keep something fresh. Keeping an event fresh and relevant in an ever-changing entertainment market such as the Treasure Valley of Idaho is difficult. The greater Treasure Valley, Boise being the center piece, has gone through many changes.


Having had the privilege to have lived in this neck of the woods for the past 25 years and seeing the growth of the area explode, it makes one wonder how some businesses do it. It comes down to hard word, determination, and building a culture that can withstand changes.


This is what the management team at Firebird Raceway has done. Now it does help that the team is headed by the family of the originator of the facility, Bill New. His three sons now have taken the helm guiding the business into the future.


Forty years ago, the Fox Hunt was a takeoff of Bill Donner’s brainchild that took place initially at California’s Orange County Raceway. Back in the day the Fox Hunt was more about getting women to the drags and expanding the track’s audience base. The track’s plan would be to bring in a fleet of nitro funny cars, running in a Chicago-style event. Big burnouts and lots of header flames -- always a showstopper.


As the years have gone by, the price of having nitro funny cars come into such an event has become well past being financially feasible. Therefore, the News came up with a fresh idea for this event. Bring in not one, not two, but three different “touring” alcohol fueled touring groups. The Northwest BB/FC group, the Blown Alcohol Thunder series, and the Pro Comp Series.


All the Northwest and Blown Alcohol Thunder run on an index, where the Pro Comp Series run on a dial-in format.


Between the three series nearly 26 cars showed up to race this year. The Blown Alcohol Thunder and the Northwest groups run the Chicago style that is slightly modified; this is where each car gets two runs and then the quickest two cars come back for the finals. The Blown Alcohol Thunder (BAT) groups runs a 6.75 index, meaning in order to qualify can’t run any faster than 6.75. The NWBB/FC run on a target 6.70, meaning the closest run to. 6.70 on either side of the number qualify.


These two groups do a great job of putting on a show with big burnouts and side-by-side passes. The BAT allows for center steer roots type blowers cars, meaning dragsters, altereds, and floppers. Variety diversity and good entertainment.


In the Pro Comp eliminations, the it came down to a first-time driver and veteran of the Pro Comp wars.


Shawn Callen for the past decade and a half had been running in the family fuel altered. He had never seen the “Rooman” front engine dragster or sat in it until Friday of the event. Callen had been called into to fill in for the car owner Lynn Johnston who was doing of all things attending a wedding in Hawaii. (Priorities, man!) Callen was like a machine in the car being .017 on the tree and was running 8.02 and 8.04 in his first- and second-round wins.


He would face Larry Saunders, who has a great deal of experience in these cars. However, in the finals Callen, who was killing it on the tree all day, took a huge dose of NyQuil and went .138 as Saunders was nearly 7-hundredths quicker at .078. But at the stripe it was Callen who took the win as Saunders went two too quick and broke out.

In the BAT final it was Pete Ortiz Jr. in his very clean 97 Olds Cutlass flopper and Washington’s Wes Garvin III. This was won on the starting line as Ortiz took a starting line advantage .053 to .097 and ran a slower 6.78- 186.61 to take hole shot win over Garvin’s 6.75-181.25.

For the Northwest BB Funny Cars the final came down to a family affair as Justin Taylor (far lane) would meet up with his father Royce Taylor, in the battle of early model Mustangs.


Royce’s green Mustang in the semi’s looked to have shot a plug or two out of the motor in the lights. And appeared to be down a cylinder as the two did their burnouts. However, Pops was not going to roll over and let the boy just take the win. Dad took the measure of the kid on the starting line, but it was obvious that one cylinder was not working correctly, and the boy took the win, 6.60-219.79 to cover the elder Taylors trailing 6.92-207.30.


After forty-two years, on Saturday evening of the Fox Hunt there was a very good crowd that saw good racing and lots of excitement. It seems a recipe for continued success.


Sportsman winners for the Fox Hunt, courtesy of Firebird Raceway.

Super Pro: Troy Thomas (near lane) .016, 7.66 (7.72 dial) 176.70 def. Rick Northup -.025, 10.55 (10.57 dial) 127.33


Pro: Terry Phillips .070, 10.22 (10.26 dial) 128.98 def. Steve Reynolds .086, 11.02 (11.06 dial) 120.47

Sled/Bike: Jacob Wood .045, 8.79 (8.74 dial) 136.03 def. Craig Jensen .057, 9.94 (9.85 dial) 129.57


Sportsman: Joe Witherspoon .055, 12.95 (12.95 dial) 104.05 def. David Meimann .059, 12.76 (12.79) 106.77


Fox Eliminator: Katie Baun .041, 11.60 (11.56 dial) 108.63 def. Patsy Lindbloom .189, 12.18 (12.21) 111.22


Nostalgia: Linda Rowland .050, 11.63 (11.65 dial) 116.38 def. Ryan DuBois .067, 11.58 (11.63 dial) 111.73


Box Gambler: Christopher Northup .019, 7.95 (7.96 dial) 163.35 def. Steve Lambert .020, 7.88 (7.92 dial) 174.17


No Box Gambler: Travis Bowins .063, 9.72 (9.72 dial) 136.75 def. Chris Hall .013, 14.67 (9.53 dial) 71.89


Ed “The Outlaw” Jones really comes prepared with his “Jelly Belly” wheelstanding stagecoach!

Mark Stevens always wows the fans.

Well, what can you say about Kenny Welch’s psychedelic Pro Comp car except, “Far out, man!” 



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