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Many things have crossed my mind this past month and I feel the need to take this opportunity to talk about a couple of them as it pertains to our little slice of heaven known as nostalgia drag racing.
It might come as a shock to some of you that there is the original JFR who lives in Yorba Linda, California, and he does drive funny cars. However, this particular JFR is not self-absorbed and narcissistic. He does not have to jump up and down, scream and shout to get his point across. He does not need three other team cars to help his chances at winning.
This JFR is hard working and very humble about his past success and future endeavors. The real JFR I am referring to is, of course, Jason Frank Rupert, three-time NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car Champion and newly crowned IHRA Pro Funny Car Champion.
Rupert and his team are the model of humble hard working people who love to go racing. Led by his father, Frank, who is alegend in the Southern California drag racing community, and assisted by another fixture in that same community, Brad Littlefield, the team has taken the IHRA by storm this season.
With four wins and two runner-up finishes, Rupert had such a stranglehold on the class he was able to secure the Championship with a couple of races to go. He and the team were able to do this even with a rare DNQ at the Budds Creek, Maryland race.
Dominance is something Team Rupert has been accustomed to as they showed over in the Heritage Series for the past three years.
The big difference is that Rupert has been rewarded for this dominance in the IHRA this year as he accumulated more prize money for his first race win this year at the IHRA race in Tucson, than he did for the three series titles in the NHRA.
The IHRA seems to be following through with President Scott Gardner’s plan to expand the footprint of the sanctioning body. Earlier this year the IHRA announced that Spokane County Raceway would change sanctioning bodies and become part of the IHRA.
There is some speculation that Spokane will host a Nitro Jam event. Moreover, that this particular event IHRA event would be run the same weekend as the Heritage Series event in Boise, Idaho.
One racetrack general manager took to social media. His take was as follows: “Rumor going around that they are having a Nitro Jam event the week following the Seattle NHRA National Event... which is also the same week as Firebird Raceway's Bracketeer. I decision on IHRA's part.” The Bracketeer is part of the Nightfire’s program at Boise.
Now the Nightfire has run on the second weekend of August for at least 20 years if not longer. From this perspective, it would take a great deal of chutzpah to schedule a new event over the top of another race with the stature of the Nightfire.