43rd Annual Ignitor at Firebird

Dan Horan Jr. takes off a little too soon in the near lane, handing the win to Kris Krabill.

We have ignition!

According to Webster’s: Ignitor (n) a contrivance (device) for igniting the powder.

Well, that is exactly what happened at this year’s 43rd Annual Ignitor Nitro Opener held at Firebird Raceway in Eagle, Idaho.

This race is like the old rock radio days in the past. How many remember rock stations playing “Two for Tuesday’s” (I know you in LA do on KLOS). Anyway, I digress. This is the season opener for Division Six on the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and it is also the second stop on the NHRA Heritage Series for the Funny Cars teams.

Now in all fairness, the past couple of years either some iffy weather conditions or car counts that were lacking quantitatively but not qualitatively were an issue, or a combination of both.

This was not the case this year. This year thirteen cars were fighting to get into the eight-car show. Additionally, the weather was something that the members of the local Chamber of Commerce have dreams about -- 70 degrees and sunshine.

With those two factors being present, the third part of the equation also fell into place: Fans. There was a wonderful turnout of fans this year. The upper pro pits looked just like the famed Nightfire Nationals it was full of people so much so it was hard to make your way through the crowd.

For one racer, however, it was not a weekend of sunshine and happiness. Jason Rupert, the two-time and reigning Heritage Series Funny Car Champion, had one of those weekends that left the champion scratching his head in puzzlement.

“I haven’t been this confused in a long time,” Rupert said. “Car usually goes down a dirt road. I don’t know what to do.”

That quote seems to epitomize just how Rupert’s weekend went. All weekend long the car seemed to have a case of the shakes that just could not be cured. It was just one of those weekends for the defending Heritage Series Champ, who ended up not making the show.