race reports

Fox Hunt at Boise, Idaho

After the Foxes!

Words and photos by Brian Losness

Peter Ortiz Jr.


Forty-one years, four decades plus one, two score and one year -- no matter how you put it, it’s a long damn time to do anything, let alone do something well.


For the past 41 years the New family at Firebird Raceway have hosted their take on the Bill Doner-inspired Great American Fox Hunt. Doner, who is the avant garde promoter from back in the 1970s and ‘80s, cultivated the concept of the Fox Hunt, where ladies are admitted to the event for free.


At Firebird this event has had many different variations of main show talent. Back in the day it was not unusual to have John Force, Gary Densham, Gordie Bonin, along with many others of that caliber show up at the high desert facility.


Today the names of the drivers who were part of the headliners many not be the household names of the past, but the amount of entertainment and excitement they provided was devoured by the capacity crowd.


For the two groups, the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder series and the Northwest BB Funny Car series, this is their “Indy.”

The BB Group is made up of some very beautiful nostalgia alcohol funny cars, headed up by Greg Howland and his Corvette, which goes by the title of “Zeus”. Throughout his career in drag racing Howland has figured out how to dethrone both John Force and the “Chi-Town Hustler” as burnout kings of the sport. It is common place for Howland to stop at or near the finish line after one of his patented burnouts.


Eight cars, most of whom are based in nearby Washington state, that represent the BB Group made their way to the Fox Hunt. The premise of the group is everybody gets two runs and the two closest to 6.70 without going under make the finals.


The group has some of the nicest nostalgia floppers in the USA. There are some cars with bonified history. Such as the Datsun 280zx of Green Valley, Arizona’s Brett Lammers.

Brett Lammers’ “Terminus” Datsun.


The chassis of the car is an original Tony Casarez “laydown” car built for the late Tom McEwen. The 280zx body was reportedly one built for John Collins and the Pioneer car.  To say the least, lots of nostalgia.


The Mustang Mach 1 bodied cars of Justin and Royce Taylor are stunning, but what pulls the whole thing together is the matching original Mach 1’s that are used for tow vehicles.

Ralph Hubbert


After the first round it was Howland at 6.71/210,10 and Ralph Hubbert in his new Washington-based 1970 Chevy Camaro at 6.86/206,35.


The second session saw movement near the top of the field as the Family Taylor and the aforementioned Lammers moved around Hubbert to get into contention.  However the final round would pit Howland and Royce Taylor as they were closest to the 6.70 index.


As the sun had started to set in the west the final round made their way to the starting line. Howland again performed one of his patented 500-foot burnouts. Royce decided that Howland shouldn’t have all the fun and did a respectable 250-footer. This got the capacity crowd on their feet for sure. However, that is when the fun ended for Taylor. It appeared his brakes failed and could not stop the car and he wisely drove it off and safely out of the way of Howland.


Howland did not disappoint the fans as he put on a show with a very nice 6.75/208.71 pass to take the win.


The Drag Parts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder group differs from the BB/FC Group as this fraternity of racers are more akin to the 7.0 Pro class run at the Heritage Series events. Center steer, blown and injected combinations, running on a closest to 6.75 index. What this does for those who are not familiar with 7.0 Pro, this means an extremely diverse field of cars. Dragsters, altered and funny cars populate the pit area for the Blown Alcohol Thunder (BAT) group.


At this year’s Fox Hunt BAT show brought nine cars: Two funny cars, two altereds and five rear engine dragsters. This group is a bit more dispersed than the BB/FC group, with teams coming from Montana, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and the Great White North (Canada). This diversity also lends itself to diversity in cars and set-ups.

The main protagonist for the BAT is Brett Jones from Stevensville, Montana. He is a multi-time champion of the series and one everybody else seems to be setting their sights on.


At the Fox Hunt it was no different as Jones took his former Pat Austin 1982 Olds Firenza-bodied funny car to the number-one spot at 6.691/210.60. In the second spot was the rear engine dragster of Cranbrook BC’s Dave Kroeker. Kroeker’s first hit registered a very nice 6.80 at 203.92. Not too far behind Kroeker was Alvan Behar in his Fiat Altered at 6.97/195.52.  In the number four slot was Washington’s own Jeff Cassell in his rear engine digger.


After round two the top four stayed the same which was significant as the BAT run a “B” Final and an “A” Final. The “B” final is for positions 3 and 4, conversely the “A” final is for positions one and two.

Cassell (near lane) and Behar met in the “B” final or Consolation Final. Cassell was ready as his telepathic .010 reaction time but Behar’s very strong .032 almost irrelevant. Both cars ran into some handling issues, but it was the Cassell getting to the strip first, 7.20/186.33 to cover Behar’s slowing 9.28/94.96.


The “A” Final or Main Event was between Kroeker and Jones. Jones moved first .083 to .140, and that was the difference. As Kroeker was quicker and faster than Jones, but just ran out of race track trying to catch the Montana runner. The number played out as such: Jones .083, 6.88, 190.67 and Kroeker .140, 6.82, 204.08. The margin of victory was reported as being three ten-thousandths of a second.


It was a barnburner in any drag race. There appears to be a growing popularity in these types of series. They appear to be affordable to the track and bring to smaller local tracks a good taste of funny car and dragster action with big burnouts, lots of noise, and drivers and teams that are truly fan friendly.


Furthermore, a point that isn’t often brought to the forefront: These racers rarely tear up their equipment, which leads to oil downs and delayed shows. It doesn’t happen very often, which is another great selling point, and value to these types of series.

Throw in Ed and Wendy Jones in the Jelly Belly wheelstander and jet cars driven by Richard Smith and Derek Snelson and it becomes a well-rounded night of drag racing entertainment.


Sportsman results from the 2018 Great American Fox Hunt.


Super Pro: Chris Jaggers, Middleton, .003, 7.93 (7.93 dial) 168.01 def. Duston Wurtz, Nampa, .014, 7.23 (7.23 dial) 183.32.


Pro: Levi Burlile, Nampa, .022, 10.32 (10.29 dial)118.30 def. Steve Lambert, Boise, .094, 10.14 (10.18 dial) 120.91.


Sportsman: Joseph Johnson, Caldwell, .068, 14.38 (14.31 dial) 90.44 def. Michael Jaggers, Middleton, .132, 13.65 (13.60 dial) 96.01.


Sled/Bike: Zak Pedraza, Nampa, .009, 9.83 (9.68 dial) 126.71 def. Craig Jensen, Chubbuck, broke.


Fox eliminator: Stephanie Coddens, Middleton, .064, 14.99 (14.92 dial) def. Shannon Campbell, Eagle, .091, 13.68 (13.72 dial) 97.79.


Nostalgia: Ed May, Payette, .062, 11.21 (11.15 dial) 113.09 def. Doug Wikfors, Eagle, .098, 10.23 (10.25 dial) 128.18.


Box Gambler: Sean Shaffer, Boise, .035, 7.47 (7.51 dial) 178.73 def. Gary Bullington, -.003 foul, 8.34 (8.32 dial) 158.84.

No Box Gambler: Ryan Resinkin (shown), Emmett, .119, 10.47 (10.41 dial) 114.70 def. Bill King, Caldwell, .159, 12.59 (12.55 dial) 107.23.


Friday Night


Super Pro: Butch Warner, Nampa, .031, 8.048 (8.03 dial) 165.97 def. John Burchtorf, Nampa, -.007 (foul).


Pro: Seth McLean, Nampa, .016, 11.949 (11.98 dial) 112.58 def. Daniel Brown, Caldwell, -.063 (foul).


Sportsman: Joe Witherspoon, Caldwell, .023, 12.757 (12.73 dial) 105.93 def. Tyler Rush, Parma, -.031(foul).


Sled/Bike: Jacob Wood, Meridian, .128, 8.781 (8.80 dial) 147.71 def. Zak Pedraza, Nampa, .097, 9.590 (9.63 dial) 125.54.


Fox Eliminator: Katy Phelps, Nampa, .060, 12.863 (12.85 dial) 111.05 def. Linda Rowland, Notus, .151, 11.754 (11.66 dial) 116.33


Nostalgia: Brad Bohning, Kuna, .051, 11.048 (11.02 dial) 120.78 def. Linda Rowland, Notus,  .045, 11.702 (11.66 dial) 116.66.


Box Gambler: Chris Jaggers, Middleton, .011, 7.888 (7.88 dial) 170.19 def. Duston Wurtz, Nampa, .011, 7.227 (7.23 dial) 184.62.


No Box Gambler: Ryan Resinkin, Emmett, .088, 10.265 (10.28 dial) 130.00 def. Jerry Trolard, Vale, OR, -.043 (foul).  



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