Boo! IDAHO’S FIREBIRD RACEWAY Hosts Napa Halloween Classic
For the past twenty-four years, the NAPA Halloween Classic has been held at Firebird Raceway in western Idaho. The event is one of the most unique in the country when it comes to blending a holiday and a drag race.
It all started forty-four years ago in Norwalk, Ohio. Bill Bader and his family wanted to host an event to close out the season that nobody could possibly pass up. Today, racers participate in droves in Ohio in late-October and Idaho on the second weekend of the month. Both races feature the largest sportsman car counts of the season at each venue.
A centerpiece of the Napa Halloween Classic has traditionally been the “Air Firebird” Wheelstanding Show. Under the lights, it’s a spectacle that dazzles families, both young and old. Every car that enrolls in the Wheelstand contest maintains an entry into the Classic event. One car after another is given an opportunity to try `n stand it on the bumper.
Steve Stuart and Frank Greenough Jr., earned overall titles on a cold fall weekend as temperatures dipped to a chilly 33 degrees on Saturday night. Of note, it was pretty cool this year to see Stuart, the multiple airshow champion, completely refinish his Portland, Ore.-based Chevelle to compliment the official event artwork featuring his wicked bowtie. Both drivers punched out long distance sky shots with both swapping lanes at touchdown, a permissible infraction, that doesn’t deter the judges in the final voting criteria one iota.
Although the weather gods made it feel more like winter than fall, racers were not discouraged in the least. Participants attended from ten states and two Canadian provinces.
Following sixteen hours of elimination battles on Saturday and Sunday, the king of the race otherwise known as the Classic Grand Champion was Dan Lafferty. A rock drilling and blasting specialist by trade, the Wendell, Idaho racer pocketed a cool $6,000 in winnings, but more importantly, he earned his second overall crown (last sweeping the grand title in 1998), a feat accomplished by only one other racer.
2018 will mark the event’s 25th, the silver anniversary of the famed Napa Halloween Classic. You can magic marker out your calendar for October 10-14 when the famed boo bash returns to the Spud state.
Photos and story courtesy of Gary Himes, additional photos by Robert Grice.