# 3 - 1st Round Loss Due to Magneto Failure
For the 36th year in a row the New family's Night Fire Nationals
made Boise the place for drag racers and fans to be. For the
thousands of fans in attendance, it was without doubt the single
most impressive event in the track's forty year history. Nice
weather (for this time of year) greeted a record field of racers
and jam-packed grandstands to four incredible days of racing.
And once again
this long established event proved why it should be on every
ones racing calendar. Hundreds of race cars vied for some of
the largest purses offered to sportsman and pro classes anywhere.
The huge event was capped by a weekend of nitro featuring a full
16 car field of Top Fuel dragsters along with Fuel Alterds and
Funny Cars. In Top Fuel, a number of cars dipped into the 5s
in both qualifying and eliminations, but several were also challenged
with tire smoke for the first time during the weekend on Sunday
when the Friday and Saturday 80s turned to high 90s and track
temps reached 140 degrees. It proved to be nothing shy of wild
to sit back and watch from a fan perspective.
For the High
Speed Motorsports team Boise marked the first event of a three
race Northwest tour (followed by Seattle and Mission, Canada).
Without a chance to test before leaving California, they were
going in somewhat blind, knowing there were problems that needed
to be addressed but track time was the only way to assess them.
Although they qualified # 3 with a stellar 5.91 at 241 MPH the
engine was erratic on every pass and the problem, a faulty magneto,
reared its ugly face big time in the first round of eliminations
which accounted for an early exit from the 16 car field. The
mag was sent south for repair and was back in time for the teams
Open House appearance at SilverThin Bearings in Washington
the following Thursday.
and full story below.
The first qualifying
session was not scheduled until Friday evening so after the pit
was set up most of the day was pretty laid back.
Speaking of setting
up a pit area, for most teams its become common place to have
huge awnings, large rubber mats, custom work tables, power tools
and numerous other items needed to maintain and service the car
during the course of a weekend. For the High Speed team it takes
anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the number
of helpers) to get their pit "race ready". The process
starts with the mats, spare slicks and nitro coming out of the
back of the trailer so they can access the awning that will protect
the car and crew from the elements. For those who have never
watched a set-up, the following photos will give you a glimpse
of the effort involved.
Back to work. The mats
are out and the awning braces are moved from the trailer to their
On this day, with a
full crew on hand, the awning went up rapidly. This can be done
by as little as three people but obviously it is a more is better
With all the braces
in place, the awning is attached.
After the mats are laid
down the car comes out.
With everything in place
the car is prepped for the first qualifying session.
The fans in Boise are
incredible and driver, Troy Green spent a large part of the weekend
signing autographs and letting fans get an up close and personal
look at the car.
This newest addition
to the High Speed camp is this Elite motorcoach which serves
as team headquarters for meeting, relaxation and on this tour,
home for Dale and Amelia Singh.
As can be seen, this
isn't exactly roughing it.
Amelia Singh in her kitchen.
An exterior flat-screen
TV allows the team and guests to keep up on the latest sporting
After extensive track
clean up and prep the first session went off at 7:30 PM Friday
evening. Here the High Speed team wait their turn in the staging
With the sun setting,
Green heats the tires.
Walt Stevens backs Green
up with Shannon Stewart in the other lane.
From the hit of the
throttle the engine didn't sound right but the car was moving
good until oil from a loose valve cover forced Green to shut
off at the 800' mark leaving him with a disappointing 6.45 time
slip. With two sessions remaining the team wasn't worried about
improving on that time.
Returning to the pits the valve cover
problem was found and, as always, the car was torn apart.
Tom Shelar does the head maintenance.
Roger McMartin and Troy Green put in
a new "rack" (8) of pistons.
With the absence of two regular crew
members, Crew Chief, Brett Johansen took on bottom end duty for
Session two went off at 3:30
Saturday afternoon and it was HOT. 88 degrees with at track temp
of 130. Not ideal conditions but it would be the closest to what
race conditions would be on Sunday.
The crew positions Green
behind the waterbox prior to his match up with Jack Harris.
Green heats the tires
for their second shot at the Boise track.
Stevens keep Troy in
his tracks backing up.
In spite of a dropped
cylinder (which picked up within a second) the car left hard.
Green flashed passed
the photogs to card a sterling 5.914 at 241.35. This would stand
as low ET for the event through Saturday. It also gave them a
false sense of security that the magneto was not bad when it
Jumping into the # 1
spot helped the teams moral and the fans loved it.
Within 10 minutes of the 5.91 pass the
car was back in the pit being torn down.
Within 60 minutes the car was almost
At 4:00 PM Saturday
afternoon all the Top Fuel drivers took their places at a long
table for a highly touted autograph session. Troy Green (above)
was one of the fan favorites and after an hour came back to the
pit with writers cramp.
Fast forward to 6:00
PM when the engine was warmed up prior to the third and final
A close look at the
unique Gibson-Miller fuel injector atop the Donovan engine. Although
popular among the NHRA "Big Show" Top Fuel cars, the
HSMS team is the only one using it on the nostalgia circuit.
This warm-up concerned
Johansen as the cylinders were not firing evenly. They didn't
know it then but the magneto was getting worse.
Session three on Saturday evening
found the air a bit cooler and track tighter. Everyone expected
some big numbers and that's what they got. A 5 yr old track record
was broken twice and 10 of the 16 got their best qualifying times.
Coming back from the
burnout the engine was still sounding off key.
Green, in the far lane,
left on the soft side and in spite of "something not right"
clocked 5.97 at 235.
Dale Singh observed
the run from the line.
Returning to the pits they knew the engine
had some piston damage and were starting to suspect that the
magneto may be going away but upon inspection could see no visible
After the car was prepped the team went
back to the hotel concerned that the ignition problem would only
get worse - and it did.
The first round of eliminations
were set for 3:00 PM so the engine was warmed about 2:00... and
it didn't sound good at all.
When Top Fuel was called,
the car was taken into the staging lanes for the first round
where Green was paired with Mendy Fry.
Lara Green helps hubby
Troy suit up while Amelia Singh blocks the 90 degrees sun with
Walt Stevens does a
final check on the air pressure for the rear tires.
Green's burnout was
ragged at best. The only hope was that the cylinders would clean
up under load on the run.
Green moves in to stage
and for some reason we have no photos of the actual pass... which
may be a good thing as it was ugly. At the hit the engine was
running on 5 cylinders and was so out of whack that the car refused
to go straight. Had Green seen Fry ahead of him he would have
shut off early in the run but he did not and in spite of the
ailing engine attempted to get the car to the other end. Good
intention and something most good drivers would do in eliminations
but the dropped cylinders were too much to overcome and by half
track they literally drove the car to the right and over the
center line - an automatic disqualification. All Green could
do was watch Fry go past for the win. A $20.00 rotor in the mag
had cost them the race and a good shot at winning the entire
This run and other from
the event can be seen on:
In spite of a bitter loss, the team still
had some celebrating to do. Arlene Eliason, in charge of Team
Hospitality, and Tom Shelar fired up a Birthday cake for key
team member, Walt (I'm 67 years young) Stevens.
Thinking the cake was for Danny Porche,
Stevens was truly surprised and at his advanced age was even
able to blow out a forest of candles.
On this happy note this Boise
story comes to a close. The magneto was off to California for
repair and the team was off to Seattle for the SilverThin open
house, new signage on the trailer and car at The Big Sign and
a two day nostalgia meet at Pacific Raceways the following weekend
(which was rained out). The tour wrapped up on August 26th with
a convincing win at the 2007 Vancouver Community College Night
of Fire at Mission Raceway in Mission, B.C. Canada.