We have dedicated the 2017 racing season to a 50 Year Celebration of all things Firebird. To help kick things off we put together a compilation of video clips, photos and interviews. It a unique “Look back into Firebird’s storied 50-Year History”.
It all started with a conversation at our NHRA Division 6 meetings in January with NHRA Sr. Vice President-Racing Operations Graham Light. We asked if NHRA might lend a hand in capturing video clips from legends of the sport. Without hesitation, Graham liked the idea and we ran with it. Thanks goes out to a number of people, especially Director of Field Marketing Eric Lotz. Eric was the true foot soldier, helping steer our idea through the appropriate channels.
Within a few weeks, the NHRA team had compiled interviews with past legends: Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen and Ed McCulloch. In addition, the NHRA/Fox crew also captured video sound bites from superstars John Force, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman and Leah Pritchett. To add even more significance, NHRA president Peter Clifford and Light took time out of their busy schedules to share their thoughts, too.
We hand selected many of the most significant and historical photos from the track’s first five decades. We also thought it would be fun to utilize them in conjunction with all the track’s logos from the opening year to present day. Thanks to video specialist Eric Westrom with NBC-affiliate KTVB. He was the consummate editor who took on the mighty task of assembling everything in the Channel 7 state-of-the-art production studio.
The oldest footage taken at the raceway was pulled from original “reel-to-reel” film stock and converted into digital files. Much of the early film was taken by Klaus Wagner, 1970’s sport’s director for KTVB. We’re grateful to him for handing over the keys to all these original reels. The 3″ reels were preserved since early 1971 (up through 1976).
We couldn’t have pulled this all together without the help we received from countless people. We are indebted to each of them. And special thanks to all the photographers who captured the photographic essence and feel of the raceway.
To no surprise, the video has garnered a lot of interest over on our Facebook page. In her fitting post, Margaret Smith said, “What a great tribute this is to Firebird Raceway, the New Family and those past and present that have been part of the New Crew! Congratulations on your 50th season of racing and thank you for letting so many of us be a part of it”.YOUTUBE VIDEO: TRIBUTE TO FIREBIRD'S 50TH YEAR