How Firebird Raceway got its start

Posted at 1:50 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 15:50:10-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Roadster Show starts March 11, supported by its sponsor Firebird Raceway. It may not be the largest drag strip in the country, but most racers will tell you it's one of the best — and that's because of people who run it.

Scott New and his three siblings who run Firebird Raceway grew up in the business. Their legendary dad, Bill New, was a hot rodder who moved to Boise in 1948 and wanted to start a track.

"It was just a real family affair," says New. "The neighborhood we lived in in Boise all came out to sell hot dogs and soda pop."

Firebird Raceway opened in 1968 and it wasn't long before the biggest drivers in the business were lighting up the track.

"Big Daddy Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney both Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen. Snake and the Mongoose. John Force the most famous funny car racer of all time raced here 15-16 years."

But you didn't have to be a superstar to race.

Grant Petersen, who spent a lot of time racing at Firebird, knows why.

"I'd be remiss if I didn't say, drag racing is far out! That used to be one of the commercials on the radio." said Petersen. "They're special people. They have a special family they're great promoters. And I'm proud to call them friends and family."

Over the years, the track has changed. A new tower went in in 2010 and the track keeps up on all the latest modern gadgets. Firebird has 56 events on the calendar this year starting with the Roadster Show.

And after being cooped up during COVID-19, there's a lot of gearheads who can't wait to hear the roar of competition.

"People need things that are fun to look forward to and here just about every weekend we've got activities going on at the raceway," New said.

And what will they do when electric cars replace the roar? Scott says it won't matter.

"It's way more than a business to us, it's a way of life," he said.

The special guests at this year's Roadster Show are custom car designers Dave Kindig and Kev Dogg.

The 49th Annual Roadster Show starts this Friday and runs through Sunday at Expo Idaho.