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EAGLE, Idaho -- The founder and owner of one of the western United State's most respected racetracks has passed away.

Billy Joe New made his first trip to idaho in 1948 with $10 in his pocket. Twenty years later, he started up the region's biggest drag strip off highway 16 between Emmett and Eagle. For the next 46 years, New and Firebird Raceway hosted some of the state's biggest events.

Depite his Arizona origins, the 80-year-old considered himself one-hundred-percent Idahoan.

Friends and family will gather to reflect on his lifeSaturday at 2 p.m. at the Riverside Hotel in Boise.

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