Our thanks to all of you who made this year’s Tucson Dragway Reunion such a huge success. We were blessed with a cool Tucson evening, had a record number of great cars in the pits and going down the track, the grandstands were full all night long, the pit area was always crowded with spectators, the car display area had over 200 hot rods and custom cars, the Nitro Blast at the end of the event had the spectators on their feet clapping and cheering, and most of all, many old friends got to see each other, new friendships were started, and a lot of bench racing took place (some of it even true!).
A very special thank you goes out to the Standard 1320 drag racing group for supporting the event.
A number of photographers attended the event and their images are available through the links posted on the event Facebook page.
We welcome your suggestions to help improve the event and make it even better next year. Please post your suggestions on the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/106292232861298/?notif_t=plan_user_invited or send them to email@example.com.
We are looking forward to making next year’s event even more spectacular.
Jim Broome’s beautiful Candies & Hughes Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car will be lighting up the night this coming weekend at the Tucson Reunion.
Jim Broome has just acquired the John Powers Camaro Nitro Funny Car. It will also be running at the Reunion.
Hot rodders in the 50′s would run the same car one weekend at the drags, the next at the Lakes, and then compete in a road race. Tucson’s Frank Townsend, an Arizona Drag Racing Hall of Fame member, was no different. Frank built and raced this beautiful sports car in the 50′s, then lost track of it in the years that followed. Owen Gibson found the car in a field and completely restored it, finishing the project in 2006. The car has competed in the Monterey Historic races at Laguna Seca and will be at the Reunion. For more on the car, and Owen’s other restorations, go to http://www.t2vrestoration.com/
The Sidewinder is a unique Top Fuel Dragster with the engine mounted sideways in the chassis. The car was built at JT Stewart’s Dynamic Machine in Phoenix and will be driven at the Reunion by NHRA National event winner Johnny West.
Joe Thomas raced the wild and wooly Beaver Hunter Fuel Altered and won race after race in the 60′s. The car has been restored to its former glory and will be at the Reunion.
Drag racing in the 50′s & 60′s saw many cars powered by diverse and unique engine combinations. The Inliners and Flatheaders groups will be bringing some of these creative race cars to the Reunion to run and to show.
Pro Mod is one of the fastest growing and most exciting classes in drag racing today. The Tucson Reunion will have these two supercharged Pro Mod Trucks running this Saturday night.
One of the most beautifully restored Top Fuel dragsters in the country is coming to the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 18, 2013.
In the mid 1960’s Marvin Schwartz went to work at the shop of drag racing legend Don Garlits building chassis, tuning motors, and later driving a dragster for Garlits. In 1967, Marvin received the financial backing (rumored to be Chicago Mafia money) needed to build the Anaconda. Schwartz reworked a Garlits chassis and took it to master fabricator Tom Hanna who created the swoopy aluminum body with the serpent nose piece and full tail section. Painter to the stars of drag racing George Cerny applied the dazzling finish and Tom Kelly did the lettering and striping. The car successfully competed around the United States at many events. Bob Frey, the long-time NHRA National event announcer, has described “Starvin’ Marvin’s” dragster as “one of the most beautiful dragsters ever made.”
In 2006 Schwartz’s widow, Christina, gave permission to Bob Hirsch to restore one of the Anaconda chassis and to recreate the body. Hirsch did extensive research to be able to properly bring the car back to its previous glory. Master craftsmen from many disciplines in drag racing participated in the project to recreate the Anaconda including Tom Kelly who reapplied his original lettering and striping (with the addition of the eye on the nose).
Make sure to attend the Tucson Dragway Reunion and check out the amazing restoration of a truly beautiful 1960’s Top Fuel dragster…the Anaconda.
If you have ever looked behind the wheel of the push truck of a Steinegger & Eshenbaugh Top Fuel dragster or World Record holding Bonneville roadster, from the 1950’s to date, the face you saw was that of Paul Henderson. Paul has been a friend of Larry Steinegger & Al Eshenbaugh since the 50’s (Larry was the best man at Paul & wife Connie’s wedding), drove dragsters briefly himself, and has been around drag racing for more years than he can remember.
In 2005 Larry and Paul decided to recreate the first Steinegger & Eshenbaugh dragster that ran in 1961-62. Larry passed away before the car was completed and Paul hand crafted the car as an exact replica of the Chassis Research K-88 blown Chrysler engined car that S&E successfully campaigned. The new car debuted as a runner at the 2009 California Hot Rod Reunion and has been a participant in the Cacklefest at the CHRR and a number of car shows and other events.
One of the most unique features of the car is the wrap on the body instead of paint. The wrap is made up of scanned photographs and newspaper clippings of Steinegger & Eshenbaugh through the years. It literally is a rolling history of S&E.
The Henderson S&E Top Fueler will be among the historic race cars at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 18, 2013 at Southwestern International Raceway and will be a participant in the Nitro Blast.
In the summer of 1959 two Tucson residents in their early twenties, John Patrick and Ray Ferry, built a Top Fuel dragster literally by hand in their garage. Virtually every part of the car, from chassis to engine, was built by the talented duo on their own. They designed and welded the chassis together, Patrick built the motors, and Ferry (a master machinist) fabricated the parts needed. The car rolled on to the dragstrip sporting a virtually stock 354 inch Chrysler hemi with Stromberg carbs. The dragster, driven by Ferry, started winning right from the start. The two men quickly starting adding parts, first a blower and then fuel injection, in the search for more speed. The dragster continued winning and picked up sponsorship from Power King Batteries and Chrome Inc. The Power King dragster (as it became known) was the first car in Arizona to go over 180 miles an hour and notched up wins all over Arizona and in Southern California. The team raced a series of Power King dragsters through 1966 when families and jobs caused them to leave the race track.
Fast forward almost 40 years…. In 2005 John Patrick (then living in Florida and who was Chris Karamesines’ brother in law) was visiting Tucson when a long evening together with Ferry rekindled the flame and plans for a new Power King dragster got underway. Once again the duo built the car themselves by hand, from chassis to engine. A number of local racers lent a helping hand including Ted Sitterley from the Speed Sport team and Larry Steinegger from Steinegger & Eshenbaugh. The car was powered by what the guys were familiar with: an iron 354 Chrysler that was very old school and up against much more modern equipment in the new Nostalgia Top Fuel class. With talented sportsman driver (and skilled jeweler and goldsmith) Dan Rusk in the seat, the car raced from the CHRR to Bowling Green and Indy, running in the low sixes at over 223 miles an hour. It is the quickest and fastest 354 Chrysler engined dragster in history.
The car was parked in 2009, but will return to the dragstrip at the Tucson Dragway Reunion, now sporting an all aluminum 425 cubic inch Chrysler and other new pieces, with Dan Rusk again in the seat.
Come out and see another famous Tucson team that has been racing together since the 1950’s at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on Saturday, May 18th, at Southwestern International Raceway. Ray Ferry and the rest of the Power King crew will be doing what they love to do: making a lot of noise and smoke at over 200 miles an hour!
Don’t forget the big kick off party on Friday night, May 17th, at SIR to meet the drivers and see some of the cars that will be running at the Reunion the next day. There is no admission charge for spectators on Friday night!
The Western Fuel Altereds Fuel Altered Nationals will run on Saturday Night, May 18 in conjunction with the Tucson Dragway Reunion at Southwestern International Raceway.
The Nationals are shaping up to be even bigger than first announced with a minimum of 8 altereds competing. All of the fuel altereds will run at 6 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. The two fastest cars of the night will return for the finals at 9:30 p.m. to face off for the championship. All cars will also make qualifying passes at 4 p.m.
The WFA Fuel Altered Nationals is sponsored by Cell Trees, Inc. and Unified Services Termite & Pest Control.
In addition to the Nationals, there will be a car show display area, nostalgia dragsters and funny cars making noise all evening long, historic race cars on display, nostalgia race cars running down the track all night long, and the big Nitro Blast to cap off the festivities.
Gates officially open at 4 p.m., but spectators may enter earlier.
A special treat for fans at the Tucson Dragway Reunion will be the appearance of the first Budweiser-sponsored funny car of World Champion Kenny Bernstein. In 1979 Bernstein parlayed a race postponement into the Budweiser sponsorship that he proudly carried for more than 20 years. When rain delayed the running of the NHRA Cajun Nationals at Baton Rouge, LA, he quickly concocted an opportunity for a sponsorship pitch to Anheuser-Busch management at their headquarters in St. Louis, MO. He hustled his race transporter from Louisiana to Missouri to have his car and trailer proudly on display when the brewer’s employees reported to work on Monday morning. Bernstein’s bold maneuver, and the accompanying presentation, rewarded him with Budweiser sponsorship for the 1980 season and launched the first “Budweiser King” Funny Car.
The car was retired from racing in 1982 and stored until it was purchased by Wayne and Carolyn Galligan in 2004 who then began a painstaking 3 year restoration of this historic race car. Wayne has raced a number of different drag race cars and moved to Arizona in 1978 where he opened a successful custom motorcycle shop. The Bud King has been shown at a number of major events. It will be on display and making noise at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 18th.
For more info on the Reunion go to the event website at
http://tucsondragway.net/ and the event Facebook page at
In the 1960’s one of the most popular classes in drag racing was the Gas Coupe, or “Gasser,” class. The cars were older, stock appearing coupes with monster engines. They were fast, noisy, generally pretty evil handling, and provided some very close and exciting racing. The class became a real battleground for major camshaft manufacturers that sponsored different cars and ran ads in racing publications proclaiming the superiority of their products over all others based upon the racing results of their cars. The Tucson Dragway Reunion will have two of the best of the breed on display and running on May 18th.
The Seevers, Wiesner and Owens A-Gas Supercharged ’33 Willys was built in the 60’s by Dean Seevers, Del Wiesner and Harold Owens, then living in Colorado. Throughout the 60’s the team raced the fastest Gassers in the sport such as Stone, Woods and Cook, John Mazmanian, George Montgomery, K.S.Pittman, and the Mallicoat Brothers, just to name a few. The car was the National Record holder in 1964 and ran in the ’64 Winternationals. The gasser was retired in 1966, but restored in 2003. Since the full restoration, this beautiful car has run at the California Hot Rod Reunion and the National Hot Rod Reunion. In 2009 the car was honored along with 50 other nostalgic race cars at the NHRA’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
Stored since 1965, the Silver Dollar 1941 Willys truck is truly a time capsule. The original owner and driver, Mike Bamber, built it in 1957, later decided that it was time to quit racing, but kept the truck, storing it in his barn. Forty years later a close friend of Bamber’s bought the truck, pulled it out of the barn, and found that it was exactly as it looked forty years before.
Back in the day Bamber raced the Tucson’s Speed Sport Roadster and a number of the most famous Gassers of the period.
This truck, powered by a supercharged motor, retains all of its original lettering, complete with “241” written in shoe polish from the last time it raced at legendary Lions Drag Strip. This Gasser has been on display at the SEMA Show and featured in a cover story in Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. The tuck is presently owned by Tucson’s Hi Speed Rods & Customs and will be part of the shop’s big car display at the Tucson Dragway Reunion. http://www.hispeedcustoms.com/
For more info on the Reunion go to the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/106292232861298/?notif_t=plan_user_invited
The Green Monsters are some of the most unique cars in the history of drag racing. Monster #5, originally built and campaigned in the late 1950’s by the Arfons brothers of Akron, Ohio, and powered by a 1710 cubic inch, V-12, supercharged Allison aircraft engine, will be at the 2013 Tucson Dragway Reunion.
Green Monster #5 raced in the first five NHRA Nationals and competed all over the United States as part of the Arfons team that is credited as being the first member of the NHRA 150 mph club, the first cars to have parachutes at a national event, and the first integrated roll cages. The Monster’s engine, which came out of a World War II fighter plane, develops 2,000 horsepower and needs dual slicks just to hold it to the pavement.
In the early 1960’s brothers Art and Walt Arfons each held the World Land Speed record at Bonneville several times. Walt is credited with building the first jet powered dragster.
The Green Monster #5 has a real Tucson history. It was purchased by Tucsonan Charlie Hall in 1959, raced some by him, and then went into cold storage for decades. In 2009 local drag racer Jon Rowley and his wife Peggy acquired the Monster and carefully restored it to its prior glory. The Monster is a star at major automotive events and nostalgia drag races throughout the United States.
Tucson’s own Speed Sport Roadster amd the Green Monster raced each other in the 1950′s and traded the title of the fastest car in drag racing back and forth. Don’t be surprised if you see the Monster and Speed Sport pull to the starting line together at the Tucson Dragway Reunion this May 18th!
For more photos of the Green Monster and more info on the Reunion go to the event website at http://tucsondragway.net/ and the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/106292232861298/?notif_t=plan_user_invited