Latest news

016

                                 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion Photos and News

The 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion is in the books and was another big success. The event also drew some very talented and prominent photographers.

Check out the following links for some coverage of the event and to see some amazing images.

Thanks to all for making the 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion so special!

http://www.dragstripiron.com/forums/content.php?205-Tucson-Thunderfest-2014

http://www.nostalgiadragworld.com/v2i6-billotttucson.php

http://arizonaautoscene.com/archives/36525

https://www.facebook.com/mike.bieke/media_set?set=a.10203803221623615.1311771608&type=3

http://davekommel.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Tucson-Dragway-Reunion-2014/C0000WL5sHKQUd_0

http://www.dragracingonline.com/raceresults/2014/xvi_5-wfa-1.html

http://arizonaautoscene.com/archives/36518

https://www.facebook.com/jim.vipmodelshoots/media_set?set=a.784599184891243.1073741843.100000235057443&type=3

022

Frank Townsend remembered
at the Tucson Reunion

franke

The Arizona auto racing community lost a real friend with the recent passing of Frank Townsend.  Frank was involved with hot rodding and auto racing from the 50’s and was successful in drag racing, sports car racing, in stock car racing and at the dry lakes.

Frank built and drove a host of successful cars through the years. He built and competed in a series of sports cars, some of which have been restored and have appeared at prestigious events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca.  He raced a Pontiac GTO in Stock and Super Stock at drag strips in the 60’s notching up a number of wins at tracks in California and Arizona.  He also built a 67 Chevelle that raced in NASCAR events (including at Riverside Raceway) and was highly successful as a driver in stock car events on dirt locally.  The photos below show only some of Frank’s efforts.  Frank was also a member of the Arizona Drag Race Hall of Fame.  More recently he operated a speed shop in Tucson.

Frank’s friends have gathered a number of his cars together for a special display at the Tucson Dragway Reunion this Saturday night, May 17th at Southwestern International Raceway.  Stop by, see some historic race cars, and share some memories of a real racer and friend to many.

 collage

K88Kaboom

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.

Paul’s wife Connie (who sadly passed away in 2013) was always a big part of Paul’s racing activities and the construction of this car.

The Henderson S&E Top Fueler will be among the historic race cars at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 17, 2014 at Southwestern International Raceway and will be a participant in the Nitro Blast.

Connie Henderson in the seat of the S&E TF Dragster

Connie Henderson in the seat of the S&E TF Dragster

The Henderson Dragster alongside Speed Sport

The Henderson Dragster alongside Speed Sport

CHRR2

Paul in the seat at the California Hot Rod Reunion Cacklefest

Paul in the seat at the California Hot Rod Reunion Cacklefest

The S&E Top Fuel Dragsters

The S&E Top Fuel Dragsters

Pauls car3

The S&E K-88 racing Speed Sport back in the day

The S&E K-88 racing Speed Sport back in the day

Paul Henderson, John Becker, Larry Steinegger & Albert Eshenbaugh in the 60′s

"Period Correct" dragster, trailer, restored GMC tow vehicle, and wife Connie!

“Period Correct” dragster, hand built trailer, restored GMC tow vehicle, and wife Connie!

1957 NHRA Nationals Top Elimnator Buddy Sampson with Al Eshenbaugh in the seat

1957 NHRA Nationals Top Eliminator Buddy Sampson with 1958 Top Eliminator runner-up Al Eshenbaugh in the seat

 

981925_10201171180344228_169644042_o

The 2013 Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion

!cid_part4_04060306_07000302@Verizon

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 2014 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 17th!

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/376065049160480/

 

The Arfons Brothers in front of the family business

The Arfons Brothers in front of the family business

!cid_part3_04080004_05010800@Verizon

 

The Monster in 1956

The Monster in 1956

 

The Monster at the Concours d' Elegance of America

The Monster at the Concours d’ Elegance of America

Charlie Hall, Dan Rusk and Jon Rowley unwrapping the Monster in 2009 after decades in hibernation

Charlie Hall, Dan Rusk and Jon Rowley unwrapping the Monster in 2009 after decades in hibernation

Jon Rowley in the seat of the Green Monster

Jon Rowley in the seat of the Green Monster

Back in the day...

Back in the day…

At a race in the 50′s

 

Drag racing history will be at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 18th

Drag racing history will be at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 18th

The 2013 Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion

 

 _MG_5313

One of the most beautifully restored Top Fuel dragsters in the country is coming to the Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 17, 2014.

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.

Anaconda

The Anaconda lighting up the night!

 

Bob Hirsch in the Anaconda

Bob Hirsch in the Anaconda

_MG_5266

IMG1523

IMG4

The Anaconda returning to the pits after a fire up

The Anaconda returning to the pits after a fire up

 

Some quiet time before the storm

Some quiet time before the storm

 

The beautiful craftsmanship of Tom Hanna

The beautiful craftsmanship of Tom Hanna

ana2

976920_10201171347668411_58771208_o

941498_4873937891382_1318701379_n

 

The Olde Timer Top Fuel Dragster is coming to Tucson

004 red

The Olde Timer Top Fuel Dragster will be one of the many cars on display and making noise at the Old Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion on Saturday night May 17, 2013 at Southwestern International Race­way.

The Olde Timer was built in 1965 by the Woody Gilmore’s famed Race Car Engineering, the home of the fastest dragsters in the country in the 60’s. The car went through several owners and was purchased in 2003 by Jim Frye and Bruce Gonzales, two longtime friends from Phoenix who had worked together for many years and were die hard, front motor dragster fans. They completely restored the dragster with the able help of Don Waldschmidt, a former Southern Californian who was part of the fuel dragster scene in the 60’s. The crew equipped the car with a supercharged, nitro burning Chrysler motor.

In 2004 the car made its first trip to the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield and has been a regular there ever since. For the last three years the car was driven in the Cacklefest by Paul Sutherland, who worked at Race Car Engineering when the car was built and was a very successful fuel dragster driver in the 60’s. The beautiful dragster is a regular at major car shows and other events.

The Olde Timer will be on display and doing fire ups at the Reunion and will be part of the Nitro Blast on Saturday night. It will also be at the free Friday night Meet & Greet Party at SIR and will light up the night with a fire up at that event.

 For more information on theTucson Dragway Reunion go to http://tucsondragway.net/  and https://www.facebook.com/events/376065049160480/

NIGHT RAIL

 

The Olde Timer posse having too much fun!

The Olde Timer posse having too much fun!

007

Ole Timer 1

The 2013 Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion

Tucson 2012 072

13421_4873937091362_794333999_n

SWO

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 one of the best of the breed on display and running on May 17th.

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.

For more info on the Reunion go to the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/376065049160480/

2012

2012

1963

1963

Blown Olds powerplant

Blown Olds powerplant

576705_4755513767494_1670022432_n 942501_4873935291317_1777134749_n

 

The 2013 Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion

The gang years ago

The gang years ago

 

IMG_0830

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 !cid_part6_09090106_07090003@Verizon

One of the most famous cars in the history of drag racing is the Speed Sport Roadster. The team, led by Red Greth, burst onto the scene in the 50’s and won races at every track they travelled to. The innovative nitromethane burning roadster was far ahead of its time and was the first success­ful rear-engined drag racing car.

Speed Sport raced all over the country taking on the cream of the crop in drag racing and usually sent them home on the trailer. The team held the National elapsed time and top speed records and was also on the Drag News Top Ten Fuel Car List for years.

The restored Speed Sport Roadster has also been the star of many car shows and nostalgia drag racing events.  The original Roadster is one of the historic race cars on display at the NHRA Motorsports Museum.

The Speed Sport Roadster, and Arizona Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and International Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Red Greth, will be in attendance at the Tucson Dragway Reunion at Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson on Saturday night, May 17, 2014.  In addition to going down the track, the Roadster will be making noise and lighting up the night in the Nitro Blast at the end of the event.

For more background on the Speed Sport Roadster restoration and the history of the team that will be at the Tucson Dragway Reunion go to http://cacklefest.com/SpeedSport.shtml

For more info on the Reunion and more photos of the Speed Sport Roadster go to the event website at http://tucsondragway.net/ and the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/376065049160480/

Turney-Photo-1

Red with Don Maynard

SpeedSport_TopBanana_Shubie01_04-09-2005

Speed Sport alongside Don Prieto’s Top Banana at Inyokern

Speed Sport vs. the Green Monster

Speed Sport vs. the Green Monster

Speed Sport and Silver Dollar

Speed Sport spotting the Silver Dollar Gasser at San Diego Raceway

speedsport

Speed Sport getting a push start from Steve Gibbs’ Ford

Turney-Photo-3

Red with the Trophy Girl…back in the day

!cid_41F68140B8DD4B1AB75B83021CBD5388@TurneyPC

Speed Sport racing a dragster in the 50′s

Pat Hayhurst pushing starting Speed Sport

Pat Hayhurst pushing starting Speed Sport

April302012

 

Speed Sport at the '13 Tucson Reunion

Speed Sport at the ’13 Tucson Reunion

 

Rusk

 

Drag racing and Arizona lost a friend with the passing of Ray Ferry in Tucson on April 19, 2014.  Ray was born in 1936 and got into drag racing in the late 1950′s.  He was involved with a series of Power King dragsters up until the time of his death.  His last car, running in current nostalgia dragster trim, was the fastest 354 Chrysler powered dragster in history running a 6.23 at 223 mph (with iron heads, no wing and no computer!).

Ray was a fearless driver, an amazing machinist, and a fine engine builder.  Most of all, he was a really good man.  Ray and the Power King were part of the show last year at the Tucson Reunion, even though he was very ill, and he had recently gone through the car and was planning on attending again this year.

The release below is what was run last year on Ray and the Power King dragsters.  It will give you more history on Ray and his dragsters.

The services will be at Evergreen in Tucson on Saturday April 26 at 2 pm.  A get together will be held after at the Elks Club.  The funeral notice will be in the Arizona Daily Star on Thursday and Friday.

 The Power King Dragsters

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!

 

photo1

The first Power King Dragster

photo5

L to R: Ray Ferry, John Patrick, Ronnie Root and Lloyd Earle

The Power King out front at Bee Line

The Power King out front at Bee Line

The Power King dragster that will be at the Reunion in the staging lanes

The Power King dragster that will be at the Reunion in the staging lanes

Dee Charles up, 178.96@8.41, Tucson

photo2 copy

June 1, 1963

 

!cid_part1_05010409_01020400@Verizon

The Special Car Display Area

Returns to the Reunion

In addition to non-stop action on the track and in the pits, the Reunion will again host the Special Car Display Area for pre-’73 street rods, hot rods, race cars, and custom cars.

Best of all:  Participation in the Special Car Display Area is absolutely free!  You pay only the $10 general admission.  You get to park inside the track area in the pits next to all of the action and participate in the Special Car Display Area for free.

The photos below show the diversity and quality of the many beautiful cars that were on display during past events.

For info on the Special Car Display Area call Joe and Nancy Owens at (520) 955-1331.

More details on the Tucson Dragway Reunion set for May 17, 2014 are available on the event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/376065049160480/ and on the website: http://tucsondragway.net/

Thanks to Lee Schelin and Jim Kelso for the images.

!cid_part6_06010206_05070304@Verizon

yellow hot rod

IMG_1496

white car

grey truck

301742_331978576867368_100001656840253_955420_824918445_n

!cid_part3_07030009_03090505@Verizon

JKP_D3A7720

!cid_part1_07000501_03040603@Verizon

!cid_part3_02070805_08020000@Verizon