The Tucson Dragway
When you think about which states serve as a breeding ground for drag racing and speed racing, certain states instinctively come to mind. As an avid racing fan, you might think of Indiana, Georgia, The Carolinas, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and the southern states. In all honesty, there are a lot of states that have had an impact on the country’s rich auto racing history.
However, one state that doesn't always get its due share of respect and recognition as an auto racing state is none other than Arizona. Several well-known tracks include the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Phoenix International Speedway, Tucson Raceway Park, the now inoperative Manzanita Speedway and the doomed Phoenix Street Circuit. In addition to a host of other factors, the climate in Arizona, especially Tucson, is ideal for automotive racers and collectors because the weather doesn’t damage the cars as much as it does in many other regions in the country.
While the most renowned dragway in Arizona remains the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, it shares the spotlight with another legendary and iconic dragway from history; the Tucson Dragway. Drag racing has been around for many years in Tucson, and you can trace back its roots to as early as 1960.
The original Tucson Dragway opened its doors for its very first race in April 1964 under the sanction of the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA). The grand opening race on April 19 attracted over 6,000 spectators from across the state. The race was an unforgettable moment in drag racing history as Jimmy Nix set a new world record in his S/FX Dodge Charger clocking in an astounding speed of 135.33 mph. On April 26, 1964, Red Greth and Lyle Fisher won Top Fuel Eliminator (TFE) with a speed of 193.66 mph. This drag strip is very near and dear to the heart of the NHRA’s Lead Track Announcer, Alan Reinhart. He recalls that he would bring his dirtbike to race with his friends at a nearby Motocross track and one night he came across a Funny Car race and fell in love with drag racing. As soon as he got his driver's license, he would race there and eventually start announcing races. The rest, as they say, is history!
After the 1985 AHRA Winter Nationals, the original Tucson Dragway was permanently shut down because of reports of illegal smuggling operations being run through it. Drag racing seemed dead in Tucson, however, shortly after a new track opened its doors to race fans, the Southwestern International Speedway. The SIR was built as a ¼ mile asphalt drag strip and was later re-branded as the Tucson Dragway. Since its opening, it has hosted countless IHRA and AHRA events, but it’s currently affiliated with the NHRA. The Tucson Dragway is located a few minutes south of Interstate 10, near the Pima County Fairgrounds, and is currently one of the most active drag strips in the US. The 2021 calendar has more than 65 events lined up for the year.
The Tucson Dragway has an exciting line-up of automotive events such as Reunion Races, Summit Series Team Races, Friday Night Drags, Wednesday Night Drags, and even Grudge racing. However, one of the most highly anticipated drag racing events coming to the Tucson Dragway in 2021 is the Season 4 Street Outlaws No Prep Kings’ races on the 21st and 22nd of May. No Prep Kings is a ruthless and fierce drag racing competition that brings together the fastest underground street racers in America to compete for the title of “No Prep King” as well as a huge cash prizes. Don’t miss the chance to witness the action, book your tickets now!