Remembering . . .

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Arizona
Drag Strips

Gas Ronda, Beeline Dragway, 1965. Courtesy of Paul Hutchins

Casa Grande

  • Casa Grande Municipal Airport, 1950s


On State Route 87 from Tucson to Phoenix, just north of Casa Grande, there was a strip in the late '50s which ran the third Sunday of each month. I won A/SA there, my first official trophy. It was inscribed CGTA Class Winner.
Jim Baker

Marana

  • Marana Army Air Field, 1952

I was there for the first race in 1952 (I think?). My father was a Highway Patrol officer. The motorcycles were the fastest. I think Rodger Macluskey was there. Great memories!
Dave Smith
  • Marana Army Air Field, 1953

I drove in my first drag race at Marana in early 1953. I only had a learner's permit, but no one cared. I remember Lyle Fisher spinning donuts in the dirt, Billy Herbert on his Velocette motorcycle, and all the other young racers.
Ted Sitterley
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Ted Sitterley's '40 coupe that he ran at Marana and Davis-Monthan. Photo taken in 1953 in the side yard of his parent's house. Courtesy of Ted Sitteley

Perryville

  • Perryville Airstrip, 1961

I raced my B/Comp Coupe in 1961 at Phoenix's Perryville Drag Strip when I was in high school. It was a 301 Chevy, 2-speed stick. I also raced this at Half Moon Bay. At that time it was the team of Barnes-Tolmack. Terry Tolmack drove the car at Half Moon Bay. In 1962 I moved to California and designed for Jardine Headers and later owned S&S Headers. 
Loren Barnes
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Terry Tolmack standing by his B/CC that he raced at Perryville in 1961 Also shown are some of the trophies that he won.. Courtesy of Loren Barnes
  • Perryville Airstrip, 1961

I remember going out there to the Perryville Airstrip with my brother's crew of three and a half. I was the half at about twelve years old. He also raced a '57 Chevy and an old Fiat and a '41 Ford. Mostly at Half Moon Bay after moving back from Phoenix.

Tom Tolmack

Scottsdale

  • Bee Line Dragway, 1965-69

I got out of the Navy on Monday, 25 January 1965 at Norfolk and I was at Beeline on Thursday for the 1965 AHRA Winter Nationals. All the big hitters were there . . . Garlits. Kalitta, Malone, The Greek, Warren & Coburn, Frantic Four,  Danny Ongais. Tom McEwen, Ramchargers. The new altered wheelbase Sox & Martin Mopar was there for their first  major event. I was in Tempe at ASU and racing with the Hallcraft Homes team at Beeline from 1965 through 1969.  We raced a  B/Gas Anglia and Bill Pennington's Chevy II.
Paul Hutchins
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Hallcraft Homes B/G Anglia, Bee Line Dragway. Courtesy of Paul Hutchins
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Ronnie Sox, altered-wheelbase Hemi Plymouth, Bee Line Dragway, 1965 AHRA Winter Nationals. Courtesy of Paul Hutchins
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Hayden Proffitt, Mercury Comet A/FX, Bee Line Dragway, 1965.  Courtesy of Paul Hutchins
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Gordon Collett's AA/D, Bee Line Dragway, 1965 AHRA Winternationals. Courtesy of Paul Hutchins
Ramchargers T/F dragster, Bee Line Dragway, 1965 AHRA Winternationals. Courtesy of Paul Hutchins
  • Bee Line Dragway, 1963-65

I raced at Beeline in 63-65. I had a '50 Pontiac straight 8, then a Ford Falcon 289 V8, It had a Cobra engine so was still considered factory stock with a 2 bbl carb. I raced in G Stock Optional. I won several championships and set the track record for a long time. Loved the track.
Steven Collins
  • Bee Line Dragway

My dad owned this car in the 80’s for a short time. It came with some pictures and time slips from that time. 
Jason Maximovich
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Courtesy of Jason Maximovich

Tucson

  • Tucson Dragway, 1979

The AHRA Winternationals held every January in Tuscon was a hugely popular race for years.  Hundreds of cars and about 35,000 spectators every year.  In 1979 there were 114 top comp dragsters there trying to qualify for 32 spots.  Because so many entries showed up they added a second 32 car bracket to make 64.  I won my bracket that year and it was my first National event win.
Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner on starting line for his winning run in Top Comp, Tucson Dragway, 1979 AHRA Winter Nationals. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Marvin Graham faces Don Garlits, Tucson Dragway, 1979 AHRA Winter Nationals. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Marvin Graham in the pits, Tucson Dragway, 1979 AHRA Winter Nationals. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Shelby Jester driving Claud Hodge's Pro Stock Vega, from Lawton, Oklahoma, Tucson Dragway, 1979 AHRA Winter Nationals. Hodges and Jester won the AHRA World Championship in 1978 with this car. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner's motor home, dragster, and race trailer, Tucson Dragway, 1979 AHRA Winter Nationals. . Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
  • Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, 1950s

I ran my '40 coupe at Marana and then Davis Monthan. I ran a ’34 coupe at DM with a flathead in C Gas, but could never beat a guy named Jerry, so took the fenders off and ran C Altered. I also ran a ‘29 A roadster with an Olds in it, turning 100-105. Then I added a big cam, more carbs and hit 116. This was all in the 50’s. Yes, I’m in my eighties. I am partners with Red Greth in the Speed Sport Roadsters, and was a partner in the Power King top fueler which is still the quickest (as far as I know) 354” Chrysler rail ever at 6.21 seconds. We raced it all over the country. Except for Red, all my other guys have passed away - Ray Ferry, John Patrick, Lloyd Earle, David Palmer, Frank Townsend, Larry Steinegger, etc.
Ted Sitterley
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Ted Sitterley's '40 coupe racing against his good friend Joe Herbert in his Pontiac-powered Falcon. Sitterley wrote, "Looks even here, but he won by a mile." Courtesy of Ted Sitterley
  • Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, 1950s

When the car [Speed Sport] was being built, you'll see that the nose piece was very motteled-looking in the photo. The whole idea was to create a fiberglass nose to save weight. So they decided fiberglass was the way to go. They were out driving around and found a trash can in an alley full of fiberglass drapery that was being thrown away. The drapery was the kind that you would buy it decorated with palm trees, palm fronds, and Hawaiian stuff. That's what the nose was made out of. Fiberglass drapes. I don't think fiberglass drapes really caught on. 
Ted Sitterley
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Early construction of Speed Sport roadster. Red Greth (behind car), Lyle Fisher (at the engine), and Don Maynard (sanding the canopy). Courtesy of Ted Sitterley
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Speed Sport running at Davis-Monthan AFB against Bedwell & Emory Cook. Courtesy of Ted Sitterley

Wittman

  • Speedworld Raceway Park, 2013

Regarding the Speedworld track in Arizona. The last day of racing there before it closed was Jan 19, 2013. I was one of the last cars to run there and have a timeslip dated about 10 minutes before the final runs.
Tom Pfeifer
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Tom Pfeifer making one of the last runs at Speedword before the strip closed. . Courtesy of Tom Pfeifer
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Speedworld Raceway Park, closed for good. Photo taken November 2016. . Courtesy of Tom Pfeifer