Razing Arizona Part II: Tucson & South East Arizona

Tucson, AZ, Tucson Dragway:  Local resident, Don Toia blasts his Supercharged ’41 Willis off the line. For many years, the racing needs of the Tucson area were served by Don’s Hot Rod Shop on North Stone and right next door to the ‘Hot Rod Café’.  (Photos by Dougan Lloyd Gary)

Willcox, S.E. Arizona, 2011: Located on Airport Road, due west of downtown Willcox is the new INDE MOTORSPORTS RANCH!  The exotic site features several road courses along with testing facilities and housing for vehicles. It is a professional racing plus for the Sulphur Springs Valley of Arizona, located off I-10 just 70 miles from Tucson. (Photo by Gere Amane)

When this writer was in high school, Willcox, Arizona was our home.  We lived on Airport Road about three miles from the center of town. This road got its name from a WWII airpark another two miles west, where my first drag racing took place. Recently, developers have created a private Motorsports Ranch just beyond the old airport.  I am not certain what type of events will run there, but it is certainly ‘state of the art’ and is open for business. (Note: There is a long straightaway on which an F-86 Saber jet landed.)

Davis-Monthan AFB held monthly drag races, where my formal racing career took the first ‘green flag’. Under the direction of Lyle Fisher, the track continued to meet the needs of Arizona racers for several seasons.  Next, Tucson Dragway was purpose built on Houghton Rd., east of town and just north of I-10. This raceway continued until 1985.  Presently, SIR located just south of I-10 on the same Houghton Rd. and in the Pima County fairgrounds complex, continues to serve area racers with top flight programs under the direction of Jim Thompson.