When Nitro Fest began, Grand Marshall Steve Gibbs with his wife Gloria pushed Pioneer Red Greth down the track in his renowned Speed Sport Special. This was a fitting Tucson memory as Red and Lyle Fisher were always from Tucson. The San Gabriel Drag O Way Jacket on the front of the car is a tribute to Steve Gibb’s first track manager’s job.

A crowd favorite all the way from Ohio was the #134 Altered Coupe of Joe Morrison. The car is not only beautiful, but put on a great ‘burn out’ show for the horde of fans.

Featured in the parade was the beautifully restored Hawaiian dragster complete with original builder, Roland Leong! Holding the mike is parade MC Jon Lundberg.

Meanwhile in the newly painted tower, we caught up with Casey Araiza and Matt DeYoung. Casey is the Director of Operations for Racing Net Source, parent company to Drag Racing Online as well as Mopar Max, while Matt is the Tucson Dragway track manager.


Arizona Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductees were Thelma Goosic, Dan Rusk, Jon Rowley, and the trio of Eddie Pauling, Ed Phillips and Bill Brawner.


Aside from a windy condition Saturday afternoon, the event seemed like a near perfect tribute to Drag Racing’s rich and deep history. The Reunion was enhanced by recent construction of Nostalgia cars for display at events like the ‘Good VibrationsTucson Dragway Reunion. We are looking forward to next year.

Popular Hal Sabguinetti drove his Chevy powered dragster to a semi-final finish. Hal worked hard to promote this reunion, and even sponsored a special ‘test’ session on Thursday afternoon for serious racers.

Nostalgia Eliminator ‘B’ went to Ed Wilson driving a period perfect ’63 Corvette. Ed had to meet and defeat the wild ’74 Chevy Nova of Orlando Galvez, called the Witch Doctor.


Nostalgia Eliminator ‘D’ went to Steve Dolan.

Jim Maroney and the Candies & Hughes  Dodge Challenger (lead photo) was not the only Funny Car at the event. Shown above is the just completed Doug Thorley Corvair F/C from the 1965 era. We remember a night at Beeline Dragway when Doug’s car won over a large field of wild so-called Funnies in front of a record crowd, in 1966.

Trevor Larkin made the Nitro exhibit with his beautiful ‘Back in Black’ Nostalgia F/C

Along with the huge Nostalgia show, the Western Fuel Altereds took the stage starting at 6 pm Saturday with their complete regular program. A good field of 10 cars made the first round and gave the gathering crowd a great show.  When the last run was made late Saturday, Sheldon Lofgreen with the ‘turbocharged’ entry had quietly won the meet.

The evening qualifying action pitted ‘Rush vs Rust’ as the defending series Champ Rust Bucket from Flagstaff raced the Chevrolet powered Rush roadster from Sierra Vista!


The largest Nostalgia field was Hot Rod Eliminator, just as it was in Bakersfield, and the final was between a roadster and a door car.

At the stripe, John Chastain and his hard charging Chevelle held off Doug Wagner’s blown Chevy powered roadster!

Nostalgia Eliminator A went to Tom Tourek driving a classic red ’55 Chevrolet gasser. We recently saw Tom taking on the wild Nostalgia A/Gas field at Wild Horse Pass during the NHRA Heritage event.



“What is the Tucson Dragway Reunion”? To this writer it is very much like the CHRR in Bakersfield while both events are reminiscent of ‘Woodstock’ for music lovers. It was not a drag race, but it did feature some drag racing; it was not just a car show, however there was a car show area, plus a horde of Nostalgic dragsters on display; it was not a Hall of Fame gathering but it did present the 2017 crop of the Arizona Drag Racing Hall of Fame with their plaques.


Following is a bird’s eye view of the Good Vibration’ Tucson Dragway Reunion for 2017. We have captured over 1,000 photos of the three-day event. Some of the highlights are offered here for your enjoyment!

The Grand Marshall display was center stage in the pit area and drew a lot of attention. Shown here are Steve Gibbs’ 1950 Ford Coup along with two Speed Sport Special roadsters. Veteran Red Greth was on hand to assist with showing the Speed Sport car that he and Lyle Fisher built and raced to stardom with in the ‘50s.

All the action was under watchful eyes from the newly painted Tucson Dragway tower with the present owner’s Kenny Youngblood graphic. We were informed by Agent 1320 that the redecorated building was completed in time with lots of help from Jim Hughes. It will become a drag racing icon much like the arch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the round tower at Orange County International Raceway.

Mentioning OCIR reminds me that a young intern there in 1967, NHRA Feature Announcer Mike English (also the Voice of Bakersfield) was the main announcer for the Tucson Dragway Reunion.

VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 5 - May  2017


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