‘Duel in the Desert’ returns to Tucson March 23-24
Nitro Jam Media
Feb 27, 2012
In 2011 the “Duel in the Desert” was born.
With its first trip to Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson – and the first trip to the southwest in general – the IHRA brought with it an incredible show and some great racing all sandwiched together in two exciting days in March.
On March 23-24 that incredible race returns to the desert for the 2012 running of the Arizona Nitro Jam presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports.
The 2012 Arizona Nitro Jam will be run over two days in late March with a full nitro show accompanying a huge bracket race culminating with another driver earning his way into the 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL.
In the professional ranks four nitro classes will fill the lanes at Southwestern International Raceway highlighted by one of the biggest and best battles of the season in AMSOIL Prostalgia™ Nitro Funny Car. After last year’s incredible race brought the sellout crowd to its feet, the stars of the new hit class return to Tucson to battle it out for bragging rights and a huge win as defending series champion Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” machine battles “Mr. Explosive” Mark Sanders, James Day in “War Eagle” and the Tucson-based race team of the famous “Candies and Hughes” Funny Car driven by Mike Savage. Gallen and Day split the weekend last year.
The Arizona Nitro Jam will also feature the Arizona debut of the 100-percent nitro Pro Fuel Dragster class as 2010 Nitro Jam champion Bill Evans in “Black Pearl” battles Los Angeles native Johnny Ahten, Cherissa Smallwood in the “Nitro and Lace” dragster and Robin Samsel in “Predator” both nights.
Rounding out the nitro classes at the Arizona Nitro Jam are the stars of Fuel Altered and Nitro Harley as the two most extreme classes in the sport return to the desert for four exciting rounds of racing. In the Fuel Altered class defending class champion Ron Maroney in the “Blind Faith” entry will battle rookie sensation Dave Hough in “Nanook”, Jason Richey in “Pure Hell” and Randy Bradford in “Bradford’s Fiat.” In Nitro Harley four of the fastest racers on two wheels will do battle at 220 miles per hour from the back of a motorcycle.
The exhibition portion of the event will feature the return of the Shockwave jet semi in addition to two of the fastest jet dragsters in the country as K.C. Jones brings his “Battle of the Jet Trains” west for the very first time. The side-by-side 300 mph jet dragster battle will feature the famous “Cannonball Express” taking on the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” both nights at the Arizona Nitro Jam.
Wrapping up the evening will be the incredible show put on by Kent Shockley’s 30,000 horsepower Shockwave jet semi. With nearly 30-foot flames and enough power to topple a building, the Shockwave jet semi will bring the event to a close with a finale you will have to see to believe.
In addition to all the on track action, new in 2012 will be a revamped FanFest pit party beginning at 6:30 p.m. both days. The FanFest pit party will feature driver autographs and various activities for racers and fans of all ages prior to the start of the Nitro Jam professional rounds. Racing will get underway both days at 8 p.m.
In sportsman competition the feature IHRA class will be Top Dragster with the winning driver punching a ticket to the 2012 Summit Tournament of Champions. Last year a good turnout of fast dragsters resulted in Surprise, Arizona native Sheldon Gecker taking the first of his two Nitro Jam wins when he defeated Chuck Hawk Jr. in a close race.
Other sportsman competition at the Arizona Nitro Jam will be contested among Southwestern International Raceway’s regulars competing in Top, Modified, Street, Motorcycle and two classes of Junior Dragster. And from that group the single biggest highlights of the March 23-24 event will be the return of the IHRA to the home track of 2011 Summit SuperSeries Modified World Champion Matt Hawk.
Hawk, from right down the road in Tucson, will once again hit the track on his home turf behind the wheel of his championship winning 1970 Maverick to the approval of an expected sellout crowd at the second annual Arizona event. Hawk was the wild card selection in his class last season and used that luck to go four rounds at the IHRA World Finals, eventually resulting in a huge victory over Scott Vaughn in the championship final. The win has made Hawk an overnight racing celebrity in his hometown and now Hawk will have the biggest stage in IHRA to once again showcase his talent.
Don’t miss Arizona’s biggest nitro extravaganza March 23-24 at Southwestern International Raceway! For more information on the event, visit
for complete details.