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Clay Forrester Sets the Record Straight on AZ No Prep Racing and Tucson Dragway’s Jim Hughes’ Efforts to Move it from the Streets to the Track

Ok fellow racers, About 10% of you might know this history and about 5% of those have either forget it, hiding from it or are just especially stupid! So this post is for about 95% of the people who race in the Arizona No Prep Racing series or have ever raced at the end of the track with the Domestic Violence/Cash Days folks. EVERYTHING I say here can be backed up by MANY people. This is not an opinion post, this is a FACTS post and some feelings are going to get hurt here. I’ve tried to ignore all the childish posts, I have better things to do. BUT with all the BS floating around lately, I can no longer bite my tongue.

The beginning.

The concept of having our own no prep racing series started with me a couple of years ago on my Facebook page. Not this particular page, I had a fake one under the name of “Clay Ranger” some of you may remember it. Before that I had a page under the name of Frank Zappa and they both kept getting zapped by Facebook so I went legit with my real name.

In the beginning there was just long threads about what kind of cars and tires sizes. Page after freakin’ page of tire classes. I’m not going to drag this out, just a little idea of how this started.

The next phase was the Arizona No Prep Racing Facebook page to refine the series and get folks all in one place… And it took off like a freakin’ rocket! Then I brought in Jeff Sanders and Don Chavez to help me get it organized. Lots of work but lots of fun. Again, not going to draw this out, just setting the time line. But also note this was a HUGE undertaking with 1000’s of man hours to set this out. Also not Arizona No Prep Racing was ALWAYS going to be at a “Race Track.” Not on the street and not on a runway in the desert. Our goal has ALWAYS been to put more cars at the track and more fans in the stands. It was NEVER about “us”… That will be MORE than clear as this unfolds.

So here we are. We have and idea, we have a Facebook page, we have a name and we are legally incorporated with our own Arizona No Prep Racing back account… Now we just gotta find a track that is willing to take a chance on us and embrace this new type of racing.

The phone call.

When all this was going on the local tracks had gotten wind of it. None had reached out, but they could see where this was going. The Cash Days folks had already been racing on the STREET for quite a while, but illegal street racing was never going to garner the kinda car count we were looking to get. And sponsors??? Forget about it! You’d have to be an idiot to sponsor illegal activity, much less be involved with it. We wanted to go legit and simulate the street type racing surface and have it at a place where folks could watch too. No Prep track racing was big back East, so we wanted to try it too… But with a twist. This is where the 5% folks I talked about above need to start paying attention. Maybe this will stop you from continuing to make an ass outta yourself.

Matt, the track manager at Tucson Dragway and I had many, many phone calls at the beginning. A lot of them were of the “just actually what are you trying to do variety.” LOL. But in a nutshell, THIS is what I pitched to Tucson Dragway while the Cash Days folks where trying to put on a race of their own at a runway in the Desert. I think they were calling it Desert Cash Days if I remember it correctly. Zillions of dollars in “guaranteed” payouts and just as many cars signing up. Oh yeah, we’re gonna get into to too because it directly relates to some of the BS that has popped up lately… but I digress. My phone call to Tucson Dragway regarding No Prep racing is what’s important.

My initial pitch to Matt was to have our races AT THE END OF THE TRACK!!! That’s right folks, THAT is what we wanted to do! We wanted to get off the prepped surface of the track entirely so that it was as close as possible as a “real street racing.” So all you “coat tails” posters can chew on that shit sandwich for a while. Now I can already hear the “but you didn’t have it there so nana, nana boo, boo. You stole our idea!” Bullshit! We didn’t have it there because “at the time” Tucson Dragway had no idea who the hell I was, what would happen, would it be supported, could I do all the stuff I promised and there were also some serious “legal” concerns with racing down there. Folks, Jim was a new track owner and NHRA calls the shots. Before we could EVER hope to get the track owner to go to bat for us there had to be some “lets do it this way first and see how it goes.” And trust me, I pitched EVERYTHING!!! End of the track, start in the middle of the track… And oh yeah, hand drop starts too begin, they wanted to go SLOW with this and I could not blame them. The best I could get from them “at that time” was the HUGE effort to clean all the rubber off the track, wash it and loosen up Tech rules so some of the illegal street racers could race with us… Folks, these are the FACTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arizona No Prep Racing and the No Cash Day follow-up.

Ok, now we are set to have our very first Arizona No Prep Racing event. I think we had 54 cars that showed up to race and lots of support from sponsors! As for payouts, we NEVER promised something that we could not deliver. ALL the money we brought in would go back to the racers in one way or the other… And that exactly what happen… Our racers got PAID!

Meanwhile the Cash Days in the Desert was in trouble. Racing on the runway was out BUT all the prize money was still “guaranteed.” So what happened?? Jim Hughes AGAIN stepping and offered to host their race too… Oh how ironic. But Tucson Dragway, being the professional origination that they are, called me BEFORE they gave them a date. And what did I say? I said I didn’t have a single issue with it, it’s just more cars/fans supporting local tracks, a win-win! So at this point everything is locked in. We have our race and the following weekend Cash Days-out of the Desert will have their race… Simple. WRONG!

As I mentioned above, we had our race and it went off with out a hitch. Tucson Dragway was thrilled and already looking forward to the next no prep event. And after seeing that there were no real problems with No Prep style of racing Tucson Dragway started to give in a little bit… Just a little. They let them to a hand/flashlight start, something that we were not allowed to do… They were just too unsure of all this No Prep stuff BUT were supporting it to their best ability… No hard feeling on that. And ALL the Arizona No Prep Racing folks showed up to support the Cash Days folks.

The Cash Days race the following weekend just about killed all the hard work to into No Prep racing at Tucson Dragway… That is another 100% fact! Not paying the racers the prize money after that race… WOW! The damage control from that for the track and these events that we had just started… WOW! And the freakin’ nerve of some of these same people saying some of the crap they are now. WOW! Folks, this is a SMALL racing community. The ONLY way you are going to keep a secret between two racers is if one of them is dead! FACT!!! I could write a novel on just this subject alone! But I’ll spare those that are still reading at this point. And for those that don’t know about this, Google it, or do a Facebook search, this got national attention… Nuff said!

What now?

Fast forward some here and Arizona No Prep Racing held more events but Jeff and I was looking for a way and a person to hand over Arizona No Prep Racing so we could participate in the series. I’m sure as hell not a promoter, and neither is Jeff. We are racers and want to race! Don Chavez on the other hand was not a racers, and had done some promoting in the past so we all agreed to sign over the ownership, property and Rights to Tucson Dragway, and they would let Don promote it… Jeff and I were now free to race in the series. Well, that lasted for about a race and a half before Don decided he wanted to do his on thing. I could write another novel about what happened during this time but the people who NEED to know, know, so I’ll just leave it at that.

This then that.

The first passes at the end of the track all started after I believe a No Prep race. That’s the only thing I’m not sure about. I know it was a race of some kind, all the usual people were there, and we were in the pits BS-ing with Jim. And the next thing you know is several cars were making test hits down there just to see what would happen. Several cars did it, nobody could get down it without spinning. And up popped the Cash Days street racers wanting to have a race down there. But THIS TIME Jim gave it the OK and racing at the end of the race began. So what about No Prep Racing ON the track? Jim had some ideas about that too AND a proviso for the Cash Days folks. And that’s when the meeting was held between Arizona No Prep racing and the Cash Days and Domestic Violence folks… And yes, even thou I had handed over ANPR to Tucson Dragway, I was at this meeting… So was Jeff. Don was gone now so we were looking at what to do with the “on the track” No Prep racing program.

Now I’m sure this will be a shock to a lot of people, and I’m sure it has been spun so far away from the truth by some people that it will be even more shocking to those folks that know half of it. But this is basically what happened at the meeting. Jim, Jeff and I agreed to move ALL of the No Prep racing events to the end of the track and pull it under the umbrella of the TRACK OWNED Arizona No Prep racing banner. The Cash Days folks would run it, promote it and pick the dates. All they had to do was keep the Arizona No Prep Racing name. The Cash Days and Domestic Violence had to go. Too many bad memories from the No pay out from the one and only race they had on the track… Oh, one more thing, and this is a biggie… Stop being involved with promoting street racing. (pause here and let that sink in) At the meeting EVERYONE agreed to this BUT the next day the Cash Days folks had second thoughts. They wanted to keep the Cash Days name and Domestic Violence name and be SEPARATE from the TRACK OWNED Arizona No Prep Racing organization… Yeah, they told the track owner thanks but no thanks, but we would still be happy to piggy back on your Arizona No Prep Racing events so we don’t have to pay for track rental…. And Jim, God bless him, and the main reason I’m so pissed off about this BS agreed to let them races down there and be a separate event outside of his organization. He believed keeping racers off the street was that important. Oh yeah, folks that part of the agreement did NOT go away. Jim would give these folks just about anything they wanted including building them a little play pin at the end of the track so the fans would have a place to sit there too. This is NOT something he did force these folks to do what he says, THIS is what he was willing to do to eliminate street racing. I even heard him tell the people no matter what day of the week, or what time of the day, if even TWO CARS had to grudge race each other he would open the track for TWO CARS if need be… Yeah… day or night.

And here we are today.

There have been several end of the track races to date. But there have also been several Cash Days races on the street too and like I said, this is a SMALL racing community. And even last night, with Daddy Dave in town and a perfect opportunity for the Cash Days folks to call up Jim and have a race and the end of the track, they are street racing and contacting Daddy Dave to come out to their street race! HOLE LEE SHIT! I’m not speaking for Jim here, but he did find out about this and I think it was a hard kick in the balls I my opinion. He has bent over backwards to promote the no prep stuff, spent tons of money and time on it too and some people just don’t give a shit! They want to street race AND control all the end of the track racing too… WOW! And they piss and moan when the track owner, who has gone WAY above and beyond to help this group THEN have the nerve say he or anyone else is taking something away from them. Yeah, while a street race is going on Jim decides to let some of the racers at the track have a mini race at the end of the night and some people get all but hurt… WOW! If I was Jim, I’d kick all of us No Prep racers off the track and just go back to everyday prep track racing with full tech rules and no exceptions. And what a shame that would be for all the folks that love doing this and have put some much time, money and effort into it… What a shame indeed.

Words by Clay Forrester.

1 Comment

  1. Hal Sanguinetti says:

    My experience with the illegal street racers is that there is NOTHING that can be done to get the hard core group of them to a track. Why? Because they’re rebels, plain & simple. Anarchists is a better word – they reject all authority and nothing will make them happy unless it’s THEIR way (and illegal). Stop trying to placate these idiots and get them to the track, they’re never going to be happy. You’ll get a few of them, the ones with common sense who realize the danger and illegality of street racing, but in this group, the ones with real brains about racing are few and far between. Your program is bitchin, even though I have a dragster and can’t use the no-prep concept. But getting them off the streets is the #1 goal, and it’s a good one. My hat’s off to Jim & Matt at Tucson Dragway.

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