TUCSON, Ariz. -- Fuel, Fuel Altered, jets and more In the world of nostalgia nitro racing there are a prestigious few events that boast having the biggest names and the best cars in the sport.
For the third year in a row the fastest names in Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car will do battle on the Tucson quarter-mile as two-time defending NHRA Heritage Series champion Jason Rupert in the brand new "Bays & Rupert" '69 Camaro will do battle against three of the most competitive teams in the sport in the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car "Clash of the Titans" at Southwestern International Raceway.
Fresh off of setting the quickest and fastest lap at the famed March Meet earlier this month, California native Jason Rupert will battle two of the next four fastest cars from that same event in addition to going up against the two-time defending winner of the Tucson event.
Rupert will put it all on the line against Steven Denham, son of legendary racer Gary Densham, behind the wheel of the "Teachers Pet" '69 Camaro and Texas native John Hale in the "Nitro Boss" '69 Camaro. Densham qualified third and Hale fifth at the most famous nostalgia nitro race in the world earlier this month behind Rupert's chart topping pass of 5.702 seconds at 254.47 mph. Rounding out the field of the quickest and fastest in the world is California native Mike Halstead who steps in behind the wheel of the famed "Candies & Hughes" '70 Barracuda, the same car that drove to an Ironman trophy two years in a row at the Arizona Nitro Jam.
This prestigious invite-only Funny Car battle is sure to be the most competitive yet as all four drivers are no strangers to winning. The "Candies & Hughes" Funny Car, driven last year by veteran Mike Savage, visited five final rounds with three wins including a Saturday night win in Tucson. Rupert and Densham have not won in IHRA Nitro Jam competition, but have won numerous events in other national circuits. Hale has one win in two Nitro Jam starts.
"I live, eat, sleep and breathe Nitro Funny Cars. I like the people involved, I like the sights, the sounds, the traveling - I like it all," Hale said. "At the March Meet it was not the outcome I had envisioned, but we had a great weekend with family and friends. Now we are setting our focus on Tucson which should be a great event. It is a great group of guys we are going up against and we look forward to the challenge."
The season-opening March Meet at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California proved a good litmus test as to the competition expected in Tucson. Rupert topped the 34 drivers trying to qualify for the 16-car field with a very quick 5.702, 254.47. Densham was third with a 5.757, 247.38 and Hale was fifth with a 5.823, 245.49. Rupert also set the fastest lap in the country last season.
The 2013 Arizona Nitro Jam presented by Good Vibrations and CarSafe is Saturday, March 23 beginning at 7 p.m. The all-star AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car field will be joined by additional nitro classes including Fuel Altered and the return of Top Fuel Dragster as the 8,000 horsepower, 320 mph machine driven by Bruce Litton battles a jet dragster for the very first time. Fireworks, the 30,000 horsepower Super Shockwave jet truck, the Candyland wheelstander and more will highlight the one-night-only show.
For more information or to buy tickets to the 2013 Arizona Nitro Jam visit www.nitrojam.com.
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