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Arizona Racers Gear Up For Opening Nitro Jam | National Speed Sport News
Jam
by NSSN Staff
Ron Maroney will be among the competitors in action in the opening IHRA Nitro Jam event at Southwestern Int'l Raceway. (IHRA photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. — For any driver, having an opportunity to race at the national level in front of thousands of screaming fans at your home track is more than a dream come true.
Just ask some of the competitors on the Nitro Jam tour.
Predominantly an east coast based racing league, the addition of some western facilities to the schedule over the past few years has allowed teams that normally wouldn’t see home an opportunity to be featured on the big stage and race in front of their local fans. And that couldn’t be more true than with the Arizona Nitro Jam this Friday and Saturday at Southwestern Int’l Raceway.
Ron Maroney returns to pilot his own Fuel Altered in 2012, the aptly named “Blind Faith”
Among the nearly two dozen nitro machines set to take to the track this weekend at SIR are two of the biggest names in the sport and they both hail from great state of Arizona. Mike Savage, from Tucson, is the pilot of the famous “Candies and Hughes” AMSOIL Prostalgia™ Nitro Funny Car and Ron Maroney, from Chandler, is the defending Fuel Altered World Champion and driver of the “Blind Faith” entry and both are thrilled to hit the track this weekend and get their season off on the right foot.
“SIR is the best track in Arizona and it is the track I like to call home,” Maroney said. “And it will certainly feel good to return home to compete in front of these incredible fans later this week. Southwestern International Raceway will be rocking when Nitro Jam brings in the most diverse nitro show in the country including our crazy Fuel Altered class. Fans haven’t seen anything until they see a Fuel Altered wiggle down the track at speeds over 200 miles per hour.”
Maroney is the defending series champion in the Fuel Altered class, driving “Nanook” to the 2011 crown over Jason Richey in “Pure Hell” and will look to repeat this season behind the wheel of a new car. This season Maroney will leave behind the ride he took to a championship last year and return to his own Fuel Altered, the aptly named “Blind Faith” ride.
The “Candies and Hughes” team is based in Tucson, a short drive from SIR.
“The car I will be driving this year is actually my own car. I drove the ‘Nanook’ last year when they need a driver to help fill-in,” Maroney said. “I mean, I grew up watching that car dominate the drag racing scene and to get a chance to take that car to the championship was a dream come true. Now Kyle (Hough) will be taking over the ‘Nanook’ and I will return to my own car and hopefully we can duplicate the success we had last year.”
The other driver looking to make some noise this weekend at Southwestern International Raceway is Mike Savage in the “Candies and Hughes” Funny Car. Savage and the “Candies and Hughes” team are based in Tucson and will make the short drive down the road this weekend to take one three of the best Funny Car pilots in the country.
“The ‘Candies and Hughes’ crew has been hard at work putting together a new engine combination for this season,” said team owner Jim Broome. “The old 500 cubic inch combination was good for 10 years, but the cars in this class are going faster and faster each year. Our original 2005 record was in the low six-second range. Teens wouldn’t even get you in most shows today.
“This year we are looking at a much smaller cubic inch engine that will live at 10,000 RPM. We have a great team that includes Jim and Jimmy Basko, Ray Randazzo, Kenton Greth, Mike Meitzner and of course Mike (Savage) who will be returning for his 10th year behind the wheel. We can’t wait to get the season started.”
Last year Savage competed in a handful of Nitro Jam events, visiting his one and only final round in Tucson last year. This season Savage and the team will once again return to Tucson and a few additional events against the likes of defending series champion Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” machine, James Day in “War Eagle” and Tim Boychuk in the “Troy Lee Designs” Pontiac.
“We really look forward to seeing some new tracks and meeting new fans along the way,” Broome said. “This should be a very exciting year with the quality of the cars participating.”
 
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