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Electric drag racing powers into Tucson

Bookmans, Tucson Clean Cities team for 'Spring Thaw'

Sparks will fly for racing fans Saturday when electric drag racing makes its way to Southwestern International Raceway.

Tucson Clean Cities is partnering with Bookmans for the "Bookmans Spring Thaw" to help increase awareness about the vehicles.

"This is a chance for people to see that electric vehicles aren't just glorified golf carts. They are fast and exciting and represent the future of transportation," said Bob Oldfather, Bookmans' founder and owner.

Colleen Crowninshield, coordinator of Pima Association of Governments, worked with Oldfather to use their shared passion for electric vehicles to bring the National Electric Drag Racing Association to Tucson.

"Our program really focuses to reduce dependence on petroleum. That is the premise. We are trying to show people there are ways we can use other fuel services to reduce the dependence on oil, and electric vehicles is one way we can reduce that dependence," said Crowninshield.

The racing event is open to standard-fuel vehicles and will include an array of some of the fastest electric vehicles from around the world with times as fast as 9 seconds in the quarter mile.

One of the vehicles that will be at the event is the KillaCycle, an electric motorcycle with a time of 7 seconds-flat, said Sheila Storm, spokeswoman for Pima Association of Governments in a press release.

“This could be one of the largest gatherings of the quickest electric vehicles on the planet,” said NEDRA spokesman Chip Gribben.

“We are hoping for several 9-second passes from these electric door slammers and as quick as 7 seconds for the bikes" he said.

This event is historical because Southwestern International Raceway is where Dennis Berube set the 2007 record of 7.956 at 159 mph with his electric dragster, Current Eliminator, Gribben said.

Legendary electric dragsters will be attending the event including John Wayland's White Zombie, John Metric's DC Plasma, Brian Hall's Tron, Miramar High School's Black Pearl and Dave Delman's E-Flux — an electric DeLorean.

Local Arizonan and electric drag racer Dennis Berube will race Smoke Screen, an electric Chevy S-10 with Bob Boyd at the wheel. Other possible racers include Shawn Lawless' Lemon Juice and Jeff Disinger's drag bike, Predator.

There will be a Green Pavilion with 20 vendors with information about electric and alternative-fuel vehicles.

"The Green Pavilion will help educate consumers on simple ways to live a more green life," said Crowninshield.

Music and entertainment will be provided by Chuck Wagon and the Wheels and there will be food and refreshments.

"Somebody's got to step up and say 'hey, this is the way I think things should go and I'm going to try to do something about it. It is just going to be a fun and exciting event, come to Tucson and thaw out," said Oldfather.

The gates open at 10 a.m. and racing starts at noon at Southwestern International Raceway, 12000 S. Houghton Rd. Admission is $5; children 10 and younger are free.

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Scotty Pollacheck on the KillaCycle.

 If you go

  • What: Bookmans Spring Thaw
  • Where: Southwest International Raceway, 12000 S. Houghton Rd.
  • When: Saturday, April 14
  • Admission: $5, free for children 10 and younger