Memphis  & Tuscon drag strips join IHRA family

Major events already in the works for 2011 racing season…… 

By:  Larry Crum

Feld Motor Sports and the International Hot Rod Association are proud to announce that Memphis International Raceway has signed a multiyear sanctioning agreement with the IHRA and plans are already in place to add a Feld Motor Sports event to the schedule in the near future.

The recently purchased Memphis facility will reopen as an IHRA sanctioned facility later this year, with the Summit SuperSeries sportsman racing program and weekly test and tune sessions to take place immediately. The new owners are also working diligently to add national and regional events to the schedule for the 2011 season.

“I’m incredibly excited to add Memphis International Raceway as an IHRA facility,” said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. “Obviously we’ve had great success with this same group at Palm Beach International Raceway. Memphis is a great market and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling and start getting IHRA events at the facility.”

The purchasing group, led by Michael and Gil Dezer of Team Dezer Racing, managing partner Joe Lubeck and visionary Jason Rittenberry, President and CEO, hopes to have the facility reopen for the racing season in April. Staffing the facility will begin immediately and some of the experienced team members that were previously at Memphis International Raceway will return to the management team. 

Rittenberry previously spent 10 years with Dover Motorsports, Inc. as Vice President & General Manager of Memphis Motorsports Park before coming to lead the team at Palm Beach International Raceway.

“It’s great that our investor group stepped in and decided to purchase the Memphis facility,” Rittenberry said. “We know that there’s a lot of work that needs to go into renovations, but I’m confident that it can be done and the facility will reopen in time for the 2011 season. We’ll get the right people in place and re-establish the facility in the racing industry.”

With the addition of Memphis International Raceway, the IHRA has now added a dozen new facilities to its roster over the past few months with more additions on the horizon.

Nitro Jam and IHRA coming to Tucson

Southwestern International Raceway to host third stop on 2011 Nitro Jam tour

After a few weeks of deliberation culminating with a unanimous vote by the racers, the International Hot Rod Association and Feld Motor Sports is proud to announce that Tucson, Ariz. based dragstrip Merles Southwestern International Raceway has joined the IHRA family of member tracks.

Merles Southwestern International Raceway has confirmed that the venue will be sanctioned by the IHRA and, according to new owner LJ Motorsports and CEO Bernie Longjohn, the IHRA affiliation will bring with it many racer friendly programs including the Summit SuperSeries and Teen Championship Racing, culminating with the southwestern United States debut of the fastest growing motorsports event in the country as Nitro Jam comes to SIR the weekend of March 25-26 with one of the biggest shows of the year.

“We here at Merles Southwestern International Raceway are thrilled to be teaming up with the International Hot Rod Association in bringing great racing, great shows and a fresh start to the Tucson area,” Longjohn said. “This is a great partnership, not just for local racers, but for the entire region as we welcome an incredible Nitro Jam show to the track the last weekend of March and present many great racing options for the fans. It is sure to be a great event and a great year for everyone here at SIR.”

The Tucson region has always had a rich tradition of great motorsport events and now Merles Southwestern International Raceway can proudly say that the best is coming March 25-26 as the Arizona Nitro Jam invades Tucson with the world’s fastest cars and stars and a show that is sure to rock southwestern Arizona.

It will also be the farthest west the IHRA and Nitro Jam has ever traveled in the United States.

“We are thrilled to welcome SIR to the IHRA family and we are even more excited to bring a Nitro Jam to the western part of the United States and give those fans a unique show they can’t see anywhere else,” said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. “We have an incredible show lined up for Tucson that includes four nitro classes and a finale Arizona fans won’t soon forget.

“We will also be working with Southwestern International Raceway to bring other unique and exciting programs to the track in the future as the IHRA continues its expansion west.”

The 2011 Arizona Nitro Jam Tour will feature the world’s fastest race machines as Top Fuel dragsters invade the Arizona strip, in addition to championship Prostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, insane Nitro Harleys, out-of-control Fuel Altereds, flame-throwing jet dragsters and the “Cool Bus” wheelstanding school bus. And it will all be capped off with a historical finale as, for the first time ever, fans as SIR will witness the legendary Grave Digger monster truck take on a 30,000 horsepower jet semi in a showdown between two of the most exciting trucks in the world.

In addition to the Arizona Nitro Jam, Merles Southwestern International Raceway will also welcome the Summit SuperSeries, which provides local racers an opportunity to compete for a world championship, and many other great racer programs.

For more information about Southwestern International Raceway visit the track website at or check out to learn more about the Arizona Nitro Jam the weekend of March 25-26.

About Feld Motor Sports, Inc.
Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy® Supercross, AMA Arenacross Series, Freestyle Motocross, and IHRA® Nitro Jam®. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit