LB - Felice Soldwedel Unit20 728x90

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : features : community news June 25, 2016

4/20/2010 2:44:00 PM
Speed racers
Local resident hopes to bring street drag racing and its fans to Williams
Ryan Williams/WGCN
Mike Herd (left), event organizer Jim Simmons and

Ryan Williams/WGCN
Mike Herd (left), event organizer Jim Simmons and "Chevy" Bob Sarkesian stand in front of Railroad Avenue, the proposed site of legal street drag races in Williams.

Ryan Williams
Managing Editor

WILLIAMS - Smoking tires and straining engines. These are the sights and sounds drag racing enthusiasts live for. One local resident hopes to bring the smell of burning rubber and spectacle of drag racing to Route 66 in the heart of Williams.

It won't be an easy task.

Jim Simmons said he hopes to organize a legal street-racing event to take place in September similar to the Kingman Drags held for the past nine years.

To put the event on, Simmons estimates it will take $50,000-60,000 in sponsorships. Fencing, concrete K-rails, insurance, ambulance, fire department and police coverage and security will all need to be factored in to the cost of the race.

Sue Atkinson, events coordinator with the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, said finances will make or break the event. Liability insurance for the event is estimated to cost between $5,000-6,000. The 4,000 feet of concrete barrier K-rails needed to line the raceway alone will cost $21,000 to rent.

"They're brought in on flatbeds and we need forklifts and cranes to move them around," Atkinson said. "There is a huge production."

Simmons is currently talking to ADOT officials to possibly have the barriers donated or sponsored by the agency.

While the cost to put on a racing event and the logistics behind it are daunting, Simmons said a drag racing event is perfect for the city of Williams due to the city's heritage as a Route 66 town.

"I've always been concerned that we're on Route 66 and we're not using that," he said. "My brother and I and all my friends are all drag racers. For four years now, we've talked about putting on a drag race here. Because that's who we are. We're not just trains, we're Route 66."

Simmons has proposed the drags take place on Railroad Avenue with the start line located at First Street and drag racers heading east. Railroad would be blocked off and turned into a two-lane drag strip. Route 66 would be converted to a two way street.

Similar to the Kingman race, the drag strip would be 330 feet, a quarter mile, in length.

"If we have some really fast cars coming to the event, that keeps us around 100 mph," Simmons said.

Atkinson said she and Simmons have approached city officials as well as Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon and Mayor John Moore.

"They are all in support of it," she said.

Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon, meanwhile, said a meeting was held months ago regarding the possibility of a racing event in Williams but has not had further communication with organizers or the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce since that time.

"Last I heard they were going to have to go into negotiations with the city and that just hasn't happened," Nixon said.

Nixon went on to say that a drag racing event could be held in the proposed location but, again, logistics will be an issue.

"From a safety standpoint, it sounds feasible," he said. "The problem I see is they've got to have a 50 foot barrier from the street away from the stands. They probably could put the stands in, but I don't know how many people they're going to fit in here. That is going to be the issue."

Simmons said his main goal is to bring visitors to town. Beyond monetary sponsorships, he needs help organizing the event.

"I need a committee," he said. "The one thing I've heard from everybody is 'Jim, you need help.' Drag racing is the one thing I know how to do that will help the town if I don't go broke doing it."

Interim Williams City Manager Joe Duffy said further discussion is needed before the event can become a reality.

"With an event this large, they will need to come in for street approvals for closing roads," Duffy said. "They will need to bring it to council. With an event of this magnitude, there is a lot involved with it and I'm sure the chamber will be talking with us to get all the ducks in a row."

Simmons has been active in the drag racing community since he was 18-years-old.

"When 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits would come into Phoenix, my brother and my sister and me would all go out and push his car and do anything we could do to help him along," Simmons said. "We were big time fans. He's like God when it comes to drag racing. He's the father of drag racing."

Simmons has plenty of experience driving drag racing cars. He started out in a pro-mod 1969 Camaro.

"It ran 10:35 through the quarter mile which is about 130 something mph through the quarter mile," Simmons said. "It's fast. It will blow you back in your seat. It's great."

For more information on the proposed drag races, or to find out how you can help, call Jim Simmons at (928) 853-3854.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Editorial: Commenting to move to Facebook
New maintenance coordinator at Williams Airport
Williams School Board Candidates face off in candidate forum
Hunters shoot prairie dogs at Williams Elementary-Middle School
Composer Ted Nichols, known for his Scooby Doo and Flintstones scores, continues his varied musical career from his home in Williams

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public.Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Williams, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Felice Soldwedel Unit20 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Williams-Grand Canyon News is the information source for Williams, Arizona and surrounding communities. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. Williams News Online is a service of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Williams News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved