Tucson's Jim Hughes trades driver's seat for captain's chair

Tucson's Jim Hughes trades driver's seat for captain's chair
Jim Hughes, owner of TP Race Shop and Tucson Dragway. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A purring engine, caked on axle grease and smell of exhaust.

These are the sights and sounds of home for Jim Hughes.

"From the time the sun comes up to usually the time the sun goes down," Hughes said of  working on cars. "I love it."

Why should the man who's known as a big kid around the Tucson Dragway treat his adult life any different?

"What I enjoy right now is working on other people's cars, helping them go out, teaching them how to drag race, and get involved in the sport that's been so good to me for 40 years," he said

After a lifetime of racing Hughes is moving from the driver's seat to the driver's side.

Hughes owns TP Race Shop, along with the track located at 12000 S. Houghton.

Even with a 30-person team under him on race day, Hughes is as hands-on as you can be.

When a big-time race comes roaring into his track, like the Inaugural United Nitro Funny Car Tour this week, he sees the bright future of his hard labor of love.

"It's your baby," he said. "You're building something then you have to let it go. Then you start over and do another one. It's very rewarding when you see someone that's got the happiness and you can fulfill somebody's dream."

This weekend's event is the kickoff of the United Nitro Funny Car's 2018 tour, which is being billed as the Good Vibrations Championship Series.

It's the first time in many years funny cars have raced at night at Tucson Dragway. Racing began at 6 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, doors open at 8 a.m. and the racing begins at 10 a.m.

Spectator passes are $25 for adults while kids 12 and under get in free.

For more information, go HERE or call 520-762-9700.

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