It is hard to find a more popular driver in the history of Arizona racing than Hank Arnold. His quiet, easy-going manner out of the car was balanced by his fiercely competitive nature once he climbed into a race car. Young fans were naturally drawn to Arnold before the start of a main event because he made offerings of chewing gum prior to every main event he started.
As much as he was respected for his driving, his innovative car designs were legendary. His crowning achievement was the famed supercharged “Twister” he built and drove to the 1962 ARA Championship. The battles Arnold fought with Ramona, CA’s Jimmy Wood who was handling the “Flyin’ Ford” from San Diego in 1963 are still talked about to this day.
Sadly, Arnold lost his life in a front stretch crash in the fast heat race on June 17, 1967. A Hank Arnold Memorial is still held annually at a track in Arizona.
Arnold always named the cars he built. His first effort with his best friend, Roger McCluskey, was called “Cherry Bomb.” There was also “Party Doll.” While the “Twister” was the most famous, it was not the first supercharged racer he built. The previous car to the “Twister” was a 1961 creation he called “Payola – You Pay to Play.” That car has been restored by John Fritzinger and is one of the many historical cars that can be viewed at the Museum.