TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Tucson Dragway is doing their part in keeping racers off the streets. This comes as law enforcement officials crack down on illegal street racing.
Tucson Dragway track manager Matt Deyoung says on February 27th, roughly 100 street racers will finally be given a safe space to race on the track for ‘Street Night.’
“When the track was built 20 years ago, the track was built to get the racers off the streets,” he told KGUN9.
DeYoung says that hasn’t been happening lately, because of the pandemic.
Folks at the track want to change that.
“We’ve got a group of racers that typically will host a race out on the streets. Racers between Tucson and Phoenix are going to come and they are going to race at the top end of the track,” he added.
They will be continuing the effort to keep racers of the streets through two programs.
“The Take It To The Track program is going to be your get the street racers off the streets and get them here. The call-outs program side of it, if you go to the website tucsondragway.com you do a call out, so I want to race you, you officially make your call-out,” said DeYoung.
Racers must have a ticket to race, known as a tech card, in order to get on the track.
“Larry H. Miller Dodge Ram of Tucson is going to pay for half of their tech card, so their tech card goes from $40.00 to $20.00 and then when they race that race here at the track and they win, we’re going to give them a free tech card,” he told KGUN9.
The dealership is doing this to support the initiative to get racers on the track.
In January, the Pima County Sheriff's Department arrested 48 people during an illegal street racing bust. DeYoung says, racers can have the same experience at the track, just safer.
“And you’ve got our fire department and our medical team already here. That way if there is an accident you’re contained between two walls rather than potentially going into a tree, or a power-line, or potentially hitting another car,” said DeYoung.
So, next Saturday, racers will be able to hit the track during Tucson Dragway’s Beyond-1320 race. Deyoung says it’s the alternative to the street.
“Same kind of racing surface, same kind of starting line...everything."
Racers do their burnouts, they go up to the line that's just painted across, then someone hits a flashlight as a start and they go down an eighth mile.
Racer Joseph Yslas says he is thankful for this opportunity.
“The importance of this event is just to get it off the street. Get it on the track. Be a little bit smarter about it. Stay out of trouble with it,” he told KGUN9.
“It’s really cool the community business owners and law enforcement have gotten behind it,” added DeYoung.
At the end of the day, folks at the Tucson Dragway want people to be educated and provide a safe space for racers. Fred Bilbrey does track prep & is the Head of Staging at the Tucson Dragway. He says people of all experience levels can come and learn at the track, adding the Tucson Dragway is “one big family.”
“If you have a question, ask. I am more than willing to help anybody. I want everybody to have a good time,” said Bilbrey.
“We want them to feel that we do want them here and encourage them to come and do it here rather than on the streets where something worse could happen,” DeYoung told KGUN9.
For more information on Street Night, click here.