(WSVN) - Drag racing has been a problem in South Florida streets for years, and crashes can be deadly. 7’s Craig Stevens reports the people with a “Need for Speed” are calling for a safer alternative to street racing.
Loud engines. Squealing tires. These are the sounds of illegal street racing happening on the streets of South Florida almost every night.
Richard Feria, drag racer: “It’s a sport, I love it. It’s a sport, it’s something that’s never going to leave you.”
Eduardo Wolmers, drag racer: “A passion, the thrill, the adrenaline.”
But, Medley Police Sgt. Jose Ayala has seen first hand how the thrill of street racing can turn deadly.
Sgt. Jose Ayala, Beat the Heat Medley: “Street racing incidents are up and it’s very dangerous. We’re the ones, unfortunately, that have to do the death notifications and clean up the mess afterwards.”
Drivers used to legally race at the Countyline Dragway on Krome Avenue and Okeechobee Road, but the track closed down in 2014. So the races moved back to the streets.
Dylan Rovira, drag racer: “People getting tickets, people getting arrested, people getting hurt. There’s a lot of racing going on and a lot of injuries are happening and people are getting killed out here.”
Some people come to race. Others come to watch … until police show up.
Sgt. Jose Ayala: “I can tell you from first-hand experience. I am out on the road, ever since the track closed, street racing incidents have definitely gone up.”
Sgt. Ayala is a member of the Medley “Beat the Heat” program. The national organization encourages kids to race legally, but without a local dragway, the illegal races continue.
Richard Feira: “That’s their sport, they’re going to continue to do it whether it’s in the track or out in the middle of the street.”
Eduardo Wolmers: “Definitely not legal, but we don’t have any other place to do it.”
So the fight continues to reopen the dragway, so the next generation of racers can safely satisfy their “Need for Speed.”
Richard Feira: “If we save one life by opening this up, it’s a good thing.”
Supporters who want to re-open Countyline Dragway gather at the front gates every Saturday around 5 p.m.
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