Start Your Engines!

Drag Racing Track Reopens

A once-popular drag racing track is picking up speed once more. The track's reopening is part of an effort to get racers off the streets. Public races ended four years ago at the 75-80 Drag Way in Frederick County, Md.

But now tires are squealing again. Some of the young drivers say they’ve raced on public streets in the past. One admits he does it for the adrenaline rush.

Another says he's glad the drag racing track is back in business. "It’s a lot safer here. Street racing is dangerous. People just don’t care."

Street racing in Accokeek, Md., led to tragedy in February 2008. Eight spectators were killed and eight others hurt when a car plowed into the crowd moments after a race started.

It’s one of the main reasons drag racing has returned here; to give drivers a safer place to race. Race Program Director J. Crawford says he's happy to do his part. "Take it off the streets and bring it to the tracks. We'll be glad to cater to these guys and help out with all the kids these days getting hurt on the streets."

Drivers come from different counties and other states to be here. Police in neighboring Montgomery County say drivers need to realize that street racing can kill. "This is real. It's not a video game," says Lt. Paul Sparks of the Montgomery County Police Department. "There are serious consequences and people can die if you engage in this sort of thing."

Ashley Wheeler street raced for 10 years, since his high school days in Lovettsville, Va. Now he’ll only race on a track.

"It’s definitely dangerous. I didn’t think about it then," said Wheeler. "I have a couple kids. I have to be safe. I have to be here for them."

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