TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The pandemic has severely limited how many people can cruise in and out of the race track. Folks at the Tucson Dragway say their hands are tied when it comes to giving a legal outlet to street racers.
“According to the Health Department, we are allowed to have 10,000 people on our property. Currently without a permit...50 people at all times,” said Matt DeYoung.
DeYoung is the track manager at Tucson Dragway. He says, ever since the pandemic hit, the 70 acre property has never been more empty.
“That is a lot of space that can be used for social distancing for the car show, meet ups that people want to do,” he added.
Instead, it looks like a ghost-town. Empty race tracks, and no cars.
“Since we have been shut down, everything is picking up. Street racing is picking up. We’re not saying we're 100% the fix to it, but if you can come out here and get your enjoyment and get your fulfillment, and get your excitement here instead of the street, that’s what we want. That’s what the track was built for 20 years ago,” he told KGUN9.
Bill Jones, a former street racer and an avid drag racer, agrees.
“They’ll get off the streets when you give them a place to go race. I got off the streets when they gave me a place to go race and it will happen with everyone again,” said Jones.
Jones and DeYoung are speaking out, following the illegal street racing bust that happened last weekend, leaving 48 people arrested.
“The video from the Pima County Sheriff’s plane that you saw was they were drag racing on the street, nothing else on the side of the road, basically. So if you look behind us, we have what’s called Beyond 1320. It’s the alternative to the street. It’s the same texture on the ground as a road. They do their burnouts. They go up to the line that’s just painted across. Someone hits a flashlight as a start and they go down an eighth mile. Finish Line is down there with a camera,” said DeYoung.
DeYoung says the street racing event could have easily happened inside the Tucson Dragway.
The difference, DeYoung says it would be safer on a race-track.
“Safest part about it is it’s obviously at the track, it’s between two walls to contain you if you have a problem, and we have our medical and rescue team available if there is a problem,” he told KGUN9.
Here’s their message to street racers and the Pima County Health Department:
“Stay off the streets. Get a hold of the people that are in charge. Join all the rest of us that are fighting to get the track reopened,” said Jones.
“This is the outlet. This is what should be open. This is what should be the right way,” added DeYoung.
The Tucson Dragway is located at 12000 S Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ 85747