TUCSON, AZ — Tucson Dragway's first-ever "Take it to the Track Night" on Saturday hosted roughly 100 racers constantly revving up their engines on the strip from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“So, tonight’s 1320 races are a lot of street cars. So, the cars that would be running on the streets running back and forth, looking for a place to race,” explained track manager, Matt DeYoung.
DeYoung says "Beyond 1320" races are comparable to the street.
“So you’ll see your normal Mustangs, Camaros, and then you will see some race cars out here as well,” he added.
Francisco Moreno has been racing for at least 15 years. He says there’s nothing like revving an engine, and competing on the track.
“It’s pretty cool, honestly. Those races are the best, you know. Those that actually get your blood going and it shows who is the faster driver. Who the faster guy is, and if you lose, you gotta come back with more,” he told KGUN9.
Though racers weren’t the only ones who showed up to the Tucson Dragway.
“It’s exciting for us to see the support of law enforcement, the fire departments, and the first responders who are here because they’re the ones who go out to these calls,” said DeYoung.
Deputy Matthew Peak with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department says illegal street racing has been a problem in Arizona, but he hopes events like these will help promote safety. “This is an opportunity for them to come out, put machine up against machine, see who is faster but in a way that’s controlled,” Peak added.
“And when you’re at the track, you at least have two walls to contain you. If you're in an accident, you’re not risking the spectators that are watching, you're not risking the crew people, you’re just risking you and the driver next to you. We have a fire truck and an ambulance at the top end that are ready to go and they’re sitting there waiting. We also have Corona De Tucson Fire that’s seven minutes away from us. If you go out and street race in the middle of nowhere, you don’t know how long your response time is to get help if you need help,” said DeYoung.
“We hope this is an outlet for them. We hope this is a way to educate to make better decisions, but all we can do is try to give people the education and what they do with it is ultimately up to them,” Peak told KGUN9.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all racers must wear masks and spectators are still not allowed, but DeYoung says, the races will go on.
“We’re going to continue to do local racing. Bracket racing. That kind of stuff. Tucsondragway.com has that kind of stuff. We’re hoping to get spectators soon. We really are,” he added.
DeYoung says only then will the Tucson Dragway family feel complete.