The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway.
FRIDAY NIGHT DRAGS OFFERS SAFE ALTERNATIVE DURING RECENT RASH OF ILLEGAL STREET RACING
Texas Motor Speedway created the Friday Night Drags program in 2009 in an effort to help curb illegal street racing and in the process saves some lives by offering a controlled and safe environment for those still seeking that competitive speed rush in their prized vehicle. For the ninth year beginning this week, the speedway will transform its pit lane into a 1/8-mile drag strip for its Friday Night Drags program.
The six-week summer series program, which begins this Friday and culminates July 28, allows amateur racers to compete for weekly and season-long championships in seven different divisions as well as for fans to come out and watch from the grandstands or infield.
“I think it is an excellent avenue and outlet for some adrenaline junkies that enjoy that type of thing,’’ said Fort Worth Police Department Traffic Investigative Unit Detective Lisa Sorrels, a 25-year veteran of the force. “My advice (to would-be street racers) would be to do it at the motor speedway where it is safe. Illegal racing on the street is going to get you in jail or hurt.”
The start of Friday Night Drags comes at an ideal time considering the recent rash of illegal drag racing activity in the area during the past few months.
In early June, Dallas police arrested six people ranging in age from 19 to 26 and also made contact with more than 70 people who were said to be either racers or spectators during illegal drag racing in the 8400 block of Eastpoint Drive of the warehouse district. Also, law enforcement officials seized nine vehicles that were involved in the illegal activity.
In March, more than a dozen people were arrested by Dallas police in a street racing crackdown in a popular quarter-mile stretch of Forney Road – from Seldon Road to a railroad crossing – that would routinely attract 300 people on weekend nights to participate or watch.
Illegal street racing in the local communities also has led to injuries and fatalities in the past few years, including numerous instances that have gone undocumented. Among those documented in the last three years:
- In September of last year in Dallas, a driver sustained injuries and was transported to a hospital after being pried from the vehicle by emergency responders. The vehicle had crashed into a tree and law enforcement officials believe it was the result of an illegal street race on Mountain Creek Parkway.
- A month earlier in Dallas, a man was killed while crossing Lake June Road when he was struck by one of the two vehicles involved in a street race. The two drivers were arrested for racing that resulted in seriously bodily injury or death, which is a second-degree felony.
- In October of 2015, two Irving high school students died from injuries that occurred from a street race accident.
- A month earlier, a driver crashed and died following a police chase that was triggered when a Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy spotted some cars that appeared to be involved in a street race.
- In February of the same year, Arlington police believed that a street race led to a three-car crash that had two people taken to the hospital with injuries after being cut from one of the vehicles.
- In 2014, a male driver was killed and his female passenger sustained serious injuries when his vehicle rolled and flipped over a guardrail on its roof following a street racing crash in east Fort Worth.
“It can drastically affect your life very quickly. Traffic accidents happen within a tenth of a second,” Sorrels said. “It can start anywhere from a ticket to impounding your car to a felony charge of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. We can keep your car for up to two years if we file criminal charges against you. Just a variety of things can go bad if you decide to do that (illegal street race).
Texas Motor Speedway offers up the competition without the dire consequences of illegal street racing, along with an opportunity for weekly and season-long prizes, for $20 per entry.
The racers are placed in one of seven divisions based off their vehicle -- Reunion Tower Geo Deck Bandit Division, Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division, Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Modified Division, Snap-On Tools All Wheel Drive Division, Texas Lottery Super Cars Division, 4 Wheel Parts Black Smoke Warrior Division and Summit Racing Equipment Street Outlaw Division – and each week accumulate points for a six-week total.
Racers accumulating the most points throughout the six weeks in each division will win the division championship that includes a Snap-On roll cart. Racers also can win a Snap-On Tools item during a weekly drawing for the competitors.
“Friday Night Drags for us – for our staff here – is a labor of love,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “It’s a fun thing that we do and we know it’s a good thing to do for the community as well.”
Accompanying Friday Night Drags is the Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine, where car enthusiasts can display their prized vehicles. Each week awards are presented to the best in one of four categories: Best of Show, Best Classic (1972 or earlier), Best Current Custom (1973 to current) and Best Motorcycle. Show-N-Shine participants also take a parade lap around Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile track.
Gates open weekly at 6 p.m. with inspection and practice, and Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine competition beginning at 6:15 p.m. Drag racing competition begins at 9:15 p.m.
The cost is $20 to participate in the drag racing or Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine competition each week. General admission grandstand tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available for advance purchase at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or at the Gate 6 ticket booth.
Parking is free in the PSL lot outside of Gate 6 and available for $20 in the infield (with admission included in the pricing). Coolers are permitted in both the grandstands and infield.
For more information and official rules regarding Friday Night Drags, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
FRIDAY NIGHT DRAGS WEEKLY SCHEDULE
6 p.m. - Gates 6 & Grandstands Open
6:15-7:30 pm - Practice
6:15-7:30 p.m. - Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine
7 p.m. - Hill Air Support Show-N-Shine Judging
7:30-9 p.m. - Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine/Parade Lap (Must Arrive By 7:20 pm to Participate)
8:15 p.m. - Drivers' Meeting
9 p.m. - Racing Registration & Tech Close
9:15 p.m. - Drag Racing