O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


There's nothing quite like a side-by-side race between two powerful vehicles. Engines revving and roaring before the starter's arm drops and the drag race is on. It's incredible. It's intense.
It's also illegal.
On Friday evening, Texas Motor Speedway will open its 10thanniversary season of a program that continues to provide a safe, structured and, most importantly, legal alternative for what has been a dangerously persistent problem in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Established in 2009 to help local authorities curb illegal street racing, the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags provides six consecutive weeks of head-to-head competition on a 1/8-mile drag strip situated on the speedway's pit lane that accommodates everyone from the serious drag racer to the novice.
"Without question, absolutely (Friday Night Drags) is definitely beneficial and could actually save a life because you're in a controlled environment where people can go, participate and have a great time," said Jimmy Pollozani of the Fort Worth Police Department. "We want people to show off the hard work that they put into these vehicles, but they need to do it in a safe manor at a location that is deemed safe. So we encourage people to go out to Texas Motor Speedway and be a part of that program."
Pollozani noted that the Fort Worth Police Department is routinely responding to calls for illegal street racing and events. He noted that two years ago a total of 75 citations were given out in one night for everything from illegally parked vehicles, speeding and various traffic offenses - all of which were connected to a street-racing activity.
In early April, a truck crashed into a home in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff in a street-racing incident. Someone was home at the time and fortunately was able to escape unscathed, but the house was essentially destroyed from the collision. Later that same month, the Dallas Police Department responded to the scene of a street-racing incident that resulted in a fatality and five others - three adults and two children - being transported to hospitals with injuries.
"The point that we're trying to drive across isn't writing a citation, but the purpose of us going out there and enforcing it is to show them that street racing is illegal and that it can be life-threatening," Pollozani said. "Officers that respond to these calls have seen a fatal accident or catastrophic accident. All it takes is one wrong move or someone to cut across while they're drag racing. Even the spectators going to watch these racers compete on these roadways - it can be just catastrophic."
Recent studies indicate that street-related accidents account for an average of 135 deaths annually in the United States.
"The Friday Night Drags are going to save a life, there's no doubt about it," Pollozani said. "It helps because now it gives them a centralized location for these individuals to go out and show off their muscle cars and race them in a legal, controlled environment without risking their own or someone else's life."
The Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags opens this week and runs through July 27. Prizes will be awarded to the top racer in seven different divisions each week with an overall champion crowned in each division on July 27. Each week also features the Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine. Car enthusiasts that like to show off their cherished rides can do so and earn weekly awards in four different categories.
The cost is $20 to participate in the Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags or Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine competition each week. For those who would like to watch the action, 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.
Each week the infield, grandstands and Show-N-Shine registration open at 6 p.m. CT with drags practice from 6:15-8 p.m. Drag racing competition in the various classes begins at 9:15 p.m.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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