Illegal Street Racing in the Basin 1/6/14
CBS 7 News
January 6, 2014
This weekend's drag racing crash brings to light a problem that's not new to the basin. But officials say it's more dangerous than ever with more vehicles on the streets.
Ector County is getting one to two calls of drag racing each day. Clements Street in Odessa had more than 50 reports of street racing last year alone. Some racers are bold enough to post video on YouTube.
Engines roar in front of La Tienda on West Clements.
In a December 2012 YouTube video, the car travels over 100 miles-an-hour on the suburban street.
"Street racing is very, very dangerous," said Jimmy Farmer, owner of Desert Thunder Raceway.
While Clements is a popular spot, it's also happening on Andrews Highway, West University and spots throughout Ector County.
“There’s more people on the roads and what used to be a deserted stretch of highway, before you look up now it’s filled with traffic and with racers going at a high rate of speed, it’s not a good situation,” said Ector County Sheriff Sergeant Gary Duesler.
Street racing can carry harsh penalties -- from reckless driving to the felony charge of evading arrest.
Despite the dangers, some on our face book stand behind street racing. When asked why drivers take the risk, Daniel Stephens said this:
“Most the time it's a spontaneous deal. You are basically just playing a one up game on them, again like an old high school friend or foe who always had the better clothes. And most of all its a huge adrenaline rush,” Stephens said in a private Facebook message to CBS 7.
Life-long track racer Jimmy Farmer says there is an alternative in racing in a closed environment at Desert Thunder Raceway.
"We dedicate this track every Friday night to it,” Farmer said. “If we can save one life each year by getting these people off the streets and stopping street racing, we’ve done a good job.”
CBS 7 did reach out to Midland County to see how bad the problem was there, but we've not yet heard back. The Desert Thunder Raceway charges about $25 to race and should open again at the end of February.
You can find out more about the track at http://desertthunderraceway.com/