Let's take a trip back about 15 years. It's a chilly Saturday night around 1 a.m. and you're heading into what looks like an ordinary business park. There are about a dozen other business parks in the city that look exactly like this one, but you go here for a reason. All of the sudden you see headlights bouncing down the road and hear the scream of an aftermarket exhaust as two cars, probably Hondas, tear down the street trying to outrun one another. You pull into one of the many driveways along the side and sit for a moment and take it all in. The cars are lining up single file, in two rows, waiting for the pretty girl at the starting line, who's probably underage, to drop her hands and yell: "Go!" It's decision time. Do you jump out of your car and sit back to watch the action, or do you head toward the lineup and find someone to run?
You've probably been here one time or another. Street racing is something that's been around for years, and although it's been weeded out of many cities, it's still rampant throughout the U.S. Southern California is often credited as having given birth to the import street racing movement, but there's no doubt that organized street activities have been taking place all over the country. The sheer number of cars in cities like Los Angeles and San Diego were simply overwhelming. Imagine driving down your local "Main Street" in the middle of the night. One minute there's maybe one other driver on the road and the next minute there's a good 300 cars elbowing their way onto that same road. Pure insanity.
This is what it looked like when I (allegedly, mind you) attended the San Diego street races of my day. With a weekly schedule consisting of Thursday through Sunday nights at the local runs, my Mondays dragged on like eternity. The end of the week couldn't come soon enough. I didn't care who or what lined up next to me, I just wanted to go and get to the end first. Any less than a dozen races in a night was a complete waste in my eyes and, admittedly, I was completely addicted, perhaps way out of control. My paychecks went to my car, my free time went to wrenching, and my personal life was pretty much nonexistent. For the younger guys: Girls don't like taking Second Place to a car, trust me on this. After years of street racing I got what was coming to me in the form of an impounded car, a court date, and a violation ticket that read like a big family's grocery list. I lost my license and had to pay incredible fees. I deserved it. Actually no, I deserved worse, but in those days, the laws weren't as tough as they are now. Years later, when I was taken to a road race course and realized I could rip on my car as hard as I wanted without fear of getting into trouble, not to mention the much higher level of difficulty when compared to street racing, I fell in love all over again.
I'm not having a midlife crisis, honestly. The reason these memories are drumming back up is because of a few events that happened at our www.nwp4life.com/Eibach Summer Nights event last August. As the event went into full swing, the parking lot began filling up, and it seemed like everyone was having a great time. But the police showed up down the street and had pulled over a couple of cars for, you guessed it, street racing. Now, as you read above, I've had my share, and I would never deny that, but I really have to question what people are thinking at this point in time. Southern California has the toughest laws on street racing in the entire country. Not only were they racing in a strict area, but it's a small city, in broad daylight, on a public road, with constant traffic. The cars were impounded, the drivers ticketed heavily, but the officers were nice enough to not take them to jail that day, though they certainly could have. This, along with a suspended license, and a lack of registration convinced the officers to stick around and make sure everyone was driving legitimately. The part that kills me is the fact that many of the attendees brought their kids to the event. To think what could have happened if one of those guys had lost control of their cars, or perhaps ran out of room to brake in time; it's just not worth it. Sometimes when we jump into that driver seat and someone throws out a challenge verbally or even with just a nod, the little kid inside takes over. But you have to understand what your actions mean to the rest of the community. Every action creates a reaction and, in this case, it was a negative one. Think about what you do and what you represent every time you sit behind the wheel of your project car. Be safe.