Street racing in high schools

Chris Tekavec, Staff Writer

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Late in the night, usually on weekends, students will meet with friends and other adults to race.

Street racing in Colorado is not hard to find especially with three major groups hosting meets almost every weekend.

Many high schoolers want to go out and test themselves and their cars against their friends and other drivers.

One thing that many of these racers aren’t considering is the risk to themselves and others.

Not all street races happen at meets. Some of them just happen as you’re driving.

“The streets are fun because a lot of the time, small races just happen as you’re driving, like at stoplights,” Senior Joe Grimblestone said.

Some racers are more careful than others when on the streets.

“If there are lots of people around me, I just won’t do it. Only when it’s just my life at stake,” Grimblestone said.

“We just send it,” Brady Exploration High School Junior Mike Smith said.

According to the Denver Post, traffic deaths in Colorado jumped up 11% in 2016 alone.

Amidst the chaos, several groups in Colorado are aiming to end street racing. Among them are the Colorado State Patrol and Bandimere Speedway.

“Bandimere and CSP have a program every Wednesday night called ‘Take it to the Track’ but it’s usually too busy to get more than one or two races in,” Grimblestone said.

The police also try to go after street racers with tickets and potential jail time, but street racers are ready for that.

“I use a GPS app called Waze, where people can report cops locations, among other road hazards,” Grimblestone said.

Under Colorado Law, street racing can fall under two categories: “speed contests,” a class 1 misdemeanor or a less serious class 2 misdemeanor, “speed exhibition.”

The cops are usually one of the big things on the mind of racers.

“I’m always worrying where the cops are at, if they will catch us,” Grimblestone said.

“Before I decide to go to an event, I worry if there will be cops there, if I’m gonna get arrested,” Smith said.

Once the meet spot is released, usually around 9:30 pm, racers flock to the first spot to show off their cars and size up the competition.

“I race to show off the time and money I’ve put into my car,” Smith said.

People have many reasons for street racing but many of them follow the same theme.

“Street racing is more fun and seems to have more skills involved,” Smith said.

Another common reason for street racing is the difference in preparation for most tracks you aren’t allowed to have any items loose in the vehicle and some people even go as far as taking out extra seats and other items of excess weight for the track.

“For going to the track, I have to take everything out of my car, but on the streets, I just run with what I’ve got,” Grimblestone said.

Sometimes, the meets and races result in accidents, but many of the racers aren’t that worried about it.

“Occasionally accidents happen, but it’s fairly rare I think,” Grimblestone said.

According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration in 2016, 27% of all traffic fatalities were caused by speeding.

Some racers are even prepared for the worst.

“I’m not scared of dying,” Smith said.