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Autor: anton 30 October 2010
Words: 2772 | Pages: 12
One of the fastest growing sports in the world is racing. Racing in general can consist of many different types such as: Drag Racing, NASCAR, Indy, Motor Cross, Truck Rally. The topic of racing that I am chose was street racing. Street racing originated from drag racing on the quarter-mile strip. The concept of drag racing is when two racers in different cars would line up at a white line, and in the middle of the two cars would be a light post, called the Christmas tree for its red, yellow and green bulbs. The tree does what a stoplight does, except backwards, it starts from red, then to yellow, then to green. On the quarter-mile strip, when the light hits green, the two racers are supposed to try to go as fast as they can before the end of the quarter-mile, which would then set off a electronic board showing their electronic times (E.T.) and their speeds.
As the sport of street racing began to boom around the early Ð’â€˜90s, people couldn't really afford to go to a legal track and race their cars, because of the price that it cost and the rules that they had. So there was a street track that was created on Terminal Island, called the Brotherhood Raceway. The Brotherhood Raceway or Brotherhood for short was basically a quarter-mile drag strip that was put down on a closed off street, where street racers could go and find out their quarter-mile times and speeds for the price of nothing. This was a quarter-mile drag strip to keep racers off of normal streets and highways. Around time of the mid-90s, the Brotherhood was then closed down, forcing street racers to take their racing to another legalized track, or to the streets and highways.
People say that street racing is bad, illegal and dangerous to everyone. There is another side which thinks that street racing is ok, and safe. All street racers know that street racing is illegal and can be dangerous, but in their minds they will think they won't hurt people around them but accidents do happen. When it comes to racing on streets, racers an open or deserted street and line two cars up, and basically race off of the line and see who stays ahead of the other person, this set-up is basically like racing on a drag strip, just without lights and tech and safety people around. There is a person that acts like the lighting tree, who stands in the middle, and is called the "flagger." This person puts his/her arms up, signaling to the racers to get ready, and as soon as he/she drops their arms, the two racers in the cars take off and whoever stays ahead wins. When the street racers thinks he is ahead with a sufficient amount of road and time in between the other racer and himself, the racers through on their hazards as a sign of winning or finishing.
In these past few years, there has been a booming growth to the street-racing scene, because of the movie "the Fast and the Furious" which doesn't depict the car scene correctly as it is. Since the release of the movie, everybody who owns a car thinks they are a street racer. The true scene of the real street racers has gone away and faded due to the copycat sense of the imitation racers. The imitation racers and the movie "Fast and Furious" have given real street-racing a very bad name. The imitation racers think that they can race anywhere and at anytime. They don't care about safety of themselves and others around them.
Lets start with the movie "Fast and Furious." This is a movie about the import scene where people have fast cars, and lots of money. The producers also depicted street racers are thieves, thugs, killers, and hi-jackers. Also in the movie, they have a quarter-mile race, which seems like it is two to three miles long. The makers of the movie even with the help of legal, well-known drag racers blew the whole street racing scene of out proportion, having cars all line up a certain way, people polishing their cars, girls showing off and having numerous cars lining up to race, and showing them race for a lot of money and for their cars. In real street racing, most of that does not happen. When comparing the real street racing scene as it was to the way it was shown in the movie, racers would all show up on a empty street, not a big business street usually an industrial area, and people would ask each other if they want to race, and if they choose to, they would then line up and race each other. If there was any betting going on at the races, it wasn't shown and flaunted in front of everyone as it was in the movie. (Fontana)
When it comes to street racing, people are basically allowed to use any type of engine/car set-up that they want, and race whoever they want. Some match-ups are uneven, some are even, it all depends on what the person has done to his car. Modifications to cars nowadays is way out of hand, and parts can come a dime a dozen at any store at any corner. It is hard to sort out the old-fashioned street racers from the imitations, because all the imitations have money from their parents to fix up their car. In the early 90's when Hondas, Mazdas, and Toyotas were starting out at the street races, people would use all of their little money from jobs and such to put it into their cars. Some people from back then, used to race for a few bucks to buy them food at the local In-N-Out or to buy them drinks after the races. Street racing used to be a small, friendly gathering where people became social with one another. Nowadays at the street races, people keep to themselves, and take winning and losing very seriously. Street racing has grown over the whole United States, and even into many other continents. "Everyone's got a hobby. And this just happens to be mine. Why? Because it gets your blood flowing to your head, you get this amazing rush when you know you just beat your quarter mile time and you whupped up on that Civic next to you." (Brown) A crew member for a racing team in Connecticut agrees. "Hardcore street racers enjoy every minute of it, and they love the risk involved," "but our crew does it because it is a hobby of all of ours that brings us all together as friends. We meet new people every time we go out there." (Silla) This sport isn't only popular in the United States, either. A racer from Australia says that his reasons for racing may be a bit different from kids just starting out with racing. "I do it for the sound and noise of racing and the speed. It is a hobby and it's competitive to have the fastest car, the most powerful car and the best looking and loudest car. But, I'm in it for the cash too." Other kids though, explains Adam, see the thrill in racing being illegal. "Kids think that its cool because the cops don't want them to be there," continued Adam "...they think its cool that they get chased out, and that its breaking the law. They see the cops and they run, and that's fun." (Jensen) As described, a typical race night involves more than just showing up with your car. "After the strip was discussed, people would go to the beginning and end [of the strip] with walkie talkies to radio back and forth when it was clear to send the next set of cars," (Wong). "People would direct cars where to park, so they wouldn't get in the way and cause and accident. That is organized racing," he adds with a reassuring nod. It seems that although speed attracts people to illegal racing, the drivers themselves have to love the sport to pursue it. They are serious improving their performance and modifying their cars' capabilities to become the best they can be, and aren't afraid to try and prove it. However, they are unstereotypically very concerned for the safety and well being of the people participating and watching the race. "Its been going on for generations and [it] will continue," "the only problem is that as popularity grows there will be more people to mess up the scene and cause people to be hurt or killed...and that's a shame." (Wong) These are the opinions of only a few racers out a million throughout the entire world.
When it comes to the world of street racing, there is a good side, which is fun and excitement, and there is a bad side, accidents and dangers. But for police it's a cat-and-mouse game with teen-agers and young adult racers, but both sides bring new twists to the age-old battle. "It's illegal, and it's dangerous." (Atwood) Since before the 1955 cult classic movie "Rebel Without A Cause" made James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo famous, street racing has been a popular teen pastime. Back then, however, most police agencies simply broke up the races and sent droves of teens on their way. Authorities are mindful of the death Dec. 23 of a 19-year-old motorcycle rider who died when his motorcycle slammed into a car during a street racing gathering attended by more than 150 people in Renton, as well as a recent incident in Florida in which a young man racing another vehicle struck a car, killing his own mother and an elderly woman(About Street Racing: Streetracing On The Inside). Street racing can occur in any place, at any time, it doesn't matter what kind of car, it doesn't matter the place, and it doesn't matter the time, the only thing that matters is what the two people have on their mind about racing.
At the illegal street races, crowds ranging from 10 to 100 plus gather in free spirit to watch other people gather and show off their cars. It is a scene where you can come watch, enjoy, and/or participate. During my attendance of the street races, I have noticed that the trends of age stay mostly between teens and college kids, and occasionally there are the adults who have been out there for a number of years. In the culture of the car-racing scene, the ethnicities among people in the racing scene differ greatly. The ethnicities range from Asians to Hispanics to Whites to Blacks and to many other different ethnicities. Street racing among the country has spread like a wild fire. To some people it's a bug that they can't get rid of; to others it's a life and its what they do. To me, I feel that it's a fun and exciting sport to do, as long as it is done in a safe and friendly environment.
As the street racers begin to modify their cars, their modifications can extend from some small like an air filter, which helps to improve airflow to the engine, to a fully built turbocharged/supercharged/naturally aspirated motor. A Turbocharged engine is an engine with the use of a forced induction unit called turbo, which adds a good amount of horsepower and torque to the engine. A turbo is usually priced at around a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the quality and size of the turbo. A supercharged motor is a motor powered by a supercharger. A Supercharger is a forced induction unit that attaches to where the intake manifold on a car goes. This gives a good amount of added power and torque to a car. The last is Naturally Aspirated, naturally aspirated is basically all-motor, which means no forced induction, no power adders, just straight engine power. People at the street races can vary from having any type of engine, stock or modified, it all depends on the money they have, and the knowledge that they have to get it down.
The scene of true street racing has been moving away from the originality that it used to have. Nowadays, people come out with all sorts of cars, trucks, vans, and such and think that they can race and do whatever. Many people that think they are racers drive their cars out to the hang-outs and start revving their engines, peeling out, doing donuts and dumb useless things which just attracts more attention from the police to crack down. Police are a big part of the street-racing scene. Usually the police would wait for the racers to go down to a specific spot and start racing before they start cracking down or they would try to break up the hang-out spot. Most of the time, when racers see police coming towards the hang-out spot or the racing spot, everyone will jump into their vehicles and race off as fast as they can, so they don't get caught. Most people that come down to the races, when they see a police car, they do idiotic things like making a U-turn, hard turning, hard merging, and things that are dangerous, just so they can get away and not get caught. At times when the police are going for a big street racing bust, they will bring in flatbed trucks, and numerous police cars, and block off streets. Once they have accomplished that as well as they can, the police will then begin to ticket by-standers for solicitation, they will also tell racers to open their hoods, so they can inspect what parts they have on their engines, and to check if they are legal or illegal. Sometimes, police officers might wait for two racers to start racing down a street, and then pull them over once they are closer to him and ticket them. Some police officers will cruise down the street where the racers are, just to see what they are doing, and if they decide to, bust them. In my opinion, if you see a police car driving down, just stay calm, and once you jump into your car, stay calm again and do not do anything idiotic or illegal. Another difference between the original racers and the imitation racers is that the original street racers stay calm and don't panic when they see police, while the imitation racers, get nervous and fidgety and do everything to get out of there as fast as possible, only caring for themselves.
During my experience of being in the street racing world, the street racing world has been blown out of proportion and shot to hell, because of the imitation and fake things that come into the car scene. The racing scene is a sport, hobby, and an experience that can be great to all, as long as they take it safe and easy. The reason why it is an experience, is because friendships are formed, a communion among people that aren't alike, come together in their joint fun of cars. The age of illegal street racing is getting out of hand with all the wannabe racers that think they are the best and that they know what they are talking about. They can think that they are the best and the fastest until something bad goes wrong and ends their whole experience. Street racing is a very dangerous sport and scene to be in. Accidents and injuries may occur, and once that happens, people tend to panic, which may end up causing more accidents and injuries. I think the safest way for racers who love street racing is to take it to the track. That is why my opinion stands that they should re-open the Brotherhood Raceway, so racers can go and be safe while doing what they do. Street racing is a dangerous sport, but it's a life and love that people have and are not willing to give up. I believe that as long as racers do what they can to keep street racing, that it should be legal. It all racers do their part in trying to keep it safe and not dangerous, then I think the government or city or whoever, should give street racers respect and allow them a place to have fun and do what they do best.
Atwood, Kathy. "Red Flag For The Racing Crowd." Hearld Net. 2 January 2002. 13
April 2002 <http://www.heraldnet.com/Stories/02/1/2/14952666.cfm>.
Brown, John, Adam Jensen, Pat Silla, David Wong. "Streetracing: On The Inside." 14 April
Fontana, Aaron M. "The Fast and the Furious." Entertainment Today. 10 April
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