Editor’s Scratchpad

Monday, September 3, 2001

Getting racers to safer ground

Whenever a road-racing incident results in injury or death, the plea goes out to would-be road racers to "take it to the track."

This was a valid call from the 1950s through the early 1980s. Popular automobile street racing was "drag racing," or the quarter-mile sprint from a standing start. Oahu's only racing facility, in Kapolei, has a quarter-mile drag strip, as well as a quarter-mile dirt oval track.

More recently, however, street racers have taken to flat-out, high-speed runs that cover long distances on Oahu's freeways. What is missing is a paved, high-speed oval banked track similar to NASCAR ovals that would give street racers the thrill they seek.

Perhaps the Legislature could look at a private-public partnership to enlarge the existing facility, or it could contemplate building a new facility at Kalaeloa. Entrance fees could include vehicle inspection fees and racing insurance, covering liability for the track operators and participants.

To get high-speed racers off the street, they need a place where they can legally and safely test the limits of their machines.

Blaine Fergerstrom

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