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SoCal’s New 330′ Street Legal Dragway Could Mark A Revolution

Southern California, the birthplace of drag racing, remains a hot-bed of hot rodding and car culture, and with that, naturally, comes high-speed, public endeavors that often skirt the law. It’s of course no secret that California, the nation’s most populous state, with 40 million residents — roughly 24 million of those in the southern portion of the state alone — is barren of closed-course drag strips.

Only the 1/8-mile Barona Drags near San Diego, Irwindale Drag Strip nearer to Los Angeles, and the Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield — a venue locals would argue isn’t even truly SoCal — serve those 24 million people. Eight million people per track, in a basic sense. Compare that to, say, Alabama, with 5 million residents and 15 dragstrips, or Kentucky, with 4.5 million residents and 11 tracks. Yeah, things are bleak in Cali.

The challenge for racers and track operators in California has largely been urban sprawl, which has gobbled up legendary venues that once canvassed the region. But the hot rodders remain. So, Californian Andy Marocco envisioned and set out to create an economically feasible solution — one that looks very different to the dragways we’re accustomed to, but that could be useful and perhaps even revolutionary in its own way.

The aptly-named Street Legal Dragway, located next to the Perris Auto Speedway dirt oval and on the grounds of the Southern California Fair Grounds in Riverside County, features a shortened 330-foot dragstrip dedicated specifically to street cars and enthusiasts looking for a venue to safely conduct acceleration contests. The very basic track represents a lower-cost entry to providing a dragway to get people off the street — less land, infrastructure, and material and labor cost. Yet, other than the short distance, which purists will rightfully argue against, it’s perfectly suited to the problem that exists in SoCal. A facility of this size and format isn’t for the hardcore among us, but imagine if you will the increased likelihood of new tracks to be built around the country if the barrier to entry is lower — be it shorter, smaller, less technical, or what have you.

The World Drag Racing Alliance (WDRA), a new sanctioning group within the sport, saw an opportunity to address the illegal street racing issue head-on by partnering with Andy on the project. “Working with Andy on this endeavor is not just an acknowledgment of the illegal street racing problem—it’s an actionable solution,” says Jon O’Neal, representative of the WDRA. “Street Legal Dragway’s concept of a nationally recognized and sanctioned short track format presents a scalable model that can be readily adopted across the country, making a significant impact in curbing illegal street racing. We believe this is a blueprint for others to follow.”

Marocco, the driving force behind Street Legal Dragway, added, “This idea has been years in the making, and we are thrilled to receive support from the State of California and the Riverside County Sheriff to bring our vision to life. WDRA’s recognition and sanctioning of our track are invaluable, providing guidance in running our race events successfully.”

All cars will be required to be registered and insured, have working mufflers and radial tires, and be in otherwise safe working orders. Drivers are required to have a valid driver’s license, and at least initially, trailers will not be allowed (in part due to space constraints).


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