i-Team: Street Racing
It takes a car traveling at 200 miles per hour 400 feet and 10 seconds to come to a complete stop. Now imagine that car rapidly approaching you in your rear view mirror. Street racing in the middle of the night. Its happening on our local streets, and morning anchor Olivia Deas went undercover to find out exactly how it’s all happening in her news extra.
You might call it the Fast and the Furious Montgomery style. Heavily modified cars, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, tearing down interstate 85 at night. Its growing in popularity, and is now happening in your hometown.
No helmets, no roll cages, and no walls, but these cars are going the same speeds as on a track.
A different type of street racing, that’s not on the back roads and I saw it first hand, riding along with a driver associated with an underground racing society in Montgomery.
It’s called roll racing, and it’s gaining popularity in the U.S. after an online competitive racing group called 1320 started releasing videos like this. The race usually involves high end cars, like Porches. The drivers start from a rolling speed, usually about 35 miles per hour, and then floor it, beginning the race.
Here’s how it works:
- a minimum of 4 cars enter the interstate at the same time.
- the two cars that are racing go ahead, while the two behind slow down to a speed of 35 miles per hour, blocking traffic for the two racing, leaving several thousand feet of race space.
- 3 honks and the race starts.
After the three honks, the drivers reach the highest speed possible until slamming on their brakes, to avoid hitting traffic.
The race is over in a matter of seconds. The first one to reach traffic is the winner.
Montgomery County Sheriff Derek Cunningham knows a little bit about street racing as a car enthusiast himself. However, this he says- he didn’t know about.
“Is this the first time you’ve heard of something like this”, Cunningham said, “oh yeah, roll racing on the interstate, first time I’ve seen it and first time I’ve heard about it”
Neither the Montgomery City Police nor the sheriff’s department had a clue this was going on. State troopers say they had heard about something similar, but the trooper shortage keeps them from doing much about it.
“Stuff like this where people are calling you, telling you about it and not telling the troopers or nobody,” a state trooper said. “This is all up and down the interstate. Has anyone called DPS? This is something in law enforcement, we need information.”
Racing on the street can carry a sentence of up to 6 month in prison and losing your license, but racing here at Montgomery raceway park is a safer alternative.
“They’ll be cars out here doing 150, 160, 170 mph in a short distance and we’d rather not have that happen on the street and it’s dangerous,” Greg Miles said.
Greg Miles is the race director for monster roll invitational, a race specifically designed for cars that roll race.
“Same exact thing happens here as does on the street, except it’s safer, more fun,” Miles said. “We’re wearing helmets and things like that.”
However, legal races like this one are hard to come by because the track isn’t specifically designed for this type of racing.
“Its not designed for roll racing. It’s equipment is not designed for roll racing.”
In order to roll race at the raceway, drivers have to rent out the entire track, usually running them around $100/each to race. Consequently, many drivers end up racing on the road to avoid the cost.
“This car tops out at 200 miles per hour, goes 0-60 in 2.4 seconds and most definitely puts you in the back of your seat!,” Deas said.
Greyson McGowin has two modified Porsches with 12-hundred horse power between the two. He uses races like this to feed his hobby.
“If you’re street racing on the street obviously the conditions are uncontrolled. You never know if someone is going to pull out in front of you when you are at extremely illegal speeds, or if someone is going to slam on the breaks,” McGowin says.
You can slam on the breaks, take a corner too fast and cause an accident. Last December three people died including a child in Greene County during a drag race in which the car left the road and hit bystanders. That driver is now charged with murder. Sheriff Cunningham wants these drivers to know, they are not exempt from the law.
“I don’t care if they’re driving some of the most expensive cars out there”, Cunningham said. “The message I’m sending to them is if we hear about it, we’re gonna get ya. I don’t care who you are or who’s bagging you. If you’re out here putting peoples lives in jeopardy to prove a point to your friends, we’re coming after you and we’re gonna get you.”
Law enforcement is asking you to be their eyes and ears on the road, because races like this, aren’t going to stop.
“There will always be street races, always.”
These races don’t always happen on interstate 85, though it is an ideal place since racers need a long strip of straight road. Another legal roll race will take place at Montgomery Raceway Park in May.
Law enforcement says they will increase patrols on the interstate since becoming aware of the issue.