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N4T Investigators: Tucson Dragway suggests possible solution to surging street racing activity

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Street racing has been a growing problem across Tucson.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said activity has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The chief has vowed to crack down on street racing. 

 “The Tucson community is tired of reckless and self-centered individuals flying past them at crazy speeds," Magnus said at a press conference the end of January. "We won't tolerate a single road in our City made too dangerous for the public to use because it’s a playground for immature, irresponsible drivers.”

The weekend immediately after that press conference, Jan. 30-31, TPD reports making at least 10 street racing arrests. News 4 Tucson continued to ask for updates on arrests made since, TPD has not provided us the numbers.  

Now, the Tucson Dragway is hoping it can be part of the solution if certain obstacles can be removed. The racetrack has been mostly shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic. 

However, track manager Matt DeYoung believes they can help with the street racing problem.  

 “We want to pull those street racers off the street and let them race here,” DeYoung said.  

He said pre-pandemic the dragway would host street racing events where people can bring their own cars and race their friends down the track.

He believes it was effective at controlling the issue.  

“Our firm belief is we have two walls a fire and medical crew," DeYoung said. "We want them here. We want to make it as safe as possible. We don’t want to add issues to the area. Since COVID-19 happened, we’ve noticed you can always see there’s stuff on the streets. On the Facebook pages and Nextdoor apps, people are complaining about street racers every day. And we want those racers to come here.” 

Despite being outdoors with plenty of room, DeYoung said the Pima County Health Department isn’t allowing them to host races with any fans in the stands. Without being able to bring their friends, DeYoung believes street racers won't bother coming.   

“In the next few weeks, we’re going to be announcing some new programs, Take it to the Track and stuff like that with law enforcement, that will help us," he said. "That’s going to be a huge plus but we have to do that with a more than semi-open facility."

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tipline at 520-955-4444. 

Chorus Nylander

Chorus Nylander is the Chief Investigative Reporter for News 4 Tucson. He is focused on giving the voiceless a voice and holding the powerful accountable.

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