Street Racing – Complete Guide

Street racing is an illegal auto racing sport in which two or more drivers race on public roads amongst other vehicles. Be cause of the risks involved it is illegal in almost every country worldwide, with punishments ranging from high fines to jail time. The inherent risk is that a vehicle in the race will be exceeding the speed limit and endangering other drivers who are following the law. Additionally a car pulling out onto the street during a legal turn may become victim to the Street Racer if he or she is unable to avoid swerving in time to miss the car. The controversial aspects of street racing involve the excessive use of speed, the risks, and the overall disadvantage of vehicle control on roads not meant for high speed travel – in the case of some local roads speeds could be more than three times the legal speed limit.The history of car tuning and street racing can both be traced back to Prohibition.

In 1919 the nineteenth amendment was passed in the United States making intoxicating substances (alcohol mainly) illegal, and the possession of it liable to jail time. For a period of fourteen years this would be in effect, and from it the largest boom in bootlegging and organized crime would rise. From this came those willing to break the law, and to facilitate this they needed better vehicles to out run the law. So they would take normal cars, and then modify them, and thus car tuning in mass was born, as was the street race. Commonly what would happen is someone with liquor from Canada would make it across the border on a delivery run or someone who had finished distilling and fermenting liquor would be on the delivery run, and then the police and the other law enforcement agencies of the time would begin a chase.

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In a standard vehicle at the time, power wasn’t as efficient unless it had been tuned right, thus these tuned cars easily out-performed the stock police vehicles, and raced away on the streets. This started around 1920, and grew until 1933, when it was at its peak. In 1933 the nineteenth amendment was repealed, and the need for the cars was diminished… however many people became addicted to the racing itself, and thus the sport of it was born.

Several vehicles are used in street racing, seeing how it is such a popular activity it involves more than just cars, and when it comes to cars there are many kinds preferred for their ease of modification and their overall appeal to the user. Being able to tune, customize, and modify a car is an absolute must for the industry. Without that ability, the entire concept of the street race is kind of killed. However, street races also take place with motorcycles, which are usually modified for the event. Some can be modified to extremes that can let them redline and go much faster than a car, and as such the danger to the driver is higher. Many modifications on cars also have motorcycle and motorbike equivalents, from being able to modify the fuel and oxygen mix to the flashy LED lights that have become popular. Another vehicle used is the compact pickup truck. These are becoming ever more popular as kits and modifications are discovered and released. Some trucks have been modified extensively, and use the bed for additional modifications, such as nitrous tanks. Spoilers, splitters, and many vents are added to increase the handling and the horsepower of these beasts of the racing world. Seldom will you see one that is unmodified. Similar to the street race they also participate in a limited uphill competition that is also illegal, as it still breaks speed laws. By attempting to climb the side of a steep hill or mountain they test their torque against each other and compete for the best truck.

So why do people insist upon this dangerous sport? Overall there are many different reasons for the sports popularity. Some like the idea of the sport having less rules, and in turn less stringent regulations on the kind of tuning for the vehicle, or power limits. Others are youthful who are below the drinking age, and thus find this as an alternative to getting smashed drunk. However some still drive while smashed in these races, increasing the risk of loss of control, poor judgment, and death. Once the racing starts and becomes a monthly or even weekly event a group forms, and as human being are social animals, this further feeds the racing, and as such the thriving group becomes its own kind of society. However this can also lead to organized crime (according to police). Many race to prove their skills as a driver, or to show how well they can tune a car. Others do it to make up for a lack of social acceptance, thereby proving to themselves and to others that they are worthy. There is also an adrenalin rush, and as such, this can lead to an addiction for things that create this rush, along with most races being free to enter and free of many of the common things that the other more pro sports have. Others attend the races because they may be in for the betting, or for the rush, but usually it is the betting. Drivers can also bet, which creates a further incentive to participate in these kinds of events. Finally there is the dual.

Street Racing Car - Nissan

The dual is unique to the racing as it can take on any kind of racing form and be in any format that the two wish to settle it in. Usually this is a drag race; two out of three, however it can be an extended drag race of up to two miles long and the winner wins the dual. These kinds of duals can be spawned by ego, where one claims to be better than the other or have the better car, to settle a bet in order to avoid or collect payment for money owed, to fight over the rights to a female (which is actually quite common), to prove ones manliness (less common but exists) and finally to take on the best and attempt to prove you are better (where perhaps there has been no ego flaunting, but a newcomer wishes to prove their worth and their status assured). What is also motivated by these sports is for those who do not own cars like those popular in racing, and may be inclined to theft or perhaps mentally unstable, will go out and steal a car similar to those used. Additionally organized crime might be fostered, along with property loss and vandalism, and the formation of gangs – not to mention the obvious risk of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities.

Street racing has two classes and several subtypes as far as the form of racing goes. The first and most common is the spontaneous race. These races occur at red lights, and a series of signals are given back and forth to confirm the race. Starting with either an engine rev or flashing headlights; then progressing then eye contact and a nod. There are two ways of winning, first is reaching the speed limit first, and the other is actually breaking the speed limit and winning down the stretch of road that is the target of the race. These are often not as dangerous when they are only to the speed limit; however it still poses a risk to pedestrians and other cars, by far more dangerous is the race that exceeds the speed limit itself. This could and may likely have disastrous results.

Car Explosion

The planned illegal events come in three to four different setups depending on region. However, all of these events are indeed illegal and even watching can put you at risk for a fine. Most of these events are organized by young males between the ages of 18 and 30; however it has been going on for well over fifty years and it would not be a surprise to see someone in their seventies willing to compete. The prize in many cases can be a cash pool, or a hand-made trophy, and merely may just be for status. Many races take place with no prize, and just with the recognition of who has the better car and who is the better driver. Most if not all cars that participate have been heavily modified and tuning is evident by either modified EFC’s or ECU’s, along with fuel injection modification and exhaust modifications. Some of the more complex modifications that do exist are exhaust rerouting, which is the ability to change the way the exhaust exist the vehicle before the race, thereby allowing for more horsepower and less backpressure. Although the race becomes very loud with the exhaust re-routed to a different line, the boost in power at higher speeds and redline is very different than that of a muffled vehicle. Other modifications in tuning include spoilers and shaving, along with everything else you could imagine in order to give the car better handling and more raw power. Nitro is often times seen.

Street Racing Car

There are several subtypes for this illegal behavior involving planned events. One of them, and by far one of the most popular, is drag racing. In this two or more cars can compete, and it is similar to the red-light green-light spontaneous scenario. Except in the planned event it will usually be three honks of a horn, whereupon the third the participants take off down a designated length of road. The first one to reach the finish line, usually two cars parked across from each other, is declared the winner, unless the contest is 2 out of 3. During this the vehicles will often be redlined, however shifting while redlined is very risky, and poses the severe risk of totally ruining the car’s transmission and damaging the engine. Therefore the driver must be very skilled at shifting before redlining, managing the acceleration to prevent spin, and finally maneuvering next to another vehicle with no barrier in between. The results of these races can be tragic, as both cars could be going at more that 100 miles per hour, and another car, unaware of the event, pulls out on its normal route. What then occurs is a spectacular accident in which many men women and children have so far lost their lives. This is why many races occur between the hours of 2 and 5 AM.

Another type of racing is the long-haul race. Different from the drag race there is usually no set length limit. What happens is that a group of cars who plan to participate will crowd around on a road travelling at half the posted speed limit, then a car horn will blare out three times, upon the third the cars take off, and race each other until one of them is much further ahead than the others. This one is then the winner. However should there be no clear victor from the race, another race will usually occur again, until someone wins, or until upon agreement within the group a winner is agreed upon. The rewards from this type of racing are usually non-monetary, however sometimes bets will be placed amongst the group, thereby creating a pot for the winner.

Candyred Supra

Over-steer racing, otherwise known as Touge racing, is an ever gaining popular motorsport and illegal activity on the street, where the vehicle is purposefully drifted in order to turn, by over steering the vehicle and causing something that normal people would take a load in their pants to on a rainy night. The sport on the street usually involves two cars that will race around a winding road, with one car trying to keep up with the other car. If the car behind can keep up, he or she is declared the winner of that round. This is then repeated with the roles reversed, where the car behind is now the car in front. Should the car behind fall behind, the car in front is declared as the winner. Should there be a tie, another round may be done, or a drag race to finish it off as a tie breaker may be done. The risks of losing control in drifting are much higher than the previous two covered so far. In fact this is one of the very dangerous forms of the sport.

Finally comes one many people are familiar with. The run. Or specifically, the Cannonball Run. The Cannonball run is a point to point race, meaning it might start in New Mexico and end in Texas at specified town at specified ending locations. This means that the races can last for more than one day, and will usually have a navigator accompanying the driver in order to make it there quickly, and avoid any wrong turns. Today in the United States the laws are so stringent that it is virtually impossible to organize one of these in which the participants can actually go over the speed limit. However this does not preclude one that facilitates navigation as the primary winning factor, as long as the speed limits are kept and all cars actually go the speed limits it is not illegal, or at least not as noticeable. Such an example would be a starting location in Los Angeles, and an ending location in a small obscure town in Florida. The navigation across the country and keeping pace while using the different roads and interstates available could give some drivers ample opportunity to outpace their competitors. The last major event in which speed was the factor occurred in the late 70’s to early 80’s. However the ones where navigation is the key are still ongoing today, although obscure.

An alternative that was directly spun off from the Cannonball involves rallies on non-public roads, and have actually become in some cases sanctioned sports, as there is minimal risk to the public on private property, plus the addition of signed waivers. There are also other vents, like the Gumball 3000 and the Players Run. Most of them are called rallies rather than races due to the legal implications of hosting a race across the U.S. Overall most forms of the racing today exist in the spontaneous group, or the small drag or grouped events rather than large nation wide races that stretch more than 2-3 thousand miles.

There are many different and odd words in the street racing community, and every region has their own variations, however some of the more common terms are known throughout. Some people may be left behind in the conversation if they talk to someone who participates in the community of illegal racers. Thus I will extrapolate a few of these terms and words for you.

Jump – First of all there is what is known as the jump. This is also known in professional drag racing; as such you probably know this one. It means to leave early before the green light, flag, or horn has been activated or sounded. As such it is breaking the rules and the race can be redone should the other driver stay at the line. However, should the other racer go when the first one jumps it will be considered a valid race – and unlike professional sports it is not a grounds for disqualification.

Move – Also known as a break, or a kick, as in to kick off or break away. In this one car shoots off before the others have the signal or flag. As such the person who does this is liable to actually be kicked out, or have physical violence from other participants descend upon them. However this is also used as a handicap for new drivers, as they start the race, and the others start as soon as they see the new driver pull out. It can also be done as a way of handicapping someone who may have been wronged in a previous race, allowing for them to have a head start. But usually it is the cause for a severe beating and backlash.

Dig – Cars line up with the front bumpers all at the same line. Then they race to another destination, either like a drag or continuous. Digging in, so to speak.

Roll – As covered before, a roll is a race in which all the cars are still moving, until the honk is sounded and they all race until there is a clear winner. A variation on this is that they all race until all but one car drops out, leaving that car as the winner.

Street Racing Japan

Every country has their own variety of street race culture, and in larger countries it can even vary from region to region. In Australia, for example, there is a large racing culture built around the popular local built autos, and they are focused around the cities of Melbourne and Sydney. Queensland is beginning to see ever increasing numbers of this activity as well, however, because of the country’s extensive outback, much of the racing that occurs in the desolate locations on the country go un-noticed unless there is an accident or fatality, or when the sky patrol catches a race in the act. Their preferred local cars are the Toranas, Commodore, Ford Falcon, and Holden Monaros. These vehicles have a rugged body and frame that can take the punishment of the outback’s roads, and are often modified with more powerful engines, better fuel injection systems, and bigger carburetors when applicable.

Japan is home to some of the wildest races ever, being the originator of drifting and other extremely crazy racing ideas. It was at one point extremely popular, until the fatalities started racking up numbers, and then it went into decline with much stricter law enforcement. However it remains extremely popular today, in spite of the stricter laws and limits. The motivations in Japan involve slightly different than normal ones, seeing how the overcrowding of raceways and the youth’s ability to save money play more of a role for status, rather than revenge or other reasons previously covered. You could say a lot of them are just bored youth.

In Sweden the most popular form is the drag race, or modified versions of it, and during the eighties and early nineties it was very common to see a race. However by the mid nineties the sport was nearly abandoned in Sweden due to the legal races being allowed at local raceways. Not only did this solve much of the problem, but it has made the streets of Sweden safer, and has set a standard that can be copied by other nations. By providing places for street racing to occur, even raceways, it eliminates the desire to do it out on the public roads, much like skate-board parks eliminate a lot of the vandalism and damage caused by skateboarders around parking lots and buildings not designed for that kind of interaction.

Drag Racing

In the United States it is quite clear that street racing is probably done on a larger scale and by more people than any other country in the world. In addition to having more cars than the Chinese army has extra guns, the U.S. also sports a healthy tuning community and a tradition dating back to the 1920’s with street racing. During the 1980s after the destruction of the Cannonball Runs and similar cross country races, smaller drag races, spontaneous races, and organized races became popular. During the late nineties it peaked, and by the end of this year literally millions of races will have taken place, in part due to the popularity of the “Fast and Furious” movies that have helped to mold a youth who want to go fast. Some states within the U.S. have taken to making some forms of car tuning in it illegal in an attempt to curb the ever rising numbers of street racers. However, as the availability of private roads and raceways remains scarce, there is really no alternative to the determined, and even those who may not be that determined to race will be goaded by the fact that there is absolutely no where else to go fast. Thus the culture of street racing in the United States is not likely to come to and end any time soon. Being almost 90 years old, Street Racing in the States is staying around for a long while.

The future of Street Racing looks to be as crash prone as ever, and also in many countries, primarily those of a westernized culture, like England, Australia, Canada, The United States, Japan, and many others, it will only increase. A rise in popularity in South America amongst Brazilians can also be noted, additionally with other countries south of the U.S. border as well. Many of the emerging countries are likely to see a rise in this illegal sport, and we may soon be hearing of problems in other places across the globe, such as many countries in Africa and Middle East. South Africa already has seen a drastic rise in the street racing activities. It would not be a far stretch of the imagination to know that even in China and Mongolia it can and will happen, as it will also begin to occur in India. Europe has already had problems with it, even in the Balkans.

The mechanical aspect of the vehicles can be separated in two future developments. The higher efficient economy cars will continue to feed the lower budget racer while the newer super-powered cars will be the toys of the rich. However classic cars will also be seen more as their engines are easier to modify and their electrical systems much simpler. A third class of older racers as this generation ages is likely to persist, and with that are the medical bills and possibilities of accidents. In the United States many racer are over the age of fifty, and have been doing it for more than thirty years. There are smaller numbers of even older racer, but they do exist as well. The future methods of law enforcement are likely to become more high tech with road monitoring censors, and stricter air patrols. Some have proposed in the United States to use un-manned predator drones to watch the roads, however this has been forcibly beaten back by those with privacy concerns. Additional methods that have been on the table for combating the illegal races for years include automatic shutdown system and even engine disablers, devices that could kill the electrical systems of a more modern vehicle (which is why older ones will be seen as more valuable should this ever become an economically viable method of stopping cars).

In conclusion the motorsport of Street Racing is a very dangerous and cheap way to have entertainment. However for many the costs outweigh the benefits. Car tuning has become a sustainable economy because of the street racing crowds – which further fuels the need for more parts in a kind of technological arms race for the better faster car. In the end its an illegal car race that puts lives at risk, and can result in extremely devastating accidents, such as one recent accident that injured around 50 people and killed twelve in the United States. The accident occurred after a race had gone off, and people were crowding around on a road. A car not involved ended up plowing the crowd of people. Street racing, however, if done in sanctioned areas and private roads can be both fun and exhilarating for the driver and the crowds. However for street racing to become a safe sport that is enjoyable to all some regulations are needed in order to assure the safety of the drivers and the bystanders so that no one gets killed, or hurt. There is no price on human life, and as such all that can be done to create alternatives, like Sweden has done, should be considered and implemented as soon as possible.

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  1. mark says:

    hot rides n lush babes

  2. BazraiL says:

    2 Thumbs Up 4 Srreet Racing Tuning
    LOOOOOVE the Cars

  3. teppo says:

    im wanting to get in to street racing how could i get started?

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