The Evolution of Street Racing

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Written by: wruffato

Street racing has been an exciting yet dangerous pastime since before cars were invented. It originally began with horses. People would get together in remote locations to bet on which person would win. Then when cars were invented, the event evolved. However, the max speed of the first car was only 10 MPH, while a horses top speed is 55 MPH. The driver could control the cars a little better than the horses. Racing built up adrenaline as well as one could make a quick buck.

Beginning of Street Racing

While the first car was invented around 1886, racing automobiles on the street did not begin until the 1930s. The average speed of a regular vehicle in the ’30s was around 50 MPH. But if you bought a top end car, they came in at about 90 MPH. Many people would stock their cars with v8s or 12 cylinders to get a higher speed per mile.

As street racing has always been illegal, one would have to find a location up in the hills, or on a back country road in El Paso. Also, planning for the race was a challenge. Sometimes a group of buddies would decide on the spot to start a race, while other times it was a planned out event using a local towing company to transport their moded cars.

It was the 1950’s when street racing became popular. Guys would soup up their cars for maximum performance. California was the capital of the street racing boom. Car clubs began in this era. They would perform community services during the day and race at night. The police began cracking down on this dangerous pastime, and eventually, they had to move underground.

In the 1980s, the underground street racing movement was in full force. Clubs upon clubs would appear all over the United States. They would get a few clubs together in a remote location to bet on the races, either with money or pink slips.

Types of Street Racing

Drag was the first style of street racing, which started in the 1950s. Originally, this was a two car race. A flagger or a pistol would single the drives to start. Then they would go to a predetermined location, in a straight line.

Toge street racing was created in Japan. Basically, the party of racers would decide on a mountain, winding and narrow road to hit top speeds on. This type of race was extremely dangerous because of the paths the drivers take. The toge racing was popular in Japan because of the vast mountain roads.

Burnout street racing is the way the racers take off. Both would line up, and peel out. Burning their tires in the process. It is an exciting way to get the fans riled up.

Drifting, which is seen in various movies, is the act of driving. The driver turns the steering wheel in a quick motion which makes the car appear to be sliding around corners. This style of street racing was also developed in Japan.

Street racing has been dubbed the rebellious cousin of NASCAR. While this is still highly illegal, organizations beginning in the 1960s operated legal street racing in a controlled environment. Both illegal and legal practices are still very popular today.

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