By on April 15, 2009

According to a recent Fox News “Special Investigation,” the amount of illegal street racing is rising dramatically in Los Angeles. During the report, the segment highlighted a variety of small Japanese cars, ranging from ’98 Acura Integras to ’02 Honda Accords. (Small range, but there you go.) Some of these cars wore slicks, most had a turbo charger and all of their exhausts were in (or out of) tune. During the commercial break, viewers were treated to a trailer for “The Fast & Furious” (known internationally as “The Fast & Furious 4″). One moment Fox is lamenting the senseless loss of life caused by street racers’ pursuit of automotive adrenalin, the next it promotes a senseless movie about street racers’ pursuit of automotive adrenalin. Wait; it gets worse.

After the break, the talking head introduced a segment entitled, “How towns are helping to stop this dangerous culture.” (Street racing, not the Hollywood producers behind the Fast & Furious movie). The town featured (without even a raised eyebrow to indicate the irony): Victorville.

Victorville is a small town in what’s called Apple Valley. If we are to believe our eyes (OK, cue in the cow!), bovines and humans share Victorville’s streets. Which are now, as you’d imagine, plagued with street racers. That the local police are determined to eradicate like farmers facing bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Yes, in this land that urbanization forgot, the police department is “cracking down” on all cars that have been “tuned” for racing. They’re handing out $300+ citations ofor automobiles with an exhaust that makes some noise, chromed air intakes, and, worst of all, a turbocharger.

What possible harm could come from a small turbo attached to a relatively underpowered car? Shiny air filters? An exhaust that likes to howl every time the accelerator gets stepped on? Lamborghini and Ferrari adhere to same basic philosophy on a much greater scale, and you don’t see them being given a ridiculous fine. OK, Lamborghini and Ferrari ownership is a kind of ridiculous fine. But the point remains: what is the point?

The modified vehicles preferred by “fans” of the street racing culture may encourage illegal behavior, but so do rap lyrics (some, still). Until Bill O’Reilly is elected dictator, Americans still have the right to pose like bad mo’ fo’s, whether its outside a club or in their car. Anyway, I’ve come up with a solution to the “growing problem” of illegal street racing (I’m still working on the Vin Diesel thing).

The police should seek out (and not sleep with) girls who look like Jordana Brewster and Megan Fox (different movie but who’s complaining). After the inductees sign over the movie rights to their lives, they should be commissioned as undercover operatives. The police should educate them about vehicle dynamics (e.g., torque steer and downforce), and then brainwash them into believing that anthropomorphic global warming is the greatest threat to mankind since that gigantic asteroid that took out most of North America. Oh wait, that was a movie too. Never mind. Just tell them it was based on a actual event.

The undercover officers should then seek out the illegal street racers. Arranging their clothing in a suitable manner (i.e., removing strategic parts of their ensemble), the babes should explain to the boy racers that really hot girls don’t like noisy cars with stupid things sticking out of them, or bright lights creating a hovercraft effect (that’s so ’60s). Hot girls prefer a factory-spec ride that’s comfortable, clean and bone stock (so to speak).

If the racer seems receptive (Paul Walker-a-likes may need apply), the officers should then say what really turns them on: hypermiling. “You’d be amazed at what you can do in a car when you go really, really slow.” On second thought, how about “How can you belch all that CO2 into our atmosphere? Think about our children!” Nope, same thing. I’ve got it! Anti-anti-establishment is the new anti-establishment. Tarianism. And while they’re mentally incapacitated with that, the officers could install a speed limiter.

I know: that would be the equivalent of fitting all private gun owners with ankle bracelets. Which destroys my whole argument while making perfect sense. Anyway, the anti-street racing hot babe unit would be far less intrusive (excepting the Paul Walker reference above) and a lot less expensive than impounding cars, sanctioning drivers, making documentaries or commissioning an army of policemen to stop a street race.

Even better, the U.S. Army’s PsyOps unit could train this cleavage of hotness to destroy the street racing driver’s ego (“you suck!”) so that he (or less likely she) would have to find some way to compensate for the resulting lack of self-esteem. Something like . . . illegal street racing. You know what? This idea needs a little work. Or at least a better screenplay.

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58 Comments on “Editorial: How to Stop Illegal Street Racing Without Really Trying...”


  • avatar
    mimizhusband

    Thanks for a well-written, good laugh.

  • avatar
    rofldave

    Great article.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    I have actually had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in Victorville during the DARPA Grand Challenge (with my team, Ody-Era). While it isn’t a huge town, and is probably best seen as a stop for food on the way to/from LA/Vegas, I wouldn’t characterize the town as so backwater that cows roam the streets, it is one of the bigger towns in the “high desert”. That said, I had the pleasure of wringing out my rental Impala from stoplight to stoplight with some pretty riced out junk (doubt that they had turbochargers since the pushrod Impala would smoke them). But no more so than I have experienced in Indiana.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    If the Fast and the Furious was just a working title that, due to production constraints, ended up as the final title.

    Here is a clip from the actual movie.

    If the first 3 Fast & Furious movies promoted street racing then they obviously replaced the writers for F&F 4.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    Illegal street racing is … it misses the point of driving. Street racing is lame, I mean, if the Spokane Police Department did it downtown then I want no part of it.

    Driving, is about balance. It should be about using power through technique to have fun. Fun is more important than performance (to a certain extent). Style and looks play a part also. Having a huge turbocharged engine does not always equal fun. Just look at a Nissan GT-R.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Street racing is lame, and I never really got it. Attach some serious penalties to it, and people might think a little harder before doing it. Most street racing venues, I would think, would be fairly east to find, or there would at least be some way to find out. If the cops had a strong presence in those areas, they should be able to easily curb some of it. You’ll never get rid of it all, there will always be the boy racer at the stoplight trying to impress his girl, but busting up the huge groups should be the priority for safety’s sake.

  • avatar
    maxo

    that’s “Fast & Furious” alternative title “The Fast & The Furious 4″ I imagine. All us true fans like to refer to them using the nomenclature from #2: 2 Fast 2 Furious, 4 Fast 4 Furious, 1 Fast 1 Furious, etc…

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    It’s only this weeks moral panic. There’s nothing to see here. Move on, move on…

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Funny, and may actually work. There is no doubt that attractive young women’s opinions have a great influence on what is considered cool.

    Still, going for stock hypermiling is a stretch. OTOH, they could easily convince boys that a smooth ride, quiet engine, and roomy interior are much better for sneaking out late at night and providing a place for romantic interludes.

    The resulting Crown Vic sales could possibly save Ford, too.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    But when does “TTAC: 2 Cool 4 School” have its premiere?

  • avatar
    findude

    Let’s not forget the greatest street-racing movie of all time: American Graffiti.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Great article!

    One correction – it’s Paul Walker, not Paul Weller.

    Also, I just read today that Mr. Walker and Mr. Diesel are going to film the fifth installment in this series in Brazil. So we’ve all been warned.

  • avatar

    I’m guilty as charged for seeing the first two and the fourth F&F films in the theater. Never got around to seeing Tokyo Drift, although the thought of a ’67 Mustang fastback with a Skyline motor in it made me wince.

    The arcade games are fun, though.

  • avatar
    Zammy

    Here’s a way to end illegal street racing:

    Legalize it.

    There, no more illegal street racing.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Brilliant.

    You could extrapolate this all the way up to ending war and terrorism. It’s be cheaper, too.

    It’s like the saying “Fat, happy people don’t blow themselves or other people up”, only amended to read “Fat, happy, oft-laid people don’t blow themselves or other people up”

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    It won’t work, most ricers deep down don’t swing that way.

  • avatar

    My bad on the Walker/Weller thing. Text amended.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Illegal street racing is so early 2000s.

    These days you better be able to throw down at a dyno party if you want to get the worthless STD infected gutter whores girls:

    http://jalopnik.com/5181788/dudes-run-wild-dyno-party-is-the-new-drag-strip

  • avatar
    tedward

    Can it be illegal to modify a car if those changes don’t interfere with emmissions, crash worthiness, etc…? I’m pretty sure there’s a multi-billion dollar tuning industry that’s probably just waiting in the wings with an interstate commerce argument if that’s the case. Dumb laws cost money…everytime.

    What about regular mechanics implementing their own custom fixes? Did the guy who put that custom fuel gauge (?…no idea what I’m supposed to call this) in my old Dakota’s tank break the law? From where I’m sitting all he did was save me money.

    Also, how the hell would they know a car was modified? Plenty of round intakes, visible intercoolers and chrommed tips on stock cars nowadays. Should ZR1 owners invest in duct tape for their hoods?

  • avatar
    tedward

    Also…and this should go without saying…there is such a clear cut argument for car modification as a form of expression that they should have laughed this off from the get-go. Can’t think of a better example than the low-rider/tacky airbrush crowd.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I’ve never understood what the big deal was. The big accidents happen when speed limits or other normal, reasonable traffic laws are violated. Leaving a green light in a hurry isn’t all that dangerous. Doing 90 in a 65 isn’t more dangerous if you’re racing than if you’re doing 90 because you’ve had a bad day and are pissed off at the world. Get above 100 mph, and it’s a felony no matter the reason. Isn’t that enough?

    It used to be (and still is, to a lesser extent) that street racers would organize their events far away from other traffic, in industrial areas at night. Why does that bother the adult population so much?

    And then there’s the cultural aspect. Harleys and trucks with big exhausts are easily more painful for others than Civics with 3″ pipes, but who gets all the tickets? A kid drag races his car and he’s a danger to society, but an auto exec who drag raced in the ’60s is a perfect fit for the industry. Lowered cars are irresponsible, but trucks raised high enough to decapitate are good ol’ boys’ toys. To top it off, old car guys then lament the youth’s aversion to manual transmissions, steering feel, working on their own car, and the smell of gasoline. Well, it took a big campaign to achieve all that and it worked.

  • avatar
    cwp

    Wait, there was an article? My bad, I got a little distracted.

  • avatar

    dyno parties… ricerroni!

  • avatar
    Areitu

    I wonder how many stock 350Zs and SRT4s have been popped in Victorville for modified exhaust.

    The reason street racing happens is because there’s nothing better to do. Most of the cars that go to those things, you could beat in a stock V6 family sedan.

    ferrarimanf355 : Tokyo Drift is probably the least cheesiest and wittiest of the first three.

  • avatar

    ferrarimanf355 : Tokyo Drift is probably the least cheesiest and wittiest of the first three.

    … but Bow Wow’s in it! He sucks!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The girl in that pic may drive a modified car, but thankfully, she left herself stock.

    God bless freakin’ America…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    C’mon, guys, comparing “Fast and Furious” movies is like asking which of the Jaws sequels was best.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    The reason street racing happens is because there’s nothing better to do. Most of the cars that go to those things, you could beat in a stock V6 family sedan.

    I know. I did a couple of years ago in my Mazda6 in a race from the stoplight to the speed limit, 55 (okay maybe 60)mph.

    As far as Victorville, I can’t believe it is legal to hand out citations “for automobiles with an exhaust that makes some noise, chromed air intakes, and, worst of all, a turbocharger.” As pointed out above, there are a number of cars that come from the factory with some or all of those items. I guess I can’t drive my ’68 Mustang in Victorville (don’t worry, I’ll manage to go on), as it’s exhaust sound is a horribly (or wonderfully) deep burble in idle and a bellow when you hit the gas.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    They are an annoyance in many industrial/warehouse districts on summer evenings. Three years ago here in Reno one going way too fast lost it in a corner and took out a transformer to the tune of $400k.

    One effective method for a sting would be to stake out a popular stretch with using Semis with 53′ or Double 28′ trailers with officers in the sleeper. Block both ends of the street and you can cite and impound at your leisure.

    A lot of street racing happens as there is no legal venue within a reasonable distance. CA already has off road vehicle parks where you can enjoy your ATV or real SUV. It would not be that hard to have the municipality find an ideal industrial park and sanction it. Just have everyone sign wavers, provide proof of insurance and have the Fire Department standing by with the Jaws of Life and Paramedics for when someone eats it. In bigger metros you could even build a drift course.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I’m surprised how smart my street racing friends are. They can drive more in more than a straight line. I let my friend take me for a spin in my E34 525i, with 3 of us in the car. Man I never new my car could drive so fast, balanced and safe. Neither did I know my friend was such a calm and smart driver. Too bad we now have 2 new bumps stops on our favorite public park, I mean race track. I’m happy for the locals though.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The only thing I remember from the first movie was that someone owed Vin Diesel a 10 second car.

    The bad news: there were no Bugatti Veyrons available to steal back then…

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    The best thing I remember from the fourth movie is at the top of this page.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Psar,

    The data supports that thesis. Think about it.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I am an attorney so I have become sick and tired of all the stories regarding the ins and outs and scuttlebutt involving GM and Chrysler’s imminent bankruptcy.

    Yawn.

    Now street racing …. that’s something I can sink my teeth in. It runs in my blood, three or four generations prior.

    Ricers get everything they deserve from Cops. How could a Cop possibly resist hassling a moving work of fraud?

  • avatar
    ig_06_15

    Awesome article!

  • avatar
    niky

    FreedMike :
    April 15th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    C’mon, guys, comparing “Fast and Furious” movies is like asking which of the Jaws sequels was best.

    Except I think Number 4 was better than all of them… including Number 1. No more yammering about Hondas with Nissan engines… blowing intake manifolds… etcetera… Of course, that’s like saying you liked “Leprechaun 1″ better than its sequels.

    FnF4 was brilliant! Thirty or fifty downshifts per race… in a straight line… using the floorpan of your Camaro as a bullet-shield (you had to have been there)… the gratuitous nipple shot… and more gratuitous nipple shot… and… hell… do just one more, so people notice it’s a gratuitous nipple shot…

    -

    I yearn for the days when the world switches over to UK-style MOT instead of these ridiculous, conflicting laws over cars and modifications. If it meets safety requirements, noise requirements and emissions requirements, leave it be.

  • avatar
    Dangerous Dave

    I love when a ricer with loud pipes and a spoiler on his front wheel drive pos pulls up next to my Jag XK8 at a red light. I leave him in the dust, in silence, up to the speed limit.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Dangerous Dave :

    I love when a ricer with loud pipes and a spoiler on his front wheel drive pos pulls up next to my Jag XK8 at a red light. I leave him in the dust, in silence, up to the speed limit.

    Oh hell, I do that in my Prius! I don’t even leave them in the dust, I leave them in last Tuesday!

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    A street racing haven’s San Fernando, CA; FAF cars lurk on side streets like trap door spiders, jumping onto Brand Blvd to crash into traffic alternately cruising, racing, or (when police present) just driving.

    Dyno parties make more sense, with the joy of modifying (and possibly blowing up) your ride with no danger of crashing it.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Paul walker says that they are working on a fifth one, and they will be going to brazil….

    maybe they intend to tune some flex fuel ethanol burning sugar cane munching machines, like the Chevy prisma…. or Dacia Sandero…. hahaha

    i was in Brazil for a month and i only saw one black tinted out gangster looking Cayenne, (that was in Rio). and further south in what they call a very rich-infested island, i saw a Range Rover…. the rest of the cars, were either VW Gols and Chevrolet’s all with a manual gearbox with a crunchy reverse gear and no radio’s (optional), seriously the most stock cars you can imagine…i forgot to mention the Ford Fusion it was there and it costs a fortune…

    the fifth installment would be called, so Slow it’s making me Furious….

    but seriously i think the F&F furious lost it the minute cops started shooting these electrical things to disable the cars….

  • avatar
    don1967

    If they want to take a Big Brother approach to the problem of street racing, rather than slapping fines on turbos and chrome intakes they should simply pull over anyone wearing a ball cap sideways or backwards and fine them $100 for every inch of pencil-thin sideburn.

    Car guys 1, teenage idiots 0.

  • avatar

    Greg Locock:

    TTAC’s posting policy is clear: No flaming the site, its authors or fellow commentators. Persistent offenders will be permanently banned.

    Feel free to disagree with any part of this editorial. But comments about TTAC’s editorial style or stance should be sent to robertfarago1@gmail.com.

    I have emailed you on this twice. Please direct any replies to this issue to the email above.

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    Street racers fall into two categories: those who do it because it’s illegal and an illegal rush, and those who do it because “it’s the only racing I can get to.”

    The first category is lost to us–I’ve met a handful of these assholes, and they deserve whatever tickets, jailtime, and death they get. Street racing is absurd, unmeasurable, inaccurate, inconsistent, obscenely dangerous, less fun than real racing, and just plain stupid. These people do it because of the rush they get knowing they’re breaking the law. Hell with ‘em.

    But the second one… As stupid an excuse as it is, these people can be saved. By introducing them to real racing. And a lot of cities have started to work hard with their local drag, road, and oval tracks to do so, and I think THAT is the real solution, not cracking down on modification. Last time I checked, you can race a bone stock car.

    Our local track, Delaware Speedway, in conjunction with the London Police, organize “King of the Hill” Spectator racing a couple times a month or so. It’s side by side, single lap, drag race from the start finish line, with a flag man standing beside them. Cars of all types come by, from bone stock Volkswagens all the way to the winningest car, a blown ’03 Cobra with tons of chassis work and about 600 hp. The only rule is that the car must be plated, street legal and on any kind of DOT tire. Many guys build cars specifically for King of the Hill, and once a year they hold a $1000-to-win tournament. Last year had 60-70 cars show up.

    I’ve personally “converted” several friends and friends-of-friends from street racing to real racing, just by taking them around the track in my stockcar, or bringing them to a race as a spectator. It can work.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    done.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I would argue that we simply need more race tracks, but that would only cause more on-track accidents.

    Perhaps a combination of more tracks and Trabants all across the board may help.

  • avatar
    TTACtruebeliever

    I can’t stop looking at the gal in the photo. I just keep coming back again and again and again.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Actions speak louder than words. If the anti street racing babes don’t get in some back seats it ain’t gonna do nuthin’

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    niky:Thirty or fifty downshifts per race… in a straight line…

    That is extremely infuriating very fast.

  • avatar

    Want to stop illegal street racing?

    Build drag strips.

    That’s the cause of the problem – the racers would LOVE to go to the strip where they can brag and bring timeslips onto teh intarwebz proving their speed, but they’ve all been closed – especially in California.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    @TTACtruebeliever: +1 +1 +1
    I don’t know what it is about that gal, she is seriously captivating.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    A lot of people say, “Open more tracks!” and I laugh because we all know the most likely response that comes back is NIMBY.

    These NIMBY’s don’t see the correlation between the presence of a drag-strip and the severity of the street racing problem in the area. To them, race tracks are noisy, they pollute too much, are just as much of a public nuisance as street racing is, and in their minds, it merely reinforces their bad behavior.

    It would be nice if I had a track that was less than three hours away where I could get more than three runs for the $40 in track fees I’m shelling out, but I don’t see that situation improving any time soon.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Luring these anti-social street racers with girls isn’t going to work. If one of these un-savvy man-childs happened to find themselves with a naked girl and a condom, they would fill it with water and throw it at her. (Were did I hear that joke?)
    And for the gawkers, in my experience, skinny 18 year old chicks with big boobs are fat by 25.

    When I read the article and came across the section about cows sharing the road with people, I thought that’s brilliant! How can you race with cows in the road, FFS? And then it took a while for that image to clear.

    Here’s my solution: A uniform national vehicle safety inspection program would seem to solve some of the concerns, for both street racing cars as well as other rolling safety hazards. Extreme lowering and lifting, gone. Stupid extra noise and lights, gone. Emissions equipment tampering gone. If only it could be done without it becoming a corruption racket for hack testing stations or state coffer lining.

  • avatar

    I’m glad we can all agree on one thing: that picture is tantalizing!

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Another “law” that makes ALLEGED intent a crime. Possession of car accessories
    illegal ? One more reason that people, especially YOUNG people, don’t respect the law or the governments that pass them.
    We now live in a “formerly free” country. How many freakin’ laws do we need ? For every new law, they should have to throw out ten old laws. F@ck the government !

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Eew, I just realized you made me comment about a rebuttal to a Faux News report. Good one, you got me!

  • avatar
    wsn

    Some one may not like this, but I can’t resist…

    This is more communist than China! The government determines how your car should look like (instead of really catching street racer during the act) and how citizens ought to think.

  • avatar
    wsn

    “scarey” :
    April 16th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Another “law” that makes ALLEGED intent a crime.

    ——————————————–

    Yeah, talking about ALLEGED intent, very soon police should arrest men who get erections in the presence of women other than their own wives…

  • avatar
    tedward

    wsn & scarey

    The funny thing about that Alleged intent point is that I think it shows there really isn’t an epidemic of street racing at all. Street racing isn’t the most subtle of criminal acts (and that just may be an understatement) and it’s really not feasible to outrun the police on public roads often enough that they can’t enforce it. So basically the police are getting complaints from the geriatrics that aren’t backed up by what the officers are seeing while on patrol. Suprise suprise.

    I’d guess this is more like the no-baggy-pants disgrace of a law; motivated more by distaste for the culture on display than any actual harmful behavior.


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