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About an hour’s drive from Los Angeles is the sleepy city of Perris. Home to a lake and railroad museum, it is also the most recent city to create a drag strip for racing. Yep, as more and more racing tracks are disappearing, Perris has the newest one out there. But it’s not your typical strip or typical reason for existing. 

Called Street Legal Dragway, its calling is to appeal to street-driven vehicles in 322 feet. That’s right, a quarter of a quarter mile. It is the first drag strip in the country to feature a 1/16-mile track. As most know, the quarter-mile has been the model for decades. Only in more recent years have we seen them cut to 1,000 feet. That’s because shutdown areas were not long enough to handle the speeds those in the Top Fuel classes reached. 

Street Legal Dragway, Perris, California, aerial view
Street Legal Dragway, Perris, California | Street Legal Dragway via Instagram

Street Legal Dragway exists as much for friendly competition as to keep young drivers from the temptations of street racing and sideshows. For all you hear about city councils and police agencies wanting to “crackdown” on these illegal crimes, it is a breath of fresh air to find a city that addresses the reason so many participate in racing on the streets and in intersection takeovers. 

Andy Marocco, in conjunction with the World Drag Racing Alliance (WDRA), is the person behind the unique racing venue. “The idea has been years in the making, and we are thrilled to receive support from the State of California and the Riverside County Sheriff to bring our vision to life,” he told Carbuzz. “WDRA’s recognition and sanctioning of our track are invaluable, providing guidance in running our race events successfully.”

Street takeover skid marks in street
Skid marks from takeover | Unique Nicole/Getty

All vehicles entering the competition must have a license and insurance. DOT tires and working mufflers are still more requirements, as is the car being driven to the strip instead of behind a car or truck.

The venue does not allow trailers on the track or in the pits. It also requires cars to “be in a safe working order.” And, of course, drivers must have a valid driver’s license. 

Naturally, there are detractors, with plenty of armchair racers complaining about the length. Besides that, some have concerns over cars getting out of control. But the track features reinforced concrete barriers the length of the track, which also features a 670-foot shutdown. That gives any cars getting loose plenty of distance to sort things out. 

Is this the start of a drag racing trend?

Street Legal Dragway, Perris, California, aerial view
Street Legal Dragway, Perris, California | SLD via Instagram

As for the complainers, what have you done lately to help with all the illegal racing in your city? People complain about the 1,000-mile and 1/8-mile tracks, too. So, for many promoters, the answer is closing down the venue and selling the property. How is that working out for drag racing enthusiasts?

“Street Legal Dragway’s concept of a nationally recognized and sanctioned short-track format presents a scalable model that can be readily adopted across the country, making a significant impact in curbing illegal street racing,” said WDRA rep Jon O’Neal. “We believe this is a blueprint for others to follow.” 

We’ll see how it goes, and wish for this to quell the rise in illegal racing and takeovers we continue seeing. Street Legal Dragway will open on September 22, 2023. How about some other cities around the country following suit?


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