Saturday, June 4, 2011


Street racing is a form of unsanctioned and illegal motor racing which takes place on public roads. Street racing can either be spontaneous or well-planned and coordinated. Well coordinated races are planned in advance and often have people communicating via 2-way radio/citizens' band radio and using police scanners and GPS units to mark locations of local police hot spots.



Drag racing is a race which involves two or more competitors who drive in a straight line for a specified distance (usually a 1/4 mile). The driver that covers the most distance between the two cars or reaches the end first is the winner. Fundamental skills in drag racing are the ability to launch with ideal wheelspin and shifting as fast as possible. Such competition on organized tracks associated with a sanctioning body are legal.

A form of racing on public roads that is only legal with a city permit. When two or more cars compete until one party is the clear winner. This differs from the above mentioned drag race, in which a set distance on a straight road is traversed. Drivers typically line up while moving under the posted speed limit. Once all the cars are ready, one car will sound its horn three times; the third time is the final signal to start the run. Another method of starting the race is to have a spectator acting as a starter. Normally he/she will use hand signals (also called flagging) to start the race. A car simply outruns the other vehicles by a considerable margin in order to win. If the winner cannot be determined, it is usually decided upon a mutual agreement, or having another race. Another way to signal a race is by flashing the vehicle's high-beams.


The sport of drifting and touge racing from (primarily) Japan has led to its acceptance in other parts of the world. Touge (Japanese for "mountain pass", because these races are held on mountain roads and passes) generally refers to racing, one car at a time, or in a chase format through mountain passes (the definition of which varies per locale and racing organization).

However, street racing competition can lead to more people racing on a given road than would ordinarily be permitted (hence leading to the reputation of danger inherent). Touge races are typically run in a best out of three format. Opponent A starts the first race with Opponent B directly behind. The winner is determined by the time difference between the cars at the finish line. For instance, if Opponent A has pulled away from Opponent B at the finish line, he is determined the winner. If Opponent B has managed to stay on Opponent A's tail, he is determined the winner. For the second race, Opponent B starts off in front and the winner is determined using the same method. This is referred as a "Cat and Mouse Race."


"Cannonball Runs", more commonly known as "Sprints", are illegal point-to-point road rallies that involve a handful of racers. They hearken back to the authorized European races at the end of the 19th century. The races died away when the chaotic 1903 Paris-Madrid race was canceled at Bordeaux for safety reasons after numerous fatalities involving drivers and pedestrians. Point-to-point runs reappeared in the United States in the mid 1910s when Erwin George Baker who drove cross-country on record breaking runs that stood for years, being legal at the time, and the term "Cannonball" was penned for him in honor of his runs. Nowadays drivers will race from one part of a town or country to the other side; whoever makes the fastest overall time is the winner. A perfect example of an illegal road race was the 1970s original Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, aka "The Cannonball Run", that long-time automotive journalist Brock Yates founded. The exploits spawned numerous films, the best known being The Cannonball Run. Several years after the notorious "Cannonball", Yates created the family-friendly and somewhat legal version One Lap of America where speeding occurs in race circuits and is still running to this day. In modern society it is rather difficult if not impossible to organize an illegal and extremely dangerous road race, there are still a few events which may be considered racing, such as the Gumball 3000, Gumball Rally, and Players Run races. These "races", better known as rallies for legality's sake, mostly comprise wealthy individuals racing sports cars across the country for fun. The AKA Rally however, is designed for individuals with a smaller budget (approximately $3000). Entrance fees to these events are usually all inclusive (hotels, food, and events). Participants 'rally' together from a start point to predetermined locations until they arrive at the finish line.

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