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Dragging it Out

Sep 04, 2013 10:31AM ● Published by tina

Southlake Mayor John Terrell puts the pedal to the metal at the Mayor's Cup.

Annual DFW Mayor’s Cup Raises Awareness about Illegal Street Racing    

By Linden Wilson, Assistant Editor

We’ve all seen car racing glamourized on the big screen — in The Fast and the Furious franchise, Biker Boyz and Gone in 60 Seconds — but the deadly consequences that can come from a need for speed are rarely publicized. Since 2011, two North Texans have died as a result of drag racing — one was an innocent victim hit by a speeding vehicle, and the other lost control of his car as he sped 100 mph down Northwest Highway. Two years ago, several DFW-area mayors began working in conjunction with Texas Motor Speedway to promote racing in a safe, controlled and fun environment by putting on a single-elimination drag racing competition for the chance to earn a coveted Mayor’s Cup trophy as well as a year’s worth of bragging rights.

The Mayor’s Cup is part of a six-week summer series created in 2009 called Friday Night Drags, which works to curb illegal street racing in the Metroplex by providing a safer alternative — more than 1,000 competitors have participated in the program since its inception. The Texas Motor Speedway converts its pit road into a 1/8-mile drag strip for participants to race on. Southlake Mayor John Terrell, who won the Mayor’s Cup in 2012, lost in this year’s semifinals but was confident as ever before the race began.

“I am here to bring home another championship for the City of Southlake,” he said. “The competition was very tough last year, but I’m going to try for a two-peat. We do a lot of smack talk, so there is a lot of friendly competition that’s going to happen today.” Much of that friendly competition was between Terrell and Roanoke Mayor Scooter Gierisch, who joked even if he had to push the pedal through the floorboard to beat Terrell, he would do it.

“Last year, he got a jump on me, so this year we’re going to fix that,” Gierisch said, adding he was happy to be part of an event that shows people a venue does exist for safe drag racing.

This year, 13 mayors participated in the race, making it the largest turnout of elected officials yet. Frisco Mayor Maher Maso was ultimately crowned the 2013 champion. Adam Gerety, a Friday Night Drags racer from Trophy Club, spoke before the race about the positive impact the program has had on DFW communities.

“In 2009, I had just gotten a new Camaro,” he said. “I had a need for speed, but I didn’t want to do it on the streets. The venue here was nice, fun and safe, and I had a lot of competitors. It’s a great, family-friendly environment; my family is usually up in the stands videotaping and cheering me on.” Gerety’s 16-year-old son has been driving a Scion — which sponsors the program annually — for a little more than six months, so his dad used Friday Night Drags as an example to show there are safe ways that allow him to enjoy that type of entertainment without putting his life, other drivers’ lives and pedestrians’ lives at risk.

“You see all types of cars out here, from the guy who just bought his brand new Volkswagen to the guy who has the Fisker electric car he paid $120,000 for and everything in between,” Gerety added. “There are even pickup trucks. There’s just a lot of interest, people trying to have a fun, safe time.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 16 to 20, and an average of 135 people are killed per year in car crashes related to illegal street racing.

“All of us have seen the end results of that, and it’s not pretty,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “It’s a risky situation. This is a great message to kids to not race on the street.”


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