The Fast and the Frauds

Oct 202003
Authors: Jamie Way

Helicopter chases, drag races, running from the cops and speed:

This is what makes up the typical weekend of a street racer.

For Jeremy Linehan, losing his license three times was enough to

make him tame his need for speed, at least on the street. He values

his license now and he and his professional racing team, Team Strip

Stylez, has even joined Racers Against Street Racing, a group

opposed to racing on public roadways.

“What do I have to prove? I know I’m fast. I’ve put almost

$20,000 into that car. I let the tracks be my words,” Linehan


Some do not feel the same as Linehan, and their love for racing

still calls them to the streets.

Paul Hickmen, general manager of PFI Performance, 5720 S. Bueno

Dr., recalls that in his drag racing days, the penalties were not

as stringent, so drivers would race more frequently and often on

main roads.

“There would be upwards of three to four hundred people there.

They would even be trailering in cars,” Hickmen said. “People would

call us from Wyoming to set up races.”

Although the penalty for exhibition of speed was not as strict

as it is now, racing was still risky five years ago when he was

racing. When a police officer behind Hickmen turned his lights on

to pull over a friend, Hickmen and the car next to him slowed the

officer down.

“Me and the guy next to me took turns driving slow boxing the

cop in. Once my friends got about a quarter of a mile ahead and had

turned off the road, the other car pulled behind me and we let the

cop go by,” Hickmen said.

Serious racers typically spend $15,000 to $30,000 on their cars.

They generally focus on the motor more than the appearance of the


“If you’re serious about racing, you build the motor, not get a

whole bunch of stickers,” Hickmen said.

Bill Willoughey, who works at PFI and still street races, owns

the fastest streetcar in the state.

“I’ve been really lucky; I haven’t had a street racing ticket,”

Willoughey said.

Willoughey has had his share of close calls though. He has been

at races where a helicopter has come, and where the police have


“It’s just like in the movies,” Willoughey said. “Everyone’s

running and cars are going all over the place.”

Willoughey said that while the scene usually does not stay at a

location for long, currently the imports meet at Taco Bell on the

corner of College Avenue and Prospect Road, and the domestics

either go to the parking lot opposite of Taco Bell, or to


“It’s not a long time before the authorities catch on,”

Willoughey said.

The racing is generally done further away and not on the main

strips, but Willoughey said that there are still many races that

take place on roads like College.

“Any given weekend, if you sit at the parking lot of Bed, Bath

and Beyond on College, at least a couple of races will go by,”

Willoughey said.

The racers who are truly passionate about what they do are often

not the ones you can tell by looking at them, said Adam Valdes, a

Car Toys employee.

“For the guys who do it right, it’s not about girls or glory or

ego. It’s about a passion and doing the best you can with the

vehicle you have,” Valdes said. “A large amount of them are posers

who throw a lot of accessories on.”

Twenty-year-old Eric Pagel, who is captain of Team Strip Stylez,

has been working with cars since he was 16 years old.

“We are in it because it’s what we love to do. It’s our

cigarette. It’s our drug,” Pagel said.






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