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
“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
“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 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,”
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,”
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.