'We want to show drivers the real dangers of street racing and discourage it in hopes of avoiding more injuries and fatalities' - Art De Le Cruz
Regular Drivers allowed on Speedway Track
BY JOHNNY VIZCAINO
Following the tragic street race-related death of an Albuquerque girl last month, Bernalillo County and Sandia Speedway partnered this week to offer young drivers a chance to get off city streets and onto the racetrack for free.
The “Holiday Break Performance Driving School,” allowed any licensed driver to take a mandatory safety training class to drive on the racetrack of the West Side speedway.
The partnership was announced by Commissioner Art De La Cruz and Charlie Fegan, prinicipal of Sandia Speedway.
“Street racing can be very dangerous, even deadly,” De La Cruz said. “We want to show drivers the real dangers of street racing and discourage it in hopes of avoiding more injuries and fatalities on our streets.”
The purpose of the event is to educate licensed drivers, not to train street racers or encourage street racing, De La Cruz said. Conversations with De La Cruz boiled down to one question, Fegan said: “What can we do to make a difference?”
Several of the segments featured in the free driving school can be carried over into everyday driving, he said. Sixty drivers participated in the first three classes.
“We got the point across for the important things.”
“Drivers that came out here will be able to make better choices as far as going out on the streets and racing. Because all of the incidents you’re seeing with the street racing involve racers making bad choices.”
The classes follow the death of 10-year-old Carmen Esmeralda Rivera, who was killed in a suspected drag racing incident in a car allegedly driven by Xavier Nelson, 23.
Nelson has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide, street racing and possession of a controlled substance.>