Will a legal race track cut down on street racing in Hawaii?

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Racing enthusiasts say there needs to be a place where drivers can do it legally, but others point out that it’s not that simple.

Tantalus Drive is a popular spot for it because of its many winding turns, but the Honolulu Police Department says drifting is a problem island-wide.

It’s been 10 years since a drift racing event was held at Aloha Stadium. Tracy Arakaki was one of the organizers.

“When we did our drift events at the stadium, we had to turn folks away, because we had a cap of 100 people that could participate,” he says.

He adds that it’s still popular, but drivers don’t have much of a choice if they want to keep doing it.

“Right now, the only other solution besides breaking the law, unfortunately, which is what folks are doing — we do not condone any of those activities illegally — a lot of folks are moving away to the mainland,” Arakaki said.

HPD says the problem exists all over the island.

“Certainly that’s a big hazard on our roadways. I can tell you having worked at night for many years, we see it on our freeways and main thoroughfares of the island all the time,” said acting Capt. Ben Moszkowicz of HPD’s Traffic Division.

Racing enthusiasts point out that since Hawaii Raceway Park shut down 12 years ago, there’s no legal outlet for drivers who enjoy racing.

But HPD tells us the problem existed even when the racetrack was open.

“What we would see is people meeting in town and racing to the track on the freeway, and then they would race at the track during the race hours, and then they would race back to town afterwards. So we saw violations then and we see violations continue until today,” said Moszkowicz.

Racing enthusiasts say it would still help to give them an option.

“Hawaii is the only place where we have the largest population with no race track. We’ve got tons of golf courses. We have tons of boat launches, tennis courts,” said Arakaki.

State Sen. Will Espero has introduced a resolution for the state to find a possible location for a race track. He says it would be funded through a public-private partnership so no taxpayer money would be used.

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