Sunday, October 27, 2019

Still racing in the street

NY Post
NYP Features - Street RacingNYP Features - Street Racing

Around 2 a.m. on a recent Sunday at a gas station in Queens, heavy-duty auto engines rev conspicuously. Clutches of twentysomething guys — and a few young women — group around customized, low-to-the ground Hondas, Mustangs and BMWs. They pass joints, talk about horsepower, and issue challenges to race.

Most every weekend, racers meet up — as The Post has previously reported, the areas with the most 311 complaints are Richmond Hill’s 124th Street, Frances Lewis Boulevard in northern Queens and Leo Fracassi Way in The Bronx — to race illegally, at speeds of up to 160 mph.

“This is the thing I’m passionate about,” said one racer, alongside his Acura Integra, its hood removed to reveal a spotless engine. “I’m not letting anyone get in the way of my passion.”

At the gas station — colloquially known as “E-85” for the racing fuel it sells — word spreads that two contenders are ready to go. Suddenly, cars skitter onto the street, spewing exhaust as they head for Nassau Expressway. Leading the way is Jimmy, a 22-year-old from Jamaica, Queens, behind the wheel of a 225-horsepower 1994 Honda Civic with the gas tank re-situated in the trunk to enhance fuel flow.

Out on the highway, all cars brake to a stop, blocking traffic.

At the front of the pack, Jimmy spins his front tires (a procedure known as a “burn out”) to improve traction. His opponent, also in a Honda, does the same. Standing between the two cars, a man forcefully drops his arm in a simulation of a starting flag.

The opponents scorch down a quarter-mile of blacktop, getting up to 120 mph and leaving behind smells of burnt rubber and spent E-85. The race lasts less than 30 seconds, then the expressway traffic is allowed to resume its normal flow.

Back at E-85, Jimmy accepts a fist bump in celebration of his win. Although he sometimes races for money — as much as $600 per run — this one “was for competition,” he said.

A regular participant told The Post that racing has led to crashes on the Belt and Southern State parkways.

In January, at a hot street-racing spot along Review Avenue in Long Island City, a racer nicknamed Mello smashed into a street pole at high speed. Paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene. 

Spookily, the spot, in the shadow of the Kosciuszko Bridge, is known as “Cemetery” for the Calvary graveyard that lies alongside it.

“Racing has gone on there for at least 30 years,” said NYPD Capt. Michael Gibbs, of the 108th Precinct, which counts the avenue in its turf. He actually grew up in the neighborhood. “Maybe, when I was a kid, I allegedly went there and watched [racing],” he admitted. “I never thought I would be on the enforcement end.”

But not long after he became captain of the 108th in January, Gibbs prioritized putting a stop to the racing. His most recent action was to order the ­deployment of speed bumps along ­Review Avenue.
Hearing about the speed bumps, one racer at E-85 shrugged it off and mysteriously said, “We have ways to work around [that].”


Anonymous said...

Springsteen hates America.

Anonymous said...

Springsteen who? 160 Mph on Franny Lew? Wanna see that. Last guy I saw doing 80 Mph in his rice rocket ended up in some tree, midway up from the ground, as they say you can't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

Soccer Moms are more dangerous !
Need proof go out driving around 3:00 PM on a school day.

Anonymous said...

Maybe 15 or 20 years ago some home owner on Frany Lou threw a couple of cans of motor oil on the road to stop the speeding,some kid in a mustang hit it at 80 and was killed

Anonymous said...

They all claim that they will continue to race no matter what. That is total bullshit because the minute one of their close friends or siblings dies in an accident, they then change gears and stop altogether. They just need a reality check.

Anonymous said...

This has got to be the most ridiculous piece in a story line that I've ever witnessed. Who cares what this guy sings about? Just another has been from Jersey.

Liman said...

E-85 is NOT racing fuel. It's sold in lots of places for cars that can use fuel that's mostly plant-based ethanol. Any car that says "flex fuel" can use it. It is cheaper than regular gasoline but you burn more of it to go the same miles. So, the price works out the same.

Anonymous said...

Easy fix...put up more speed bumps. That will really mess up their cars if they hit them at 160 mph.

Anonymous said...

If this has been going on for decades, enforcement won't stop it. Teens will be teens. Better to find them some place they can do this safely, without disturbing the neighbors. But I got no idea if a place like that even exists in Eastern Queens.

Anonymous said...

Franny lew has been dead since 05. Stop trying to bring fake news up. You make it like it was such a bad place yea here was a few races here and there but people actually hung out and had fun with eachother . Now look at bayside and whitestone NO one does anything or most don't know how to socialize .Also long island need a drag strip would help but cry baby people conplain about noise. stormstorm people wow a race track might actually help .But nyc is ran by asses that wanna take all your rights away and stop u from driving period it seems