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How can I make my dragstrip legal? Or atleast not break any laws.

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  • How can I make my dragstrip legal? Or atleast not break any laws.

    What's up everybody? I recently had one of my car-club members get busted for street racing. This isn't the first time that members of my club have been in trouble for acting crazy. I've been in trouble a few times, but like I said in previous threads, I'm done with that stuff. I quit a long time ago. Anyway, I realize the need for a real track in our area to keep us racers off the streets, out of trouble and out of the hospital.
    I have the land already and I have a crew to pave it for me. As far as I'm concerned, it's a 1/2mile driveway and I can do what I want on there right? It's no different than a private street in a private neighborhood with no speed limit...or am I wrong? It's completely fenced in and is 5 miles out of town. I know I have to get everyone to sign waivers before they enter, we'll have a lawyer to write it up for us. I will be taking some precautions for safety(as much as I can afford). On racing nights, I could probably have the fire dept. out there as well as an EMT. I will have a competent tech inspector to inspect all vehicles prior to racing too. And no, there won't be any dummies standing around the racing lanes. Spectators will be a safe distance away.
    The local track that the cops advised us to use is 20miles away. It's an old run-down private airstrip. It's up-hill, has dips and pot-holes, and it costs $25. It's only open once and if we're lucky twice a year. Several people have wrecked their vehicles on that track due to the crappy surface. I myself nearly wrecked my truck while racing there. That's another reason why we need our own track. Most of my club couldn't even drive to the "real track" 160miles away for various reasons. I myself have to borrow a trailer(only 1 within a 20mile radius that fits my race truck on it), then borrow my wife's dually to tow my truck.
    Anyway, can you guys see any problems with us testing/tuning our cars on my homemade track? And hosting races on special occasions? At this point I don't have any intentions of charging people to watch/race. I'm tired of my people putting themselves and others at risk and/or losing their ride. I'd appreciate any help or advice. Thanks. -E
    http://www.dragtrucks.com/index1.html

  • #2
    I'd say at the very least you need a business permit, and you need to make sure the area is zoned for that type of stuff. Go to the county clerk's office and ask them.

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    • #3
      check with the county about zoning, insurance, busines licensing, and noise laws.

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      • #4
        If it's your land, it's yours to do whatever you like. Not a public roadway.

        That said....

        Get the waivers signed and witnessed and have someone there who collects them become a notary and have each one notarized.

        Then, but GOBS of liability insurance, install every known safety device, sand pit, water barrels - ALL OF IT!

        And don't forget to demand NOMEX driving suits and helmets for all.

        And, if you any money left, ENJOY!

        BTW, before I became a cop, I uh... in my irresponsible youth of course ... street raced a '57 210 Chevy Bel Air with a blown 350 / 350, BM T400 trannie and all the goodies in the rear end. For it's day, it was a screamer. Still miss it sometimes, although I'm more of a cruiser now than a racer.

        Have fun!
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        Sully - IAM Rand - JasperST - L1 - The Tick - EmmaPeel - Columbus - LA Dep - SgtSlaughter - OneAdam12 - Retired96 - Iowa #1603
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        • #5
          Originally posted by gunz4life View Post
          W
          I have the land already and I have a crew to pave it for me. As far as I'm concerned, it's a 1/2mile driveway and I can do what I want on there right? It's no different than a private street in a private neighborhood with no speed limit...or am I wrong? It's completely fenced in and is 5 miles out of town. I know I have to get everyone to sign waivers before they enter, we'll have a lawyer to write it up for us. I will be taking some precautions for safety(as much as I can afford). On racing nights, I could probably have the fire dept. out there as well as an EMT. I will have a competent tech inspector to inspect all vehicles prior to racing too.

          Anyway, can you guys see any problems with us testing/tuning our cars on my homemade track? And hosting races on special occasions? At this point I don't have any intentions of charging people to watch/race. I'm tired of my people putting themselves and others at risk and/or losing their ride. I'd appreciate any help or advice. Thanks. -E
          A problem you might run into is a business license if you take in even 1 penny from anyone. You say you have no intention of charging anyone, but if any money changes hands at all you might run into a problem. You'll need to contact the county and make sure you aren't going to violate any county ordinances.

          Just having a gathering of a certain number of people might require security.

          If the county decides you are running a business then you'll have to get the permits and be subject to inspection.

          You are correct about the speed limit not applying. There is actually a piece of property out here where I live that my friend's family owns and they can be seen blasting past traffic on their private road.

          To get EMS or Fire out there you are going to have to pony up some cash. You'll have to pay them whatever their off-duty side job fee is plus pay the departments for their department ambulances and fire trucks. IF their chiefs will let them do it. That might require county permits. You'll need to contact them to find out.

          Just so you'll be prepared, expect to run into an uphill battle. Once people start hearing what you want to do you can expect opposition. It got ugly when they built San Antonio Raceway outside of Seguin. Expect a problem the first time someone *****es about you young whippersnappers disturbing them.

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          • #6
            If you don't CHARGE but they DONATE to race, you may get by with it.

            Read up on all of your state laws and business codes.

            I think you're doing a responsible thing...

            I just hope if / when someone gets hurt you aren't held liable.

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            • #7
              Contact the "Beat the Heat Assoc." based in Tx. They can probably steer you through the proper procedures. Let me know how it turns out.

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              • #8
                We will have a business license soon for our Nitrous business. I can have a lawyer draw up the waiver so there's very few loop-holes. My wife is friends with the notary[lady] in this town, so I'm sure I could have things notarized easily. I'm not sure of where to go to get insurance for something like this, but I bet it's expensive. I don't understand why I need insurance when it's nothing more than organized street racing. There's no insurance on public roads when these knuckleheads are doing it out there. I'm not trying to get out of it, I just don't understand it. I'll still look into it and get a quote. I don't know about demanding NOMEX because I'm only allowing slow cars 10seconds or slower. I will require helmets for 13.99 or faster cars just like the big tracks.

                1042 Trooper - Sounds like you had a nice ride back then. My truck isn't anything special. It's a 1982 Silverado with one of those newer LS1 type motors(6.0L). I got a T350 trans and 4.56 gears/slicks. I street raced it twice just to prove to myself that my new combo was better than my old one. My buddy ended up taking all my original equipment - motor, trans, exhaust, carb, so it was identical to my truck when I bought it. But that was it for me, I realized it wasn't worth it...it wasn't even as fun as people say. So I quit and started going to the track whenever I can afford it.

                Here's a video from the crappy track/airstrip 20 miles away. I was in the black truck and racing a hopped up 2001 Z28. I had to take off slow because that track is very very slippery(even with my 28X10.5 slicks). Then I had to hit the brakes when I was about even with the camera because I needed to avoid the dips and pot-holes at the finish line. That's why we need our own "real" track.
                http://s46.photobucket.com/albums/f1...t=2a9595dc.pbr

                I have a few more questions, but I'll ask later when I have more time. Thanks for the responses ya'll.
                http://www.dragtrucks.com/index1.html

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                • #9
                  Hemicop - Yeah, I remember you mentioned that one to me before. I looked into it and found their site, but I forgot to shoot them a email. At the time I didn't have the resources I have now.

                  SOI - SAR is the track I go to when I can afford it. It's a few hours from me, but it's usually worth the drive. I have a great time everytime I go, but I usually end up going alone because nobody can/will make the trip with me. The fire dept. is run by some buddies of mine. They're always looking for a reason to jack around in the firetruck, so I'm sure they'll come out for the special race days especially if they can throw a bbq and make some money off of it. I'm expecting a up-hill battle, but I honestly feel like things will work out.

                  Hoosier boy - I'm not really trying to get away with charging. I was even thinking about trying to make this a non-profit deal and trying to get a grant...I don't even know if that's possible. The airstrip that we race at takes "donations" of $25 to race and $20 to watch hahaha. I didn't realize they were trying to get around charging...that's crazy.
                  Last edited by gunz4life; 09-12-2008, 10:34 AM.
                  http://www.dragtrucks.com/index1.html

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                  • #10
                    I only mentioned them again as, IMO, they need you as much as you could use them --especially when it comes to legitimizing the need for a racetrack. Az. agencies don't participate that much since I left the PD but I know they're still active in the South & Tx.

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                    • #11
                      gunz4life, I think the biggest obstacle you will run into would be zoning. Here, I'm sure this wouldn't fly because I think you would have to have the land zoned as a race track (or whatever a track would fall under)...if you were to open it up to the public at all. If its just a 'private driveway' to somewhere that happens to be wide...you may get by with it.

                      As for insurance, you are opening yourself up to a world of liability, even with signed waivers. You allow one of your friends on to the property for the purpose of racing...you friend's driving skills aren't up to par that night and he runs off the track and into the woods and dies in a blaze of glory. His family will come after you with a wrongful death lawsuit that you may end up losing....all because you didn't have the proper safeguards in place...and if you did, they weren't enough.

                      Here is an analogy for you...a guy here bought a bunch of land that was near a public park. He bought the land to prevent it from becoming developed and ruining the integrity of the park. He would allow the nature folk who frequented the park to use trails on his land. One day, guy is running the trails, takes a fall, and breaks a few bones. He ended up suing the landowner.

                      So, your good intentions may cost you big-time in the end.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Taylor1430 View Post
                        gunz4life, I think the biggest obstacle you will run into would be zoning. Here, I'm sure this wouldn't fly because I think you would have to have the land zoned as a race track (or whatever a track would fall under)...if you were to open it up to the public at all. If its just a 'private driveway' to somewhere that happens to be wide...you may get by with it.

                        As for insurance, you are opening yourself up to a world of liability, even with signed waivers. You allow one of your friends on to the property for the purpose of racing...you friend's driving skills aren't up to par that night and he runs off the track and into the woods and dies in a blaze of glory. His family will come after you with a wrongful death lawsuit that you may end up losing....all because you didn't have the proper safeguards in place...and if you did, they weren't enough.

                        Here is an analogy for you...a guy here bought a bunch of land that was near a public park. He bought the land to prevent it from becoming developed and ruining the integrity of the park. He would allow the nature folk who frequented the park to use trails on his land. One day, guy is running the trails, takes a fall, and breaks a few bones. He ended up suing the landowner.

                        So, your good intentions may cost you big-time in the end.
                        Gosh...that sucks. I really don't know what to say. I know I can't afford insurance if it's what another guy told me(nearly $1,000,000/year). I'm gonna talk to a lawyer and see if there's a way to cover my tail in a case like what you described. Maybe I can include in the waiver that the participant is entering my property for the purpose of spectating/watching a race[from his or her own car].LOL. No, but really I just want to keep our racers off the street. A track would save numerous lives around here, I'm sure of it. A lot of us are getting faster and our vehicles have no business being on the streets in the first place. I just hate that there seems to be more to starting a track than I thought. I'm gonna go make some calls and send out some emails. I appreciate the advice guys. Be safe.
                        http://www.dragtrucks.com/index1.html

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                        • #13
                          I have a high-risk type business, I have 1,000,000 liability insurance that runs me 50 bucks a month...


                          Shop around.

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                          • #14
                            I really don't know, but what if you "contributed " the land to "Beat the Heat" PROVIDING they carry the insurance? It'd kill 2 birds with 1 stone --- the assoc. gets an "official" track (kinda like Terminal Island in L.A.) & you're relieved of the insurance expense yet your property is covered.
                            Of course it'd have to be all tied up in "legalese" language, but since you already have an attorney on-board, it may not be all that difficult.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You should try getting some county and city commissioners/councilors to help promote building a safe place to race. Politicians eat that stuff up and they get look like they are helping keep the community safe.

                              It would at least help with any zoning issues.

                              Comment

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