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Street Drag Racing

May 14, 2003, 9:45 PM by Perry Groten

A thrill-seeking rite of passage isn't just limited to teenagers. But the dangers are just the same. A 33-year-old Flandreau man, who investigators say was drag racing Saturday night, died when he was thrown from his pickup.

State troopers are keeping a closer lookout for drag racers. Perry Groten previews what could be a busy summer of street racing.

South Dakota authorities are seeing an increase in drag racing as the weather warms up. And a new movie that will hit theaters next month is expected to rev-up engines even more so.

A drag race turned into a demolition derby on a Lincoln County road last week. A state trooper chased down a 22-year-old woman who was allegedly drag racing in a souped-up Honda. The chase ended with a crash, but with no serious injuries.

Trooper Lori Olney said, "True to his training and his experience, the trooper hit his brakes and turned and if he hadn't, he could have t-boned the car and caused fatalities."

Sioux Falls police say drag racers on the loop have a tougher time "punching it" because of the heavy stop-and-go traffic downtown. But some cruisers still feel the need for speed.

"Jason," who cruises the loop said, "I come up here and cruise the loop there ain't nothing in the loop because people always try to race you, and they end up getting pulled over and being the stupid ones."

Now Hollywood is joining the race. "2 Fast 2 Furious" is a sequel to a popular movie about drag racing that troopers worry will inspire young drivers to act-out on the highway.

Olney said, "Initially, I think kids will like to try to step it up right after seeing the movie, I'm sure we'll have a few get out and test their engines."

But a sport that's glamorized on the big screen has tragic results in real life. "Drag racing does cause deaths, and that's what we're out there to try to curb."

It's not just fast cars that are getting caught. State troopers have also stopped motorcyclists drag racing, reaching speeds of one-hundred miles an hour.

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