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Car clubs, new Texas laws helping keep illegal street racing out of McLennan County

Posted: 6:02 PM, Feb 16, 2024
Updated: 2024-02-16 19:02:16-05
Vehicle and flag representing a car club in Waco, i-35 Legends.

WACO, Texas — Last spring, local law enforcement broke up a "street takeover" in Waco involving around 80 vehicles including those looking to illegally street race.

Police say that was an isolated event and most of those drivers were from bigger cities like Dallas, I wanted to know more about how big of an issue illegal street and drag racing is in our area.

Sargent Chad Ashworth with the Waco Police Department's Traffic Unit says that organized drag racing is not something you’re going to see in town, and part of that is thanks to car clubs.

“I would say the information we got from the public and the car clubs that did not want this in their city," he said.

Last fall, Governor Greg Abbott signed two new laws further criminalizing illegal street racing.

“I think they’ve been very successful because I watch a lot of the social medias out of Austin, and Dallas and Forth Worth as well because those had the big focal points and that’s where a lot of those folks were from that tried to come to Waco," Sgt. Ashworth.

"I think it has absolutely made an impact. Now they really can’t use social media because if they do it’s a violation of law.”

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and SGT. Ashworth say they take illegal drag racing serious.

Sheriff McNamara says they have not arrest anyone under Abbott's new law.

He says around 7,000 traffic stops were conducted last year and in most of those stops drivers were given at least a warning.

25 News reporter Bobby Poitevint talked with Tony Garcia to learn why car clubs are so against illegal drag racing.

He is the founder and president of I-35 Legends, a car club in Waco.

"As club owners we want to be able to utilize our cars, our vehicles as tools for the public," Garcia said.

He says they don’t want people burning rubber and causing trouble in their clubs or in local neighborhoods — this could hurt their reputations as car clubs and damage the great relationships they have built to conduct community events.

He said there are also safety concerns and lives to think about.

"It’s about being respectful especially with the businesses, and there’s no way that we can come and be street racing on people’s property and then expect them to back us up in return when we do these drives," Garcia said.

SGT. Ashworth says that if you see any illegal drag racing activity in your community or on social media, you can report it to them through their Facebook page or calling their non emergency number, 254-750-7500.