8 Facts About Street Racers You Never Knew

Street racing is illegal in most states. In fact, it isn't just the drivers who can be arrested and charged, but passengers and organizers who are involved in setting up a street race can face misdemeanour charges and penalties that could include jail time and heavy fines. We have made a list of 8 facts about street racers you may not know.

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UPDATED: Jul 9, 2022

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Written By: Chris TepedinoReviewed By: Laura WalkerUPDATED: Jul 9, 2022Fact Checked

The Rundown

  • Street racing is illegal and organizers are finding new ways to avoid the police
  • Street racing began in 1903 and is more dangerous today as some cars for street racing can exceed 200 MPH
  • Street racing in real life is not the same as it’s portrayed in popular movie

Street racing is romanticized in fiction, such as in “The Fast and the Furious” film franchise. It may seem like a lot of fun and a good way to show off your driving skill, but before you modify your car into a street racer and start challenging all comers, there are facts about a street racing car that you should be aware of. This is a dangerous activity, and jumping into it without all the street racing facts makes it more so.

8 Facts About Street Racers

Before getting into the eight facts about street racing cars, it’s essential to point out that street racing is dangerous and illegal in every state.

In a street race, there is very little attention to safety. Public streets are meant for transportation, and racers run the very real danger of collisions with regular drivers and pedestrians. Damage to property, injuries and even fatalities are not uncommon in street racing.

For these reasons, street racing is illegal. If you’re caught competing in a street racing car on a public street, road, or highway, you can be arrested, fined, and have your license suspended or revoked. It can be very difficult to get car insurance on a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. You can also be held liable for any damage or injuries that occur as a result of the race. Spectators may also be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.

1. Most Street Racers Are Young

Street racers tend to be young. According to HotCars, the average age of an American street racer is between 17 and 24. The thrill tends to appeal to younger people, especially the ones under the age of 21 who can’t enjoy many adult forms of entertainment such as drinking in a bar. This adds to the danger as the typical street racer is less experienced and less mature and thus more likely to be involved in a serious accident. However, street racing is dangerous for all drivers, regardless of age.

2. Street Racing Began in 1903

Street racing has a long history of more than a century. The first recorded street race took place in 1903 and involved a drive from Paris to Madrid. Fifteen cars took part, including 11 Mercedes, two Fiats, and two Renaults. At the time, the sport was somewhat less dangerous as the cars were not nearly as fast as street racing cars today and there was far less traffic on the road.

3. Some Street Racers Can Reach Speeds Above 200 MPH

Street racers generally make extensive modifications to their street race cars, typically to make them faster. This results in some racing vehicles that can exceed 200 MPH. This is one factor that makes the sport so dangerous. Hitting a road obstruction at that speed will almost certainly be fatal and cause a tremendous amount of damage. Cars moving that fast can’t make sudden stops or changes in direction to respond to emergency situations or hazards.

4. Street Racing Cars Are Often Stolen

Car thieves are naturally attracted to more expensive targets of theft. Street racers tend to buy more expensive cars that are built for speed and then modify them to make them even faster. These after-market parts are expensive and significantly add to the value of a street racing car. The owners also invest in custom paint jobs to give their vehicles flashier looks. All of these modifications to custom street racing cars make it much more likely that the car will be stolen. Along with the high-performance capabilities of cars for street racers, the threat of theft can make car insurance very expensive.

5. Street Racers Can Be Classified By Their Tires

Unlike legitimate auto racing, street racing does not have a governing body, so there are no organized rules to ensure a fair and level playing field. The racers themselves may not always supply accurate information about their cars and modifications. Tires are clearly visible and often used by organizers of street races to classify the cars that participate. Cars with smaller, narrower tires would not necessarily race against cars with larger, wider tires.

6. Bottle Cars Are Street Racers With NOS Tanks

Street racing cars known as “bottle cars” get this name because they are equipped with bottles of liquid nitrous oxide. When this compound is released into the engine’s cylinders, it lowers the temperature of the fuel and air mixture. This improves efficiency and increases speed, giving the driver an advantage over the competition.

7. Street Race Organizers Are Getting Better at Avoiding Police

Naturally, illegal activity such as street racing is monitored by local police, especially in jurisdictions where it’s popular and common. Organizers are getting better at finding ways to thwart the efforts of law enforcement to shut down the races and arrest the participants. One common method involves racing across the city, county, and state lines. This can hamper the police by forcing them to take the time to get permission from the neighbouring jurisdiction before pursuing racers across boundaries.

8. Street Racers Generally Don’t Race for Pink Slips

Films such as “The Fast and the Furious” love to dramatize street racing by showing contestants betting the registrations of their cars on the outcomes of races. This rarely, if ever, happens. Instead of pink slips racing, drivers usually race for fun and would not risk losing their cars after putting so much time and money into customizing them. Street racers do, however, often bet sums of money on the races.

Little-Known Street Racing Facts

Street racing is a popular activity among young thrill-seekers in some parts of the country. Films and other media romanticize the sport and can increase its popularity. Actual street racing is different from its fictional portrayal. It’s illegal, dangerous, and expensive. Before considering engaging in this sport, you should know all of the street facts.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker