Drag strips need to be revisited

In recent news are crashes involving high powered cars from American car makers. You can now purchase from a dealer a vehicle with over 800 horsepower. That would have been an insane amount of power in my old racing days. Now the manufacturers are talking about 1000 HP.

I have always loved high performance cars and raced all over California. We used to have 85 drag strips in our state but only 12 remain. We used to have a place to go, but now kids do not. So, they race on the streets.

This is not a new problem. After WWII kids had money and built hot rods. They also raced on the streets, but government and organizations took notice and built all those drag strips. The street racing problem almost went away.

Santa Maria used to have a drag strip. It was located on what is now west Foster Road and opened on April 4, 1954. The Dragons Car Club was instrumental in getting it off the ground. It was later moved to an unused part of Santa Maria airport and renamed Golden State Raceway. Support of the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce was withdrawn and it closed in March of 1978.

We had other local drag strips. Goleta Airport drag strip used the old WWII runway and opened in 1948. It was famous for the first use of nitro in a vehicle on a sanctioned drag strip (Fran Hernandez, 1932 Mercury coupe). The San Luis Obispo drag strip, also known as Pacific Dragstrip, operated from 1957 to 1963 at the airport there. Even Santa Ynez got in the game in the 1960s with the Buellton Drags at the Santa Ynez airport.

We have tried to construct another local drag strip, but have been shot down. We even attempted to use the 3-mile long concrete space shuttle strip at Vandenberg but were not allowed. So, we are going to be stuck with street racing until someone steps up to the plate and allows a place for racers to race. And with the horsepower wars among manufacturers, street racing is going to get worse and more deadly.

Richard Tibben

Nipomo

No need for political puppets

After our nation suffered two more mass shootings this month, the cry for gun control is being loudly heard again. Let me say, from the beginning, I have never owned guns and proably never will. I do believe background checks should be a federal law. Also, I don't personally see a need for any civilian to own a military style weapon such as the AR-15.

Having said this, two things bother me about this controversial debate. First, the claim that the government is trying to take away our guns. I'm sure there are some on the pro gun side that really believe this falsehood. But, I think the Ted Cruzes of Congress know the government will never try to take all guns from us. There is no need to take hunting rifles and hand guns and it would probably create a civil war if they tried.

What bothers me most about this controversy is how our leaders respond to issues like gun control and stolen elections. I am sure there are Republicans in office who believe military style weapons should be banned. Likewise, there are Democrats that believe citizens should be allowed to own them. But most will never vote their conscience. The Grahams, McConnells, Schumers, and Pelosis speak and most, if not all, fall in line. Think what a difference it would have made if Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham would have publicly asked President Trump to concede on Nov. 4.

We need senators and reprsentatives who will voice what they truly believe in their heart, no matter what the consequences might be to their political careers. Only then will we start to see cooperation accross the aisle. We need strong men and women representing us, not political puppets.

Phil Robinson

Kingsburg

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