Harris County officials attempt to sully the intentions of the annual TX2K racing festivities.
Story | Phillip Pratt
Before we start, we’d like to set something straight about what we’re about here at Street Racing Illustrated and subsequently SRMS. We do not condone, promote, or try to justify, illegal street racing of any kind. Our primary focus is and always has been to journalize our culture in its many facets including the drivers, builders, tuners, cars, bikes and legit events where our talents and passion can be safely put on display.
TX2K is an annual event that is currently held at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, a city that resides in both Harris and Chambers Counties. The massive event draws in racers for hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Like other events of its ilk, TX2K provides enthusiasts with a safe outlet where they can go W.O.T. (wide open throttle) without worrying about something or someone getting in between them and the finish line. The latest iteration of the event was held this past weekend from the 15th through the 18th of March. It’s also the same weekend that law enforcement in the area decided to launch an operation which netted at least 42 arrests of people participating in illegal street racing activities of various degrees.
Now, this isn’t an article defending anyone that found themselves in trouble. If you got roped, you know what you were doing. It comes with the territory. The larger issue with this is the connotation some choose to pin to the entire culture. Prosecutors involved with the cases claim; “the TX2K drag racing at Royal Purple Raceway brings in an unsavory crowd into our area…” This is what we call throwing the baby out with the bath water. Instead of praising TX2K for attempting to provide an option, they are demonized and accused of creating the problem.
In the Channel 13 report that broke this story, it’s said that the event attracts participants from “as far as Ohio”. Something I do not doubt. But to say TX2K “brings in an unsavory crowd into our area” infers that this crowd doesn’t exist year-round (I’m not calling our kind “unsavory”, chill). Let’s be honest, even if a track was open every day and every night of the week, there would still be some form of racing happening in our streets. It’s an activity that’s been around since people began using engines instead of horses to get around. Despite what doomsday screeching, Fast and Furious watching, news anchors would have you believe, it’s not some kind of new fad that started in the early 2000’s.
This is the official response from Peter of TX2K Enterprises:
Royal Purple Raceway and TX2K have always been committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment [for] racers and fans alike. TX2K is a track-focused event that gives racers a chance to race one another at the most premier race track in the country. Neither the track nor the event condone street racing and plan to continue to offer a street car event in the [safest] place possible…the race track.
Problem is; tracks are disappearing around the country. Most drag strips are built miles away from residential areas. Even then, they have strict ordinances placed on them in terms of what hours and days they can be in operation. More often than not, what gets tracks shut down isn’t the street racing that happens around the area, as we saw in Texas this past weekend, but the noise it creates for nearby residents… which is the reason they are built so far into the sticks, to begin with. This problem only presents itself once developers start to buy up land near these establishments, and then build multi-million-dollar homes for people with deep pockets that have the resources to apply pressure to officials to have the nearby noise machine closed for what they eventually cite as, “safety reasons” (yeah… right).
Allowing words such as unsavory to be associated with racers and legitimate, structured, events like TX2K, damage the entire culture and makes it easier for lawmakers to take away the very tools that help prevent what they claim to be fighting. While there were 2 deaths attributed to street racing in 2016 (unrelated to TX2K), there has never been a death on the streets during a TX2K event. A simple Google search of DUI deaths in the same area and you’ll wonder why lawmakers are not more concerned about that statistic.
In fact, in 2015 Harris County ranked among the highest in the state for substance-related deaths while driving (149). This is not to diminish someone losing a loved one to street racing, but it puts in perspective what this is truly about; quite frankly, it’s about noise, not public safety. Which leads one to wonder why officials don’t just partner with TX2K and present a united front instead of threatening to shut it down. There’s nothing wrong with shining a light on something that is a legitimate concern, not just in Texas but across the country, but to denigrate something that is actually helping to stem the tide is short-sighted and ultimately, irresponsible.
Photo taken by Cody Carey for TX2K and 1320 Video
Street Racing Illustrated would like to thank TX2k for sharing their thoughts with us and 1320 Video and all their gifted contributors.