MADISON, Ill. – World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois opened up its quarter-mile drag strip Friday for Midnight Madness. The event is touted as a safe alternative to illegal street racing.
“You’re not having to contend with police, other cars, pedestrians, animals crossing the streets or curbs,” public relations director John Bisci said.
For $25 the event is open to any street-legal car or motorcycle and any licensed driver or rider with proof of insurance.
“It does cost money, but I’d rather pay money and be safe than be out in downtown and not be safe,” Midnight Madness driver Ashley West said.
17-year-old Sierra Ward was recently killed by a speeding car that ran a red light in downtown St. Louis while she was riding in the bed of a pickup truck. She was ejected from the bed of the truck and died.
Disturbing video of illegal street racers downtown also recently surfaced.
The city has taken steps to address the danger. A section of Washington Avenue has been shut down and the number of lanes on Broadway and 4th Streets reduced. Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Friday the shutdown of the Eads Bridge. She called the changes temporary.
“We’re hoping that that really curtails the speeding and the racing, which is all extremely dangerous, reckless driving,” Krewson said.
Bisci called the recent reports of downtown street racing frightening. He admits he raced illegally in his past.
“I was young and stupid once and I never got hurt and I never hurt anybody, so I was lucky,” he said.
Spectators can pay $17 dollars in advance or $20 at the door. Masks are required for admission and must be worn in common areas and shared spaces within 6 feet of other attendees.
The next Midnight Madness will be held September 11.