What a Drag! | Night & Day | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

What a Drag!

Your foot itches. You want to push your pedal to the metal and zoom off at speeds that defy legal limits. But, as drag racing is verboten in these parts, you stay within the speed limit -- and sulk a little.

But there is a place you can go when you've got the itch to rev up your motor so voyeurs in the grandstand can live vicariously through you. Drag racing and speed racing come together at Moroso Motorsports Park, a quarter-mile straight track where the ear-piercing sounds of drag-racing cars are music to those who can stand the vroom-vroom-vroom of the engines. The less-hardy put earplugs in place to dampen the sound.

And despite the stereotypical image of teenage drivers, youth means little to the men and women drawn to the asphalt speedway. Grudge racing, or Test and Tune, as it is called, takes place Wednesday and Friday nights with motorcycles and mini kids' cars sharing asphalt time. For $15 per night, you can drag-race as many times as you like providing you have a helmet, shoes, long pants, a shirt (no tank tops), and a driver's license and your car passes a basic safety test inspection. If you're younger than 18, you need a minor waiver signed by your parent or guardian. Spectators pay $10 to watch from the grandstands, with children younger than 11 admitted free.

The track has been a Palm Beach Gardens staple for 40 years. It was purchased by the Moroso family 21 years ago. Today, 30-year-old Sue Moroso-Strecker is president of the straight-track raceway. "I never dreamed I'd be running a race track," she says. Her brother Rick is president of another Moroso track in Guilford, Connecticut.

It's first come, first served to race. Once you've completed your run, you can get back in line and wait your turn to fly down the track again and again. During a one-minute lapse between races, drivers check their time on the automatic scoreboard at the end of the track.

Electrical contractor David Chambers has been racing "all his life," he says. He won the 2001 Quick 16 championship at Moroso. The grandfather drives a Quick 16 24-foot-long dragster with a wingback. In spite of a recent accident -- he lost his transmission in December and landed in the hospital -- Chambers is back checking out the track, getting ready to take up his favorite sport again soon.

Other driving and racing competitions scheduled throughout the year attract crowds that don't mind driving to Moroso. It's a far piece to reach from Broward and some Palm Beach county locations but worth the trip if you want to race or just watch those addicted to speed.

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Sue Lynn

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