Beat the Heat raising awareness about illegal street racing



By Michelle Costa

Have you ever wanted to drive a police car as fast as you can? Today, some kids did just that.

Beat the Heat, a nonprofit organization, is reaching the community through a racing program.
They put on street car and street bike races at the Gooding Race Track.

Flashing lights, and sirens blaring .. it's not a normal sight to see a cop car grudge racing . Behind the wheel of that police car is 18-year-old Gary Hopkins.

Hopkins said, "I like to come out here and race against my friends and they all have street cars."

This is his third year drag racing, and he says not only is it fun, but he thinks the number of people illegally racing is going up, and he wants to help curb that statistic.

Hopkins said, "I'd love anyone who is a teenager who thinks they have a fast car to come out. I'm not seeing them visually, but I know they are doing it and they get together around town and they don't really think about it."

Law enforcement is hoping kids will ride in a car like this that can go 102 miles per hour as opposed to racing illegally on the streets.

Twin Falls County Staff Sergeant Matthew Eden said, "Get them to race legally and get them off the streets."

Staff Sergeant Matthew Eden with the Twin Falls County Sheriff's office explains illegal racing is a bigger problem than you might think.
He said, "In Twin Falls, the numbers are up over the years and with new enforcement, they're starting to come down. Gooding County is seeing the same trend, especially the bikes."

So how fast can these cars go? On this one-eighth of a mile of track .. about 50 miles per hour.
But for Hopkins, putting the petal to the metal of a police car is the most satisfying part.

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