The other focus is safety. “Street racing will always be there, but our objective is to get as much people as we can off the street,” says Caires. “One of our mission statements is to produce a safe racing environment for everyone.”
There are strict insurance specifications for guardrails and other safety features, and a paramedic is onsite whenever there’s racing.
In fact, the night I’m there, the Lamborghini crashes into the guardrail, the front of its carbon-fiber body “shattering into a million pieces,” according to witnesses. The driver is out of the car and sitting on the rail by the time help arrives. He’s taken to the hospital for tests and released a short time later.
“On O‘ahu, when they lost their track, there were a lot more fatalities and a lot more street racing,” says Yamashita.
On the Mainland, sanctioned drag racing is more computerized, constantly measuring weather conditions for adjustments to the vehicles. In contrast, “Going to a drag race on Maui is like going to a drag race on the Mainland in the seventies,” says Bruce Wheeler, longtime local resident and the track’s de facto photographer.
“People come from the Mainland, from Canada, and they’re just blown away,” concludes Yamashita. “They don’t expect to find a track . . . in the middle of the ocean. It’s basically the island feel, the people and the surroundings. When you look up at the West Maui Mountains or Haleakalā, it’s beautiful.”
Ready . . . Set . . . Go!
WHERE: Maui Raceway Park is on Mokulele Highway, three miles south of Kahului, on land adjacent to the Pu‘unēnē National Guard Armory. Watch for the signs.’
WHEN: The Valley Isle Timing Association hosts drag races July 23, August 20, September 17, October 22, and concludes its 2016 season November 18 and 19. Gates open at 1:30 p.m., with tests and