Saturday, June 15, 2024

Street Outlaws’ Derek Travis has advice for illegal street racers

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

A few weeks ago, The Capital Sports Report did a story on Derek Travis, a member of the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws. The popular TV show is highlighting illegal drag racing in Oklahoma, and Travis, along with the rest of the drivers on the show; know they are taking a risk on the streets.

While they all accept the risk, they are all passionate about what they do. The crews help the show by blocking off the roads, so there are no accidents.

Drag Racing
Drag Racing (Photo by Pixabay)

“The biggest thing would be to use some common sense,” Travis said. “Don’t go doing it in the middle of the street. Don’t bring a 100 of your friends to watch you race. When you do it, make sure you are safe and we don’t have 100’s of people there. We also have security to watch out for law enforcement and to watch for oncoming traffic if there is any.”

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The reason they do not have a lot of people there is so there are not massive crowds each time they race. Plus, there are no civilians along the side of the road when the cars are going down the street.

This past March, a former driver, who appeared on the show, was arrested and charged with murder following a street racing accident that killed two in Los Angeles. Irael “Izzy” Valenzuela was reportedly racing against Henry Michael Gevorgyan on Feb. 26, 2015, when one of the drivers lost control, before careening into a crowd, where it killed the two people.

Valenzuela was charged with two counts of murder and is facing up to 33-years-to-life in prison for driving his Nissan GT-R in the illegal race. Gevorgyan is also facing two murder charges, as well.

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His attorney has said that he wasn’t the driver of the Mustang that crashed into the stands. People on Twitter have argued that Gevorgyan was not driving and was the one with the flashlight, who actually started the race between the two cars.

In April, the parents of Eric Siguenza filed a lawsuit against both men. Also, in their lawsuit, it stats that Gevorgyan was not the driver of the Mustang, as social media has said since minutes after the crash.

Gary Balyan was arrested in May and charged with two counts of murder after surrounding to the Los Angeles authorities. Balyan was reportedly the driver of the Mustang that crashed, while police are just calling him a participant.

“The basics of being safe is the key,” Travis stated. “Don’t let the stuff that happened in California, where people were standing past the starting line, happen to you. We always have people behind the cars and that’s for a reason. You never know what’s going to happen when you race on the street.

“Also, you shouldn’t underestimate the street. Make sure you know your street and your car. There’s always a risk – even for us now. Most people don’t understand that streets are not a track. We set our cars up for the street and we go testing a lot. We can get our cars to get down just about any street. We’ve also put ourselves in any predicament as far as streets are concerned. “We’ve raced down Dewey weather, hot and humid, and both asphalt and concrete. You shouldn’t have a big head knowing you’re the baddest person on this earth, because there’s always somebody faster.”

Because of the show’s popularity, it has caused problems for the drivers. The National Hot Rod Association, the NHRA, which doesn’t like the show, has written letters to several drivers and in the letter, they have threatened to suspend the drivers’ competition license.

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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