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Drag Racing Association Hoping for Christmas Miracle

Dec. 21, 2006 — The Caribbean Drag Racing Association (CDRA) is hoping the 26th Legislature won't be the Grinch that stole its Christmas races. With its race track in serious disrepair, association members are relying on senators during Friday's legislative session to allocate approximately $40,000 for track resurfacing.
"The whole surface needs to be revamped because a vehicle meant to go over 200 miles per hour doesn't do too well with any damage to the road; it must have a level surface all the way through," said CDRA Treasurer Gary Thomas.
According to Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville, the chair of the Housing, Sports, and Veterans Affairs Committee, St. Croix senators have agreed "that it's necessary to have an amendment attached to any piece of legislation" for the purpose of allocating funds to the association.
CDRA members and officials recently went before the committee in early December to plead for assistance in repairing its track, which was damaged earlier this year by inclement weather and sewage.
May Adams Cornwall, V.I. Waste Management Authority executive director, said the authority had some responsibility in repairing the track's ruptured manhole, which caused water overflow and sewage debris to seep onto the track.
"We sincerely regret any overflow to any area in this community," Cornwall testified Dec. 4. Although the authority has taken responsibility for cleaning the sewage and water off the track, Thomas said that the association had to take on the cost of resurfacing.
The half-mile-long track, located near the Anguilla wastewater treatment plant, has been a mecca for racing fans for the past six years. Thomas said he lobbied many senators and is confident the funds will be appropriated for the repairs, yet nothing is certain. "We have to wait and see," he said.
Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson said he would support the amendment on Friday because he believes any type of recreation allowing people a positive outlet is of great benefit to the community. "I see the track as something more and more people are becoming involved with," Nelson said.
"Christmas holiday races have become traditional and synonymous with our culture," said Serville. The senator called the races a "vital sports tourism attraction" and said he would continue his efforts to get the track up to National Hot Rod Association standards.
For more than 20 years, prior to the V.I. Port Authority allowing the association to race near the Anguilla plant, racers had been feeding their appetites for speed on public roads. Since the organization began regulating races, visitors from the mainland and other Caribbean islands have visited St. Croix to participate, especially during the Christmas season, when the CDRA has its largest races of the year.
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