August 12, 2005
For any passer-by, this car show would look like an exhibition of engines and wheels. For Albemarle County police, the purpose goes much deeper. They hosted a car show tonight to educate young drivers about the dangers of street racing. Kids from around the area came to the Shoppers World to strut their stuff.
Engines, rims, and paint are all important keys to a hot rod and a hot show. This show provided something much more important.
"We wanted to do something besides just [going] out and enforce the laws. When these kids are driving around with illegal equipment on their cars, exceeding the speed limit, racing, things like that, then they get stopped, they can see somewhat of a negative impact from law enforcement," said Sgt. Scott Cox of Albemarle County Police.
Albemarle County Police organized this show in response to a growing drag racing problem along Route 29 North. Back in March, a pedestrian was struck near Seminole Trail and Myers Drive. Witnesses told police it appeared two cars were racing. So police decided to make a pre-emptive strike.
"We wanted to provide them an area for the night, to come together, get to know the police and have something to eat and drink," Cox said.
Young drivers showed their cars while getting legal information from traffic officers. All seemed excited about the opportunity to display their hard work.
"I think they should have it more often on weekends allowing people to sit here instead of everybody on the street and it would stop street racing," said car owner Daniel Stratton.
"We're trying to have a little fun and hang out. It is nice to do it without getting chased away," said car owner Peter Lutz.
But when it came down to it, it was a chance to do something different on a Friday night.
"Just let everybody get together and talk and not get in trouble by the police," said B.J. Snow of Ruckersville.
"Come out here and sit so you don't have to get in trouble nowhere," said Alec Bowen of Charlottesville.
Now police hope to make this a quarterly event giving kids and cars a place to unwind.