“You weren’t driving, you were flying low.”
Many a teenager or 20-something has heard this from a police officer after being pulled over for drag racing on a city street. Now drag racing is legal in Florida’s Miami-Dade County as long as it’s done at the new drag strip created on the site of the former Opa-Locka West Airport.
The airport was decommissioned in July when it was determined that it was underutilized and that nearby Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport (TNT) could absorb the traffic.
According to Greg Chin, media relations manager for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD), the drag strip is temporary.
“Countyline Dragway is leasing space at X46 on a month-to-month basis for a 365-day period,” he said. “MDAD receives the greater of $2,000 per month or 10% of gross gate receipts. We also receive 20% from concession sales.”
According to Chin, MDAD plans to turn the property into a lime rock quarry in 2008 and keep it that way through 2028.
“Rock mining at the site is expected to net MDAD as much as $500 million over the next 20 years,” says Chin.
Until next year, drag races will continue at the former airport on a track that measures one-eighth of a mile. Peter Scalzo, president of Countyline Dragway, shelled out the money to pave the strip.
The International Hot Rod Association sanctions the races.
Countyline Dragway is the first ever drag racing strip to be opened in Miami-Dade County.