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Arizona's Speed World Midnight Madness - Midnight Madness

At Phoenix, Arizona's Speed World Dragstrip's New Midnight Madness "Street-Racing" Program, Nearly Anything Goes

Photography by Marko Radielovic, Terry McGean

The Mustang and El Camino finish their smoky burnout rituals and ease up to the line. Directing them into position, the starter takes her place between the two battling musclecars. She points to one car, and then to the other. Their engines rise in pitch as the starter lifts the flags and drops them to signal the start of the race. The two cars roar by, and the next two contenders slide into the burnout box....

This could be happening on any industrial side street in America, but it's not. This is happening at Phoenix, Arizona's very own Speed World dragstrip, where, at the track's new Midnight Madness "street-racing" program, nearly anything goes. Inspired by the growing popularity of America's favorite age-old underground activity, the proprietors of Speed World offer local car enthusiasts a safe and legal outlet for their speed lust--with a twist. The use of the Christmas Tree is optional, and any type of start, from a flashlight to a flag, is permissible. Car lengths can even be marked out to handicap a race, and at the drivers' request, "official" times can be kept secret from the crowd and other racers.

Speed World's Midnight Madness slogan is: What you want, when you want, and how you want it. In other words, it is very accommodating. It's even possible that some betting takes place (not that we would know anything about that). The program is slated to run monthly and goes from about 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Safety is a priority, so expect a comprehensive technical inspection prior to the race. Events like this are becoming increasingly popular at tracks around the country. As a safer alternative to dangerous illegal street racing, it still retains the anything-goes, outlaw spirit of side-by-side racing. Log onto for more information about upcoming races.

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