Street to Strip gives young drivers taste for speed without endangering others

SOUTH MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- And they're off!

The Street to Strip community youth program gave young drivers a taste for speed, without endangering other drivers on the road.

Lower Allen Township Cpl. Matthew Claeys said, "I've seen plenty of fatal crashes with racing involved."

The six-month program in Cumberland County teaches dozens of drivers from ages 15-27 about competitive drag racing and defensive driving.

"Cowboy," with the Street to Strip program, said, "Here they'll learn what it's like to drive on the highway, but in a safe environment. It'll prepare them for the crazy people on Interstate 83."

At the end of the six months, they have a drag race tournament at South Mountain Raceway in South Middleton Township.

The winner gets a trophy and raced Claeys for the chance at a $1,000 prize.

Claeys said, "It's an adrenaline rush. Getting up there on the line, and you're all inside your head. And it's amazing."

And this year, Cody Smyth of Carlisle won the tournament and beat Claeys.

Smyth said, "I actually didn't think I was going to make it this far. My car really hasn't been consistent until today."

The 23 year old actually gave some of the prize money back for next year's race winner.

Claeys said win or lose, the program benefits everyone.

He said, "When I was a youth, I did a little bit of street racing myself. So I would've loved to have a program like this when I was a kid because it would've given me a safe place to do all this stupid stuff when I was a kid."

Sponsors for the $1,000 grand prize includes Fulton Bank, LB Smith FORD, McCarthy Tire, and U505 Racing.

If you would like to donate or have any questions about the program, contact dragschoolusa@aol.com or (717) 576-8309.