Efforts start up again for stalled racetrack on Oahu

Published: Aug. 11, 2017 at 2:18 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 11, 2017 at 5:29 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State lawmakers can expect another request for some kind of facility for racing enthusiasts on Oahu.

The island used to have Hawaii Raceway Park near Kapolei, but it closed in April 2006. Since then, the old acreage and track is now dotted with new warehouses.

But could part of Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia be used a few times a year as a race facility?

That's among the ideas being floated by racers, who say there are even more options.

"You know, it doesn't always have to be a full drag racing quarter mile," said Tracy Arakaki of Punish 'Um Motor Sports. "Eighth-mile racing is very popular because of the TV shows like Street Outlaws now."

"There's a lot of talent on the islands, and it's a shame that they might not have the opportunity and get the same chances that I got out there," said Todd Okuhara, who got his start at H.R.P. He's now a crew chief with the National Hot Rod Association in Indianapolis. He met with state Sen. Glenn Wakai Thursday to voice his support.

There are several obstacles, however, including finding a facility, or even land for a new one. Efforts have also stalled because of a split among racers.

"What troubles the racing community here is they're fractionalized," said Wakai. "They don't tend to agree on where it should be, what's the operations, what's the gate, what's the ticket prices, all of those things. They're not in cohesion."

Right now, racers can ship their cars to complete on tracks on the neighbor islands. Or they can burn rubber on the road in illegal street races.

"If you talk to HPD about that, they still have a problem with speeding because you're talking about generations of our youth right now who have never seen a legal place to go racing," said Arakaki.

It's not known how much a facility would cost, or what land could be available, even for a temporary track. Supporters are hoping to get enough agreement to get a green light.

"If everybody can band together and pull in the same direction and get something to happen, that's first and foremost," said Okuhara.

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