Sears Point Dragfest 2000

SONOMA, Calif. - Local law enforcement officers and drag racing don't usually mix, but they will come together for a good cause at Sears Point Raceway on Monday, July 3. "Dragfest 2000," a joint effort by Sears Point Raceway and KNBR AM out ...

SONOMA, Calif. - Local law enforcement officers and drag racing don't usually mix, but they will come together for a good cause at Sears Point Raceway on Monday, July 3.

"Dragfest 2000," a joint effort by Sears Point Raceway and KNBR AM out of San Francisco, will take place on the world-famous quarter-mile strip, featuring both exciting bracket drag racing and Sears Point's "Top the Cops" program. Moreover, police officers will do a full demonstration on tactical maneuvers, including the use of helicopters, K-9 units, patrol cars, pursuit demonstrations and other items. This will be done for educational purposes.

In addition to exciting drag racing in several categories, teen-agers will also get the chance to race against officers on the drag strip in the "Top the Cops" program, which originated four years ago. It is designed to give teens a safe, legal and controlled environment in which to race their cars instead of speeding down country back roads or through city streets. Police officers will actually drive the same squad cars that patrol city streets. Moreover, the officers will be dressed in their patrol uniforms.

"Top the Cops" is part of Sears Point's weekly Wednesday Night Drags program, which runs from April-November.

Gates open Monday at 8 a.m. and racing spans from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost is $10. All students must provide valid identification.

"We are trying to reach as many high school kids as possible and let them know that this program is open to them. It's a safe way for them to race their cars, and it's also a great way for us to bond with them," said Sgt. Brad Marsh of the Santa Rosa Police Department. "We are committed to promoting safe streets."

Sears Point Raceway, along with the Santa Rosa Police Department, created this worthwhile program in 1997, and it has since grown in both scope and importance. Law enforcement agencies from Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties participated in the program in 1999, and even more agencies signed up for 2000.

Here's how it works: Officers line up alongside their high school counterparts in their cars and wait for the green light that will begin their memorable journey down the quarter-mile strip. Once the light hits green, the two cars make a mad dash down the strip, racing to reach the finish line first. Once the race is complete, the teen receives a T-shirt for his/her participation and a photo with the officer he/she raced against.

Officers will also demonstrate tactical maneuvers during the lunch break (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) with the use helicopters, K-9 units and squad cars, among other things. The demonstration is for educational purposes only and is designed to give people a better understanding of what it takes to keep our streets safe.

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