Teens fuel for speed at Gateway

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MADISON, IL (KTVI)-- Gateway Motorsports Park is inviting high school students to race on the Madison, Illinois NHRA sanctioned drag strip.  The Gateway High School Championship series is part of a program geared to educate young drivers about the importance of safety.

"What happens illegally on the street is not drag racing," said Chris Blair, Gateway`s General Manager.  "Drag racing is a sport that`s conducted with rules that we enforce."

Tyler Piazza is a high school student from Bourbon, Missouri.  He came to Gateway Wednesday to race for the first time.

"If people can come here and race, they`re not going to go out on the streets and race," said Piazza.

Street racing problems in St. Louis have made the news in the past.  Gateway officials hope their program will help curb those problems and promote the sport of auto racing.

"A street could have potholes and curves and dips," said Paul Hagen, Hagen Racing.  "It`s so easy for something to go wrong."

Hagen meets with the high school drivers at Gateway and educates them about safety.  Vehicles are inspected before they`re allowed to race.   Drivers younger than 18 need parental permission.

Future dates open to high school students are April 23rd, May 7th and 21st, June 4th and 18th, July 2nd and 16th, August 6th and 27th.  September 3rd will be reserved as a make-up-date for any weather related cancelations.

For more information visit www.gatewaymsp.com.