News 12 at 11 o'clock, October 17, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---News 12 has the latest on the controversial drag strip plan for Augusta. Is it on the fast track or headed for a permanent pit stop?
"If you ain't got no drag strip, man, you ain't got no life. It's that simple," said Al Roberson. He has been racing most of his life.
Al says drag racing is not just a pastime, it is his passion. "It just gives a lot of people something to do. A lot of people that really got nothing to do in the week, they look forward to this."
Al may be in for a big disappointment. In the past week, Augusta commissioners called the drag strip feasibility study flawed and demanded a refund. Commissioner Andy Cheek said, "In spite of the hard work that so many people have done, the city can't legitimately go forward with partnering with anybody with flawed data, and we'll have to start over."
So what does this caution flag mean for the future of a drag strip in Augusta? "I'd say the chances are less than 50/50 at this point in time," Cheek said.
Leo Charette and his family are all drag racers. Charette's been working to bring a drag strip to Augusta for three years. "Build it and they will come," he said.
Some folks say it's just taken too long to get off the ground. One racing fan known as "The Dog" told News 12, "I think it would be good for the economy, but if they're having so much controversy trying to get it, is it really gone be worth you having?"
"Maybe with the new government coming in we'll get some different supporters, and we'll get this thing built," said Charette. And if not? "All I can tell people is I'm doing all I can and hoping that the government gets organized to where we can get something built. If we don't build a drag strip, build something. A canal, something ."
But local race fans are not giving up, even if the whole plan seems to be stuck in park. "The Dog" said, "I'm going to do it until I can't do it no more. When I die I want them to bury me right on the drag strip."
The initial study looked at the Industrial Park site off Highway 56. If supporters can get the project back on track, the next step would be rezoning.