Governor Albert Bryan on Thursday presented the Caribbean Drag Racing Association (CDRA) a check for $337,750, which the administration says will go toward the completion of a remodeled drag racing track that will infuse new life into the much-loved sport.
Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White and St. Croix Administrator Sammuel Sanes joined the governor, who presented the check to CDRA President Arthur Hector and CDRA Treasurer Ramon Cuencas, according to Gov't House. The funding represents 50 percent of the total funding available to complete the reconstruction of the drag racing track, which is just east of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, the release stated.
“We are truly excited about the return of drag racing in the near future,” Mr. Bryan said =. “Similar to horse racing, drag racing is an important part of our culture and how we interact socially. I commend Mr. Hector and the CDRA organization for their persistence in ensuring this sport continues to thrive here in the territory. We look forward to seeing the project completed.”
According to Mr. Hector and Mr. Cuencas, the funding will allow CDRA to install safety walls and fencing and to pave the return lane of the track. In 2020, the CDRA also received $500,000 in government funding to begin the work of building a better, safer track. That funding, in addition to private sector support, covered the cost of paving the main drag racing strip, and the construction of ADA-compliant bleachers and a judge’s tower with a VIP section.
“This the first time in the history of drag racing in the VI that we have gotten this far,” Mr. Hector said. “I want to thank the Governor and his staff for their support, especially Commissioner White and Administrator Sanes for the hard work they put into this, and the 34th Legislature for passing the bill that enabled us to get the funding.”
Mr. Hector also said he anticipates the re-emergence of drag racing will provide an economic boon to the island, with enthusiasts of the sport throughout the Caribbean and Florida traveling to St. Croix for drag racing events. The organization is also exploring the development of a junior program for youngsters interested in drag racing, according to the release.
“The appropriation of these funds shows the commitment of the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation and the Bryan-Roach Administration to have quality sports and recreation outlets for our community,” Mr. White said. “One of the Governor’s priorities is to enhance the USVI’s Sports Tourism product. Once the drag strip is completed, it will provide another competitive advantage to promote and distinguish the territory’s Sports Tourism product.”
According to Gov't House, the CDRA expects to complete the drag racing track by February 2022.