Despite “hoopla,” 4th of July weekend drag racing event to continue 

PRESIDIO — Last week, rumors swirled around town that the drag race scheduled for July 2nd would be canceled. “There’s been a lot of hoopla,” Visitors and Convention Bureau director Arian Velázquez-Ornelas told her board at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

Presidio Municipal Development District (PMDD) executive director Jeran Stephens — whose organization leases the property around the drag strip — threatened to pull the plug over safety concerns. Stephens asked the organizers of Presidio Drag Racing to provide proof of general liability and race day insurance, safety regulations posted in English and Spanish, contracted security, and past-due payment on their lease. 

“The risk of catastrophic injuries or death to both the racers and the spectators is real. Should there be an accident out there, without liability insurance, PMDD could be considered liable,” Stephens explained. “I love drag racing. I think it’s a welcome entertainment venue for Presidio — done correctly and safely.”

The organization’s president, Robert Romero, explained that his crew had been hard at work finishing their improvements to the track, and hadn’t had time to take care of the particulars with construction in full swing. “People tell us that our track is pretty legit,” he said. “We’ve been working our asses off.” 

They typically purchase race-day insurance 48 hours before the event — not because they don’t care about participant safety, said Romero, but because they’re a family operation and don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to insure an event that could get canceled at the last minute. 

Romero explained that the race day insurance can cost up to $3,000, which comes out of his own pocket. “What happens if we don’t get the track done or something happens or breaks? I don’t get reimbursed for that,” he said. 

Stephens had given Romero and Alex Jimenez, who helps administer the drag strip, until this Wednesday to send her all the necessary paperwork. Romero and Jimenez delivered their documents on time, and Stephens gave the event the green light. “I am very happy to announce that the Drag Strip is officially in compliance,” Stephens wrote in a press release. “Let the races commence!” 

Jimenez and Romero are looking forward to race day, and have been getting attention from drag racing stars across the country. Teams from all over the Permian Basin and Mexico will be coming to Presidio for the event. “It’s all about having fun for the community,” Romero explained. “It’s fun to be out there and have some drinks and barbecue and just chill out with people. It’s a family affair.”

The Fourth of July drag races will kick off on Saturday, July 2nd at 5:30 PM. The Presidio Visitors and Convention Bureau will also be hosting a fireworks celebration and cookout at Daly Park on Sunday, July 3rd from 7 to 11 p.m.