Speed scofflaws could win ride in a race car | VailDaily.com

Speed scofflaws could win ride in a race car

Scott N. Miller

A traffic stop is rarely a good thing for a motorist. In the next few weeks, though, a little extra velocity through Vail may give one winner a shot at some sanctioned speed – NASCAR style.

While Vail police will get stone-serious about enforcing Interstate 70s 65 mph speed limit through town in a few weeks, the cops are adding an element of fun to the first phase of the patrols. Those pulled over for non-ridiculous rates of speed will receive a warning and an entry into a drawing to win a motorhead’s dream prize: A session in a 600-horsepower NASCAR-style racer.

The gas-gulping fun will be held at the Pikes Peak International Raceway near Colorado Springs July 17, as part of a stop at the track by the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

The winner of the July 4 drawing will win a three-hour “rookie experience” session valued at about $400.

The sessions are becoming popular attraction at racetracks around the country, said Chris McKee of the Richard Petty Driving Experience. “The are replica Nextel Cup cars,” McKee said. “People can get into cars like the one Kyle Petty or Dale (Ernhart) Jr. drive.”

The drawing entries will allow Vail police to be a bit more friendly about enforcing the speed limit on the interstate, Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger said. The speed enforcement is part of an effort to quiet the noise from the highway.

The “discretionary” part of the enforcement campaign will last for the first several weeks after Vail officers begin patrolling the interstate. However, not every road rocketeer will get a warning.

Henninger said that even in the beginning stages of the campaign, motorists traveling at 20 mph over the limit or faster will get tickets. So will people weaving through traffic, driving erratically or otherwise displaying anti-social driving behavior.

Motorists will also get just one entry. “It’s not fair speeding just to get warnings,” Henninger said. “We track warnings and people who get stopped more than once will get a ticket.”

For those not willing to endure a traffic stop to enter the contest, the town will offer other chances to enter the drawing. Entry forms will be available at sites including area service stations and visitor centers, said Vail Public Information Officer Suzanne Silverthorn.

In addition to one ticket to the Petty school, Silverthorn said she’s working on trying to land some tickets to a NASCAR Busch Cup weekend at the end of July. “I’m also trying to get one of the cars up here for the (July 4) parade,” she said. “That would be fun.”

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