Off The Roadway Onto The Track - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

Off The Roadway Onto The Track

Off the roadways and onto the track.... It's one man's dream to help make Oahu's roadways safer.

Car enthusiast George Nitta is upset about the recent deaths from teen drivers racing or speeding on freeways. So he's pitching an idea to get these teens off the road, but not out of their cars.

George Nitta loves to soup up an engine until it sings. The one in this 1974 Super Pantera now has 650 horsepower and can burn up the road at 200 miles an hour. This fascination with fast cars goes way back.

"We did street racing like the kids are doing today so I understand where they're coming from," says Nitta.

But he also knows street racing today is different. And truly dangerous. A 58-year-old women died this weekend - the victim of road racers.

"They're crazy because it's not a short distance that they race. They race a long distance weaving in and out of cars," says Nitta.

But it was actually conversation with a relative of the speeding teen who died in this recent accident that gave him the drive to start a racing league at Hawaii Raceway Park.

"And that really broke my heart. I thought I got to do something."

But he knows he's up against kids who don't know the kind of thrill you can get from precision racing on a track - rather than just pedal to the medal.

"They're telling me it's not exciting to race at the raceway because they don't go as fast," explains Nitta.

Nitta thinks as many as a thousand kids are racing on our highways. And he thinks he knows the one thing that will get them off these lanes and onto the track. And that's money.

"In the beginning, I'm looking predicting about 2,500 dollars. But after we get more and more people coming in, it will get up to about 10,000."

That's with donations from businesses and individuals like this one. He's going to start with 500 a month and here's why...

"To get the wildness out of their system and put it in a controlled environment where everybody gains," says Theodore de Werd, Royal Purple distributor.

Especially George. He gets a chance to share his love of fast cars and show that there's more to cars than speed.

Nitta urges all interested drivers to attend a meeting at 2:00 p.m. September 8th at Moanalua High School. He plans the first racing event with prize money for October at Hawaii Raceway Park.

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