Oklahoma law enforcement drag race to win world championship

For the first time, the World Finals drag racing competition of Beat the Heat, Incorporated will be held in Oklahoma. The organization is made up of law enforcement officers from across the nation. The event will be held on Saturday, September 28 at the Thundervalley Raceway Park in Noble. Gates open at 9 a.m. A static display of the more than 80 dragsters will be exhibited in Bricktown on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"We are thrilled to be hosting this event," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain John Harris. "Governor Keating has declared Saturday as Beat the Heat World Finals Day, and we hope to have lots of people come out to support us."

Harris is a 20-year veteran of the OHP and has raced as a member of Beat the Heat for nine years.

"It's a great program. We have so many opportunities to educate young people about the real problems of illegal drug and alcohol use, the dangers of driving while impaired and the risks of racing in the street. The races are a great setting for us to get together with young drivers in an atmosphere that is interesting to them," said Harris.

On any given Friday night from March through October, the officers can be challenged by students participating in High School Drag Night sponsored by Beat the Heat.

"The high school drags are a great opportunity for us to mix with young drivers because they are generally so inexperienced," said Harris. "These kids are really interested in fast cars so our dragsters are a big attraction to them."

He said there's always a healthy competition between the two groups.

"The students get the opportunity to challenge an officer to a race," said Harris. "Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose, but this allows us to set an example of professionalism and safety."

The organization was started in Jacksonville, Florida in 1984. In 1990, it was moved to Texas and improved and expanded upon. Oklahoma was the second to form a chapter and today has 18 members.

"We were thrilled to have won the bid to host the World Finals in Oklahoma," said Harris. "All the racers nationwide enjoy coming to Oklahoma because the track conditions are always good, and the people are friendly. We hope to draw a big crowd to route us on to victory as we try to win the championship for Oklahoma."

For more information log on to www.beattheheatinc.org or call 425-7709.