Racing in the streets of Canada’s urban centers is a real problem, one that at times claims innocent lives. As members of the Edmonton Police Service, we are concerned about this growing trend in our community. The Street Legal Program evolved as a result of that concern. This program allows our members to get into the community and talk to the racing community using police race-cars as a draw.
History of Street Legal
In the early 1950s, NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) founder Wally Parks began working with law-enforcement agencies around the country to entice illegal street racers onto dry lakes and abandoned runways where more organized competition could be staged. Today, that basic initiative remains NHRA’s primary mission. Given the scope of today’s street racing epidemic, NHRA is even more committed to providing safer racing alternatives through thousands of legal, sanctioned events that take place on hundreds of drag strips across North America each weekend through its Street Legal program.
In 1994, at the urging of Southern California law-enforcement agencies, NHRA began a high-profile and closely scrutinized program of events for street-legal cars and motorcycles in Southern California.
In 1996 on the initiative of Mike Wynnyk, Terry Innes and Eleanor Innes they formed a charity known as Blue Line Racing. Blue Line Racing is responsible for the promotion of the Street Legal Program in Edmonton. Since its inception, Blue Line racing has grown to five members with the addition of Blair Dezwart and Keane Block. Blue Line Racing currently operates four race cars; a 1972 Plymouth Duster, a 2003 pre-production model Hyundai Tiburon, a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, and a Supercharged 2009 Ford Mustang GT.
Blue Line Racing Association
Blue Line Racing Association is a nonprofit organization run by a volunteer group of police officers who are all members of the Edmonton Police Service. Blue Line Racing is operated like any other race team and relies on sponsorship funding from community partners. No tax dollars are used to build, maintain or race the cars.
Members of Blue Line Racing Association:
Constable Wynnyk, a licensed mechanic, has been a police officer since 1991. He’s had a passion for drag racing since his early teens and by age 17, had built his own car. Mike’s early experiences with drag racing began like many kids – on the streets. But a collision caused by racing was the turning point in his life. He took his race car to the track and now wants to use the sport to help prevent other kids from making a serious or fatal mistake.
Terry and Eleanor Innes
Terry has been a police officer since 1987. His wife Eleanor, began her police career in 1988. Her position on the team is to keep the books so the car will stay on the track. Terry has been a racing fan for years and sees Street Legal as an excellent opportunity to use a personal interest to make a difference.
Blair has been a member of the Edmonton Police Service since 1999. He has always had a passion for fast cars and racing. While on duty one night his interest was peaked in the Street Legal after seeing the devastation caused by street racing.
Keane has been a police officer since 2002, he is the newest member of Blue Line Racing. Keane has always had an interest in cars and motorcycles. Keane views the Street Legal program as a great opportunity for the public to have a positive interaction with police.
Blue Line Racing Association Objectives and Mandate
- Promote Traffic Safety and responsible Driving.
- Strive to reduce street racing by providing heightened awareness and safe racing alternatives.
- Cultivating positive relationships between young drivers and police.
Community Policing Partnership
We make several appearances throughout the community. This is where we speak with everyone from children to seniors. We display our cars in malls, car shows, and parades in order to expose the program and our sponsors to the public and deliver our message.
Although there is no way to measure the success of the program as related to decline or incline of street racing, We encourage all young persons to test their abilities at a safe sanctioned race track. Together with our local track, Castrol Raceway, we hold approximately 20-22 Street Legal race events each year. We have had a tremendous show of support from the young drivers in the community, averaging 175 participants and 1500 spectators at each event.
Our program specifically targets young persons ages 14-25, while most other programs are geared for the elementary student. We talk about traffic safety and our theme is anti-street racing. We discuss their abilities to operate a vehicle in a safe and responsible manner. We use the race cars as a means to get the attention of the youth in our communities. We have made hundreds of appearances at schools, community events, and at the race track.