By Cleve Bryan


ATCO, N.J. (CBS) — It’s Drag Week 2019 in South Jersey. Racers from across the world are showing off their hot rods and trying to set new personal bests.

At its core, drag racing is about who can go the fastest when the light turns green. Over time, just about every aspect of racing has become specialized with countless hours and dollars spent just to drive the perfect quarter-mile.

But this isn’t that kind of race.

On Wednesday, 400 cars and thousands of fans filled the Atco Dragway for the Hot Rod Drag Week. It’s the third part of a five-race series to determine the fastest street car in America. There have been other stops in Virginia.

“These are some seriously fast cars but also ones that can drive down the street,” Hot Rod events manager Harrison Card said.

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In between drag races this week, racers make the 1,000-mile journey in their race cars, something almost unthinkable for supercharged vehicles that can reach 220 mph.

“The biggest thing is having a good cooling system and building it for the road,” drag racer Bryant Goldstone said.

It’s kind of like running sprints during a marathon.

“This takes you back to a more simple time and everyone has more of a level playing field because you have to street-able. So you can’t bring a max effort car here because guess what, you’re not going to make it to Friday,” said Geovannie Castillo, a racer for Real Street Performance.

Not only is the competition unique, so are the racers with everything from muscle cars to a minivan that hit 120 mph.

Atco Dragway, New Jersey’s oldest drag strip, has hosted races for almost six decades but this is the first time for Hot Rod Drag Week.

From here, the racers head to Budd’s Creed, Maryland for stage four of Drag Week. They’ll finish Friday and whoever has the best average time across the five races will take home the trophy and title of America’s Fastest Street Car.

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