Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles has been home over the years to more than just tons of canneries; beginning in 1974, it was the location of Brotherhood Raceway Park, a legal drag racing strip operated by "Big Willie" Robinson and his wife Tomiko. (Total badasses, they drove matching his-and-hers Dodge Charger Daytonas.) Robinson was a powerful community figure who championed drag racing as a means to calming local violence and promoting respect between people of all backgrounds. It worked, and city government and law enforcement saw the space as an asset, but, in 1995, the strip was closed down, displaced by a coal-handling plant. Robinson passed away in 2012.
Unfortunately, there are already plans in motion for a much-less-exciting "chassis yard" on the site—but there's a glimmer of hope still that the drag strip might find a home somewhere else. Project Street Legal has reached out to Mayor Garcetti's office, which responded in an email that the mayor would "like to see if this could possibly work at another location." Supporters of a new racetrack say that it would be great for the community to have a legal racing space where young people could go to learn about racing and car repair, and help raise money for vocational classes.
Back in the day, the track was bustling. Photos of the crowds, lowriders, hot rods, and at least one truck that might be a Transformer appear on the Project Street Legal Facebook page and on a Flickr page devoted to Robinson and the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers, which which Robinson founded as "an organization open to anyone, demanding only a pledge to race under safety supervision and abstain from alcohol, drugs, fighting and 'squirreling' — acting stupid in a car while showing off — during events."
· Plea for return of Terminal Island drag strip by street racing fans faces uphill battle [DB]
· Project Street Legal - Terminal Island Raceway [Facebook]