Owner hopes new drag racing track in Callahan can become alternative for illegal street racers

During much of the first half of 2023, News4JAX chronicled ongoing issues with street racing all over the city.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cracked down hard and impounded cars, which effectively made it too expensive to be fun. Since then, the racers have stayed relatively quiet, but the desire to do burnouts is still there.

Now, there may be an option for all these street racers in nearby Nassau County.

A couple of weeks ago Nassau County leaders approved a permit for a new drag strip in Callahan.

Countless drivers who spoke to News4JAX last year complained there’s nowhere in the area to race.

Enter David Hicken. He operates the Callahan Speedway where go-carts race on a dirt track, and now he has the OK from Nassau County to build a drag strip in a field adjacent to the track.

“If you do a burnout somewhere you get a ticket. If you speed you get a ticket. And the only thing people have to do is sneak around and race their cars,” Hicken said. “When we started three years ago there was a lot and a year ago, street racing, people getting killed and so a big part of what we’re gonna have is, if you think about it, there is nowhere this day and time with the popularity of muscle cars.”

Hicken gave News4JAX a tour of the property and showed the blueprints of the design, with a race strip that will go in a large field. So for the next six months, Hicken will work to pave the field and bring the first drag racing to Northeast Florida since the old Jacksonville Speedway on the Northside closed years ago.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Not no spring chicken to be starting something like this, but I do all this because I really truly like watching people enjoy themselves.”

There had been a drag strip locally in Green Cove Springs but that closed a few years back. The closest one in this region right now is in Gainesville.

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