SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – RaceLegal was designed to curb illegal street racing, but now race enthusiasts who do it legally will soon be out of options.

Race supporters worry that after the program’s last event it could lead to races back on the roads.

Amber Zent’s 1965 Volkswagen holds a special place in her heart and driveway. “We upgraded the engine. We are putting it back in now.”

Zent began racing at RaceLegal and has not looked back since. “It’s a really great way to just relax and take your mind off everything. I actually tanked the first time out. I did not make it down the track.”

Since then, Zent has joined the racing community at events throughout southern California, but RaceLegal is one of a kind in San Diego. “RaceLegal is really my only opportunity to practice and get that seat time.”

RacecLegal started 21 years ago with funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The goal was to give drivers an alternative to illegal street racing and cut down on preventable tragedies.

Organizers said they are forecasting a financial deficit for 2019, and are ending the program, saying: “My hope is that San Diego does not lose the knowledge of how to combat the tragedy of preventable deaths as a result of illegal street racing.”

Come next Friday, Zent said she will be at RaceLegal’s finish line – where her love for racing got the green flag.

“Taking it back to the streets is actually something that is concerning for me because I see enough drivers on the road not in a match. I don’t want any more out there,” she said.

The City of San Diego said it has not been contacted by RaceLegal.

The City has on hold the dates March 8 and 29, April 12, and June 7 and 21 for use by Race Legal of the SDCCU Stadium parking lot. The City has not issued a Use Permit for the Feb. 15 event. When an event is placed on hold, there is no financial commitment at that time.

It’s when the City moves to the issuance of a Use Permit that payment is required. Race Legal pays $1,000 per month to store equipment in the City’s “barn” storage area. Race Legal is up to date on rental payments.