Recreation: Doing the Desert Drag

With temperatures as high as 110° and endless undulating stretches of parched sand, Southern California's deserts have been no man's land. By day, the only tracks were made by rabbits and horned lizards seeking shade; by night, the only noise was the sound of coyotes howling. Now the dunes reverberate with the sound of engines rev ving and backfiring. These are the echoes of the desert dragster, practitioner of the West's newest, and hottest, fad — desert drag and dune racing.

During the past five years, some 15,000 backyard mechanics have bolt ed...

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