Illegal drag racing has exploded in popularity across the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began, with sometimes deadly consequences. Officials have reported a dangerous uptick from Oregon and New Mexico to Georgia and New York. Experts say TV shows and movies glorifying street racing had already fueled interest in recent years. Then shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways and gave those with a passion for fast cars more time to modify them and show them off. Police in many cities are now stepping up enforcement. And some states are fighting back with harsher punishments.

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