August 27, 2008

Sand dragsters ditch Soboba

Sand racers pullout of SobobaThe National Sand Drag Association has pulled its races from the Soboba Indian Reservation, citing safety concerns following a series of fatal shootings by deputies that left three tribal members dead.

The Arizona-based organization, with a membership of more than 500, decided in June to pull its events off the reservation and instead will hold its races at a new facility near Mystic Lake west of San Jacinto, said Alfonso "Chachy" Zavala, one of several organizers.

"We didn't feel safe going back there," Zavala said Tuesday. "We didn't want to put anyone else in danger. It was better for the racers, organizers and spectators to hold it somewhere else."

Tribal Councilwoman Rose Salgado said the tribe leased the land to the race organizers, who had a separate contract with the casino. She did not expect the pullout to have any substantial impact on the tribe or casino.

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