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A Muscle Car Spin Contest on Route 518 at the Canal Wakes Up Rocky Hill Residents

By Barbara A. Preston and The Montgomery News Reporting Staff | Posted November 7, 2022

Hot rodders with souped-up engines commandeered the intersection at Route 518 and Canal Road early Sunday morning to put on a reckless show of bravado — spinning out at high rates of speed, and burning rubber into the asphalt.

Skid marks on the roadway by the Delaware and Raritan Canal on Monday morning, on the border of Franklin Township and Rocky Hill.

An eye witness reported seeing groups of guys in their 20s or 30s engaged in car spin-around contests from about 12:30 am to 1 am on Sunday. "The participants were in sporty, American-made autos with obviously bigger engines (mostly Pontiacs and Chevies, I think). I saw no motorcycles at all," the witness told The Montgomery News.

It's called drifting, driving at a high rate of speed in a tight circle, burning tracks into the street. Some go as fast as 100 mph! Drifting is growing in popularity, and sometimes includes stunts, as shown in YouTube videos. The street racing enthusiasts organize a pop-up event, sometimes in minutes, according to articles in The Washington Post and Street Muscle Magazine. Participants block off an intersection, or take over a parking lot.

Route 518 (aka Georgetown Franklin Turnpike or Washington Street) is usually a lonely, quiet street during the evening hours, surrounded by the state park, the Trap Rock Quarry, and the town of Rocky Hill. The hoot owls and cricket sounds were replaced with the intense noise of engines revving and tire screeching — some likened the sounds to wounded wild animals — which could be heard miles away.

Dozens of spectators stood under the full moon and street lights on an unseasonably warm morning on November 6 to watch as drivers spun around in circles. (Photo taken by a witness who requested to remain anonymous.)

Franklin Township Police Pump the Brakes on the Street Drifters

Tired of listening to the awful, loud noise, at least two people dialed 911.

"It went on for about a half hour," one person, who also requested anonymity said. "I let it slide when all went quiet after 10-plus minutes of it. But then it restarted. That's when I went out, watched the situation [for about 10 minutes] and then called 911. Franklin PD arrived about 10 minutes later. Their response time was really excellent."

The street racers had apparently parked some of their cars around the intersection with headlights on, providing additional illumination. "As you can see from the photo [above], they were lined up both to watch the show and also to block traffic trying to drive through the intersection..."

"And what was the show? Doing loud, motor roaring, tire squealing spinouts inside the intersection. Really? Sounds like a 1950s juvenile delinquent film noir," according to the witness.

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The police arrived with sirens going. On arrival, police gave commands through a loud speaker to clear the intersection. "Several, perhaps all of the participants, took off rapidly across the canal and the Millstone River bridges along Washington Street and thru Rocky Hill. However, at least one and maybe two turned left onto Crescent and then left again along River Road to Kingston."

The Montgomery News called the Franklin Township Police Department three times on Monday to get a police report or statement for this article, but had not heard back at press time. The witnesses interviewed for this article wished to express sincere gratitude to the Franklin Township police for dispersing the street racers without incident, for keeping the community and drivers safe, and for restoring the peace and quiet necessary for a good night's sleep.


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