Views & Notes: March 2016 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
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Views & Notes: March 2016 Edition
By Dan Schechner on February 29, 2016

* Fighting Back: An industry-wide firestorm erupted February in response to proposed regulations by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that threaten to ban the conversion of street-legal vehicles into race cars. As written, it would also outlaw the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles. The provision was inserted into a 629-page proposal, published back in July, called “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2” that essentially covered fuel standards for commercial trucks. And while the Clean Air Act indeed prohibits certain modifications to street cars, it’s clear that race cars represent a completely different type of “motor vehicle.”

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which owns this company, has taken the lead in opposing these potentially devastating regulations through a multi-pronged approach that includes federal lobbying efforts and meetings with EPA officials, among other tacks. According to SEMA President/CEO Chris Kersting, “This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law, and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles. Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”

SEMA will continue to mobilize opposition initiatives alongside other affected stakeholders, representing professional and grassroots racers, as well as their supply partners and fans. Those efforts are expected to include, but are not limited to, support from Congress and, if necessary, intervention by the courts. The EPA has said it expects to publish final regulations by July 2016.

Update: “Despite recent indications that the EPA is considering a new rule-making to request additional public comment on its proposed race car rule, it is now clear that an amendment to the Clean Air Act will effectively end any debate over the exemption of motor vehicles converted for competition use. SEMA views congressional action as a decisive step to settle this issue once and for all,” Kersting said. “The EPA is attempting to write a new interpretation into the regulations. The racing community and parts makers need the certainty that legislation will provide.”

A SEMA-initiated White House Petition opposing the EPA-proposed regulation currently contains more than 160,000 signatures, well past the 100,000 signature threshold necessary to elicit a response from the administration.
              
* Charter Club: Richard Petty is already calling it “the second most important thing that’s ever happened in NASCAR.” Indeed, last month’s announcement by the sanctioning body put some meat on the bones of its highly anticipated business model overhaul, which had been in the works for some 18 months and came just in time for the Sprint Cup season kickoff in Daytona.

In essence, the nine-year team owner charter agreement stamps 36 guaranteed entries for every Cup race in 2016, with four “open” spots in each race’s 40-car field decided via qualifying. A total of 19 teams were granted those three-dozen charters, with four going to Hendrick Motorsports, and three apiece going to Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. Several others received two or fewer.

In addition to stability on the grid, NASCAR’s new setup establishes a Team Owner Council that will have “formal input” into the sanction’s decision-making, as well as short- and long-term economic benefits that include more predictable revenue streams and enhanced marketing platforms.            

* Campaign Season: Known for spectacular promotions, Madison Heights, Michigan-based Motovicity Distribution has announced its latest campaign, and it’s a humdinger. Featuring a grand prize LS3 engine custom built by Duttweiler Performance and presented by ARP Fasteners, Motovicity’s 2016 Engines of Change B2B promotion was officially launched last month and continues through April 29. It includes 12 weeks of discounted pricing on a host of performance parts from participating manufacturers AEM Electronics, ARP, DEI, Flowmaster, Kooks Headers & Exhaust, Royal Purple, Sparco and many others.

In fact, a special 26-page insert distributed with the February 2016 issue of this publication contains a breakdown of the savings schedule, along with fascinating detail on some of the most significant and sought-after engines in the performance aftermarket, including the Nissan RB26DETT, the Honda B16A and, of course, the GM LS1.

Motovicity customers earn a grand prize entry for every $100 spent on featured brands during their designated promotional periods. Existing customers can view full contest rules by accessing their accounts at www.motovicity.com. Prospective customers are encouraged to call 888/SPEED-16 (888/773-3316).

About the Author
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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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