PRI Urges Support for RPM Act to Protect Race Industry

PRI Interview

In an interview with PFI Speed, PRI President Dr. Jamie Meyer discusses EPA fines and the threats to small businesses and the race industry while urging support of the RPM act to counter the threat.

Since it’s inception, the RPM Act has been aimed at supporting and advocating for the amateur racing industry — from drivers to manufacturers, particularly when it comes to what organizations like SEMA and PRI consider government overreach.  Currently, PRI is claiming that the EPA is targeting race parts manufacturers in particular for violating the clean air act. The manufacturers’ defense is that they are making parts to be used exclusively for cars intended for the track, not street vehicles.

“There are thousands of legitimate motorsports businesses that are at risk of EPA overreach,” said Dr. Jamie Meyer, Performance Racing Industry (PRI) President. “The EPA is putting these businesses—which are typically small, home grown, less sophisticated shops—in situations where they have to take on the full might of the federal government. The EPA is doing nothing to validate its enforcement efforts, and these small businesses are left with little choice but to comply.”

PRI shared a video from its road trip this past winter, an interview with PFI Speed shop owner Brent Leivestad, who was fined $18,000 by the EPA with a threat of escalation to $180,000 if the shop failed to comply within 30 days, for selling 37 Hondata S300 modules. The interview details the circumstances in which Leivestad, who complied with the initial EPA request to share company sales details, was hit with the penalty for violating the Clean Air Act.

“I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t even believe it,” said Leivestad. “I am a speed shop and sell race parts—I didn’t know that was wrong. I didn’t understand the basis of the EPA’s claim, I didn’t go in front of any trial or talk to anybody from the EPA, and the threat of ‘settle and pay within 30 days or else’ felt like a real shakedown intended to deny my rights.”

The intent behind the EPA’s enforcement is to combat emissions “defeat devices” running on public roads and street legal vehicles, and while there has been a somewhat unspoken directive that race cars should not fall under this legislation (along with an internal EPA memo, according the the New York Times that indicates enforcement of the Act is not intended for “E.P.A.-certified motor vehicles that are converted into a vehicle used solely for competition motorsports.”), PRI and other race advocates claim that the EPA is, instead targeting race manufacturers.  And its true, there is no actual legislation that prevents the small race shop from being fined for making devices intended for race car use that modifies exhausts to defy emissions standards.

This is where SEMA/PRI and the RPM Act come in. According to their recent press release, “To protect the motorsports industry against further EPA overreach, PRI is calling on the racing industry and enthusiasts to unite and urge Congress to pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act. The bipartisan bill will clarify that it is legal to convert street vehicles into dedicated race cars, and that businesses can legally produce, market, and install racing products.”

Additional information about the RPM Act, which was recently introduced in the House of Representatives and is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon, can be found at SaveOurRaceCars.com.  In the meantime, check out the interview with Dr. Meyer and Brent Leivestad.

About Andreanna Ditton 311 Articles
Andreanna Ditton is the Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief for the Internet Brands Automotive Classifieds Group, of which RacingJunk is the flagship site. She has worked in the automotive publishing industry since 2007, focusing on racing and performance issues.

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