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We Win! EPA Drops Racecar Ban!

Grassroots opposition and Congressional support stalls the EPA potential ban street to racecar conversions.

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Due to overwhelming pressure against the EPA we’ve won, at least this round. The EPA has dropped a paragraph from their newly-proposed auto emissions regulations that SEMA, and racers, said would make it against the law to modify the pollution controls on street legal cars in order to convert them into racecars.

The anti-racecar language was included in a rules package aimed at the regulation of heavy and medium duty trucks and read:

“Certified motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines and their emission control devices must remain in their certified configuration even if they are used solely for competition or if they become non-road vehicles or engines.”

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which represents the automotive aftermarket parts industry, raised the issue with its members and the racing community in February. Over 160,000 people asked the White House, via petition, to ditch the poorly worded proposal. That, along with a bipartisan, though mainly Republican-supported, bill called the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act) was introduced in Congress that would protect racers by specifically permitting street to racecar conversions, pressured the EPA to drop the vague paragraph.

Earlier this month, the House Oversight Committee was briefed on the topic by the EPA, which followed up on Friday by announcing that it was dropping the section from the proposal.

The agency wrote to the Committee that it “EPA’s focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don’t play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads.”

SEMA, however, is not satisfied with the change. It says the EPA is attempting to “assert new-found authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate modification of vehicles for use in competition,” and continues to urge it supporters to write their Senators and Representatives to press for passage of the RPM Act or similar clarifying legislation.

So SEMA will continue the fight, but for now at least we can chalk this up as a win against overreaching government regulations.

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