Tuesday, July 19, “The King” Richard Petty traveled to the nation’s capital along with SEMA CEO Mike Spagnola to advocate for Congress to pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act). According to SEMA, the bipartisan bill protects Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated racecars and the motorsports parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete.
The RPM Act: Details
The RPM Act reverses the EPA’s interpretation that the Clean Air Act does not allow a motor vehicle designed for street use, be it a car, truck, or motorcycle, to be converted into a dedicated racecar. In 2015 the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they are no longer driven on public streets or highways.
Like most NASCAR drivers, Petty competed in racecars that started as street-legal vehicles. But, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the position that such modified race vehicles are not legal under the Clean Air Act. This threatens many racing classes, along with an industry that employs tens of thousands of Americans and contributes more than $2 billion to the U.S. economy each year.
Petty and Spagnola sat down with key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to advocate for the interests of racers, enthusiasts, builders, tracks, sanctioning organizations, and businesses. They also looked to gain more robust congressional support to protect one of America’s oldest pastimes and hobbies. In an effort to curtail the EPA’s overreaching and extreme enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Petty and Spagnola appeared to push for passage of the RPM Act, which now awaits committee action in the House of Representatives and Senate. Petty and Spagnola were optimistic about their meetings with crucial RPM Act supporters in Congress.