After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Performance Racing Industry Show returns to the Indianapolis Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 9-11 with a renewed challenge.
In addition to the business-to-business networking that is the show’s lifeblood, the 33rd annual trade show will be a rallying point, as for the first time PRI will strive to sell memberships to raise funds toward its advocacy and lobbying efforts on behalf of the motorsports industry.
The initiative brings with it big changes. This year’s trade-only show — which is on track to have more than 1,000 exhibitors and more attendees than it’s had in several pre-COVID years — will be the last one where admission will be free to people involved in the racing trade, business or manufacturing, race teams, racing entrepreneurs, and other racing professionals.
Starting with next year’s show on Dec. 8-10, 2022, an attendee will have to pay a minimum of $40 annually to become a PRI member in order to attend the show. Higher membership categories range from $250 to $2,500 per year for individuals and $295 to $995 annually for businesses.
Each category of membership has additional benefits that increase with the price. Fans as well as racers can become PRI members.
Business members can receive a significant discount on their booth space at the show. They will also gain access to the PRI legal support hotline, legal counsel best practices, enhanced PRI Education offerings, industry research reports and other benefits.
Charging people for what they used to get for free is difficult, but the management of PRI believes the motorsports industry will support it due to the very real problems some racers have already experienced.
“It’s more about the membership than admission to a trade show,” emphasized Dr. Jamie Meyer, president of PRI. “We’re in the middle of a big fight on Capitol Hill. We need numbers of people and voters and we need money for lobbyists. PRI needs to bring racers together to fight all measures that threaten the existence of the sport.”
PRI contends that Congress never intended for the Clean Air Act of 1970 to apply to motor vehicles modified for competition-use only. However, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains that the CAA requires converted vehicles driven exclusively on the track to remain emissions compliant.
In early September the EPA issued a fine against PFI Speed, a small speed shop in Fort Lupton, Colo., for selling 37 Hondata S300s over a two-year span. The shop owner was fined $18,000, which could increase to as much as $180,000 if not paid within 30 days.
Thanks in large part to PRI’s previous efforts, there is a bill currently being studied by members of Congress called the RPM Act, which stands for Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021. Passage of this act into law is a key priority of PRI and its members.
“The RPM Act must be passed into law to provide the racing community with certainty and confidence in the face of EPA threats,” Dr. Meyer said. “Without the RPM Act, businesses will shut down and the entire motorsports community will be severely impacted. It’s time for the motorsports community to push back and protect our racing rights.”
PRI is owned by the Specialty Equipment Market Ass’n and the two groups share a lobbying office in Washington, D.C.
“The Washington office has about a dozen full-time employees, and then multiple law firms that are under retainer,” Dr. Meyer explained. “Some days even that isn’t enough. We need to get the RPM Act made into law to ensure a future for racing.”
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