SPEED SPORT's Ralph Sheheen (left) with Patrick McHenry (center) and SRI Performance's Greg Fornelli.
SPEED SPORT's Ralph Sheheen (left) with Patrick McHenry (center) and SRI Performance's Greg Fornelli.

SHEHEEN: Keep The Pressure On Congress

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Patrick McHenry, a U.S. representative from North Carolina, is working hard for racers. He is one of the key figures in Washington, D.C., trying to push the RPM Act through Congress. 

We recently visited with him at SRI Performance here in Race City USA.

McHenry says the key to getting the legislation passed this time around is the racing community. He reports that his fellow representatives have been hearing from the racers, fans and the industry in general. He says the old adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is very true when it comes to Congress. 

“The louder the outcry from their constituents, the more interested politicians are in looking into an issue,” said McHenry. 

It’s easy for the racing community to up the pressure on the folks in D.C. Go to semasan.com, tap on the “Save our Race Cars” logo on the home page and fill out the simple form with your basic information. 

SEMA will automatically send your representative a letter saying you want them to pass the RPM Act. It’s as simple as that.

Unfortunately, there is no timeline for how quickly the RPM Act could get passed. McHenry says it could take two weeks or seven years. However, if the RPM Act passes, it will become law and the ability to convert production vehicles into race cars will be saved. 

– The recent Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen saw a who’s-who gathering in the paddock at the scenic upstate New York road course. Not only with star drivers, but Jim France, Mike Helton, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Rahal and Chip Ganassi were among those in attendance. Even with other major motorsports series in action, they were all in Watkins Glen for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Yes, Rahal and Ganassi own teams in the series and France owns IMSA.

However, in talking with IMSA President John Doonan he is excited about the motorsports powerbrokers who are paying closer attention to his series these days. There is a real buzz in the IMSA paddock about the changes coming to the GT categories and the new LMDh program.

We had the chance to speak with numerous folks deeply connected to sports car racing and their feelings are that we could see as many as seven manufacturers on the grid for the LMDh class grid in the WeatherTech Championship. 

Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche have all announced they will compete in the new LMDh series. We hear it’s inevitable that GM will field a car, probably under the Cadillac brand. We are also told Ferrari is very interested in competing. 

– Congratulations to Ray Evernham, Tony Stewart and their team for an outstanding debut season of the Superstar Racing Experience. Was it perfect? No. Nobody expected it to be. However, the on-track competition was very entertaining. The SRX folks tried lots of new ideas. Some worked and some didn’t, and they have plenty of data to work with as they plan season two. 

We would strongly encourage SRX to keep the line open between the TV booth and some of the drivers during green-flag racing. Tony Stewart’s live description during the Eldora race of how he was setting up a pass was tremendous television.

– Danny Thompson is heading back to the Bonneville Salt Flats. This time, he is in search of a record for a B/Fuel Streamliner. The current class record is held by Ferguson Racing at 349.939 mph. 

Thompson will drive the record-setting Ferguson machine, hoping to push past the 350 mph mark.

– For fans of land-speed racing, we have three new books to tell you about.

The first is from Barry John, who has had a lifelong passion for the flat-out genre of motorsports. His hardcover book “Quest For Speed” is beautifully illustrated and full of interesting behind-the-scenes insight.

Record-breaking speed demons such as Mickey Thompson, Craig Breed­love, Stan Barrett and Sir Malcolm Campbell are a few of the legends covered in the book. “Quest For Speed” is published by Evro Publishing. Order it from sales@quarto.com. 

“Landspeed” Louise Ann Noeth is also passionate about Bonneville. She has cranked out two books about the sport in the last two years.

First was last year’s “Bonneville Salt Flats.” This book features captivating photos from as far back as the inaugural 1914 event, along with interesting stories that provide inside knowledge of this intoxicating event.

This year, Noeth released “Bonneville’s Women of Land Speed Racing.” Women have a long and successful history on the salt. Kitty O’Neil is in the record books as the world’s fastest women at more than 500 mph.

Both of Noeth’s books can be purchased through Arcadia Publishing at arcadiapublishing.com. 

– Congrats and thank you to my good friend and our esteemed editor Mike Kerchner on a special anniversary. For 30 years Mike has been making sure our punctuation is correct and our facts are straight. He has done a remarkable job and is the main reason SPEED SPORT continues to be America’s Motorsports Authority. As Chris Economaki would have said, take a bow Mike!

error: Content is protected !!