When NHRA drivers arrive at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., the Minnesota State Patrol, along with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, will be waiting for them.
The State Patrol and Department of Transportation are conducting a commercial vehicle inspection saturation Aug. 15-16 in the Brainerd area in conjunction with Brainerd International Raceway’s annual NHRA national event. The focus of the saturation will be compliance to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations by the racing industry.
“Many individuals involved in the racing industry may not be aware of the fact, that depending on their circumstances, they may be required to follow federal guidelines related to driver, vehicle and safety equipment,” said State Patrol Lt. Tom Nelson in a story published Thursday on the brainerddispatch.com website. “The intent of the saturation is to educate these individuals on these issues to ensure safe travel for all motorists on Minnesota’s roadways.”
Josh Peterson, NHRA’s vice president of racing administration, addressed Brainerd’s pending commercial vehicle saturation with Competition Plus.com.
“It is no different than any other situation,” Peterson said. “The DOT (Department of Transportation) has the right to do that anywhere or on any route leading into a facility. I have to say I applaud them for at least putting out this notice and giving us the opportunity to communicate this to the racers which we did (Wednesday) as a courtesy so they could be aware of this inspection that is going to be happen.
“What we gather is that it is purely an educational deal to help inform the racers of any issues that they may be out of compliance on. I would hope and we would hope the state would work with the competitors to make sure they are in compliance and help them through that process and try not to give competitors a hard time. They recognize and we recognize that the (NHRA) event is an important asset to that area.”
Peterson said he sent an email Wednesday night to all registered competitors who were on the entry list for Brainerd’s national event as of Wednesday night.
“Typically, what I do in these situations is I do a follow up after Monday when the entry list closes to make sure everybody has been covered.”
Peterson doesn’t believe Brainerd’s planned commercial vehicle saturation is going to cause any problems for NHRA’s competitors.
“We are not aware of any major issues where any of our teams from Pro all the way down to Sportsman are out of compliance with anything in the state of Minnesota,” Peterson said. “For us to try and dictate to the state if they should or shouldn’t be doing this might actually cause more harm down the road. It is strictly up to the DOT (Department of Transportation) when they want to perform these inspections. They could very well elect to do it on Sunday night (Aug. 19) when everybody is heading home and not even tell us about it. Most all of the teams should be in compliance and probably are in compliance. Hopefully, there will be no issues. For those who may have an issue here (in Brainerd) hopefully they will educate them so they will have no issues down the road when there isn’t an announcement of an inspection like this. This very could be a national trend that’s happening and it is impacting everybody including us. They (Minnesota) gave us notice and I would hope other states would do the same, and they
recognize the economic impact of each and every one of our competitors, spectators and sponsors in that particular area.”
Despite Peterson's comments, the planned commercial vehicle saturation isn’t sitting well with some NHRA drivers/owners.
Terry McMillen, a Top Fuel driver/owner, is one of many drag racers unhappy with the upcoming commercial vehicle inspection saturation.
“As far as complying, I have nothing to worry about,” McMillen said. “Our stuff is all compliant. The question I have is, why are they singling out the racing industry? That’s what I do not understand. If you are going to do this saturation do it another way. All they are doing is telling the racers and the fans that they do not want us there. They do not want anybody there. To sit there and single out the racing industry and physically put it in the newspaper that they singling out the racing industry just truly seems unethical to me. I’m sure if they are going to pull you over, they are not going to write you a warning ticket and say do not do this again because they want to make money off of it.”
Sportsman racer Dan Fletcher was more critical than McMillen about the issue.
“Frankly, it is an undo harassment,” Fletcher said. “It is deplorable. Here we are pouring millions of dollars into their state and into their communities by supporting their restaurants and hotels and buying fuel and what have you, and they are going to take that as an opportunity to set up camp right outside the race track, the way I read it, and basically try and extract more revenue from the downtrodden racer. If all this is, is an educational exercise, then that is OK. Call me cynical, but I’m pretty much thinking they are probably going to write some tickets.”
Pro Stock racer Larry Morgan is fed up with what he believes has been undue harassment and says he’s beyond disappointed the NHRA hasn’t attempted to stand up for the racers. He believes the time has come for the racers to send a clear message to these states they don’t have to race there.
“For NHRA not to give a s*** is a crock of s***,” Morgan said. “What I think we should do is I think we should not even go to the frickin’ state to have a race. You know what I think we should do is go there and not race. We should have a little car show and see how they like that s***. They [the state governments] do not care about the racer. The sanctioning body does not give a s*** either, that’s the bottom line.”
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.
|< Prev||Next >|