Editorial

Part 2: NASCAR/ISC out to destroy open wheel racing?
 
by Mark Cipolloni

 May 31, 2006

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In Part 1 of this article "NASCAR/ISC gets dirty in Phoenix, out to destroy open wheel racing?," I mentioned that the France family through ISC and NASCAR, are going to try and push through legislation in Arizona to ban racing on city streets.  If passed in Arizona they may try to outlaw street racing in other states using Arizona as a precedent.

This is how they're trying to control motorsport in the US - by banning all street racing. It will force everyone to their tracks and their monopoly.

It is quite likely that the France family is deadly scared  that if street racing takes off in America they can't control it because they don't own the tracks.  This will destroy their goal of monopolizing racing in the USA, hence why they are fighting it so hard in Phoenix.  When open wheel races on their tracks the races always fade away and die from lack of promotion.  It's done quietly and without much fanfare. Every open wheel oval race that used to be successful has faded and died once ISC owned the tracks and brought NASCAR to the forefront.  The list is long, the pattern is evident.

And this is not just an attack on Champ Car.  The IRL is also doing street races.  They already race on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL and are trying to add races in San Antonio, Texas and Montreal.  So in reality this is an attack on both the IRL and Champ Car long-term.

AutoRacing1.com has obtained a copy of the wording of the legislation that will be processed tomorrow - an amendment to an existing bill moving through the legislature with the following wording.
“A. A CITY OR TOWN SHALL NOT SPONSOR OR ALLOW TO BE HELD WITHIN THE CITY OR TOWN A MOTOR VEHICLE COMPETITION OUTSIDE OF A CLOSED-COURSE MOTOR SPORT FACILITY AT WHICH THE SOUND LEVEL EXCEEDS NINETY DECIBELS AT ANY TIME.

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, “CLOSED-COURSE MOTOR SPORT FACILITY” AND “MOTOR VEHICLE” HAVE THE SAME MEANINGS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 12-556

The legislation then repeats for Counties with the same language.

The language in 12-556 is:

1. "Closed-course motor sport facility" means a closed-course speedway or racetrack that is designed and intended for motor vehicle competition, exhibitions of speed or other forms of recreation involving the use of motor vehicles.

2. "Motor vehicle" means an automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle that is propelled by power, other than muscular power, that is used to transport persons and that operates within the confines of a closed-course motor sport track.

For the edification of those not familiar with noise levels the following are examples:

How Loud Is Too Loud?
110 Decibels — Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss.
100 Decibels — No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended.
90 Decibels — Prolonged exposure to any noise above 90 dB can cause gradual hearing loss.
Are you hurting your hearing?
140 Decibels — Rock concerts, firecrackers
120 Decibels — Boom cars: Snowmobiles
110 Decibels — Chainsaws
100 Decibels — Wood shop
90 Decibels — lawn mower: motorcycle
80 Decibels — City traffic
60 Decibels — Normal conversation
40 Decibels — Refrigerator humming
20 Decibels — Whispered voice
0 Decibel — Threshold of normal hearing

The definition for motor vehicle may not apply to Champ Cars since they are street racers not closed course racers. Or the Phoenix track may fit the definition of “closed-course motor sport.”

If the definitions do include Champ Car racing this amendment may also prohibit motorcross races and tractor pulls at the state fair. Any racing at Chase Field or the new Cardinal Stadium or Sun Devil Stadium would also be prohibited as well as the Fiesta Bowl Parade. This amendment is very bad.

Not able to successfully race on oval tracks in the USA for reasons mentioned above, Champ Car has had to resort to street and road course racing to carve out its niche.  Now the France family is trying to take that away too.

It will be interesting to see what action Kevin Kalkhoven and the Phoenix race promoters take to try and stop this legislation from passing.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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