Burr, Manchin Introduce Bill to Protect Amateur Motorsports from Devastating Regulations

October 16, 2019

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced S. 2602, Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which preserves American motorsports by stopping regulatory overreach by the federal government.

American motorsports began with amateur racers converting regular vehicles into racecars, a legacy that continues to this day. In 2015, however, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that would let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fine amateur motorsports enthusiasts for converting their personal vehicles into racecars. The rule ran counter to nearly half a century of Congressional intent under the Clean Air Act. While the EPA removed this problematic language from its final rulemaking, the agency still maintains that vehicle modification for motorsports is unlawful.

“American racing runs on traditions,” said Senator Burr. “For more than 50 years, motorsports enthusiasts have purchased cars and modified them to race, off of public roads. However, this tradition was threatened when the Obama EPA attempted to make these modifications illegal. This legislation upholds Congress’ intent of the Clean Air Act and protects motorsports, for professionals and amateurs alike, for years to come. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation, and I look forward to seeing it move through the Senate.”

“A big part of the fun of motorsports is the tradition of modifying regular cars into racecars,” said Senator Manchin. “This legislation upholds amendments to the Clean Air Act that exempt modified vehicles and racecars from certain environmental regulations, protecting motorsports for years to come. I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan bill and look forward to the boost it will give to motorsports.”


In 1965, Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act, which defined the term “motor vehicle” as “any self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons or property on a street or highway.” In 1970, Congress clarified that the Clean Air Act’s anti-tampering provision does not apply to vehicles manufactured or modified for racing.

Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990 to again exclude vehicles used solely for competition from the definition of “non-road vehicle,” or a vehicle that is powered by a non-road engine and that is not a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition.  This clarification was instructive as it separates “vehicles used solely for competition” from “motor vehicles.”

After examining the legislative history, it is clear that Congress never intended to provide the EPA with the authority to regulate vehicles used solely for competition, including vehicles modified to be used exclusively for racing.

The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act simply reaffirms Congress position and further protects amateur motorsports from devastating regulations in the future.

S. 2602 has 24 cosponsors in the Senate, including Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Boozman (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).

Senator Burr introduced similar legislation last Congress.

Organizations supporting the bill include:

  • American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)
  • Auto Care Association (Auto Care)
  • Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA)
  • California Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA)
  • Harley-Davidson Motor Company
  • International Hot Rod Association (IHRA)
  • LKQ Corporation (LKQ Corp)
  • Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA)
  • Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC)
  • Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF)
  • National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
  • North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA)
  • Off-Road Business Association (ORBA)
  • Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades (SSDA-AT)
  • Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
  • Tire Industry Association (TIA)