When Dominion Raceway (VA) released its rules for the 2017 racing season, what was outlined for the UCAR division caused quite a stir. Dominion Raceway issued a rule that said any driver could put in a claim for another driver’s car at any point during the racing season.
Speed51.com spoke with Chris Stefi, the head official at Dominion Raceway, as well as drivers in the popular “U Can Afford to Race” class about the claim rule in an article published last week. That article can be found here.
Over the course of the past weekend, Dominion Raceway issued an update to their claim rule. Stefi said that he and the track felt a change to the rule was necessary to keep drivers from claiming their competitor’s cars for malicious reasons.
“We thought we had some tweaking to do to the rule,” said Stefi. “I don’t want it to be a thing people do out of spite. If we have ten cars all running together there should never be a car claimed I would think. If everyone is out there running together, it should be fun and be good. If we have one guy stinking up the show that car will probably be claimed and needs to be claimed. We are trying to make sure people don’t get carried away and get mad and steal a car away from someone out of spite and keep it about what it should be about, keeping the costs down and making the racing better.”
The new Dominion Raceway claim rule reads as follows:
16.1a The Claim Rule will not be in effect for the last five (5) of the scheduled races per the race schedule in effect at the time. Weather impacts will have no effect – refer to published scheduled races. In 2017, for example, the claim rule will not be in effect for all races on or after August 19th, 2017.
16.1b In each yearly race season a car can be claimed only twice during the claim period.
16.1c The Race Director at his/her sole discretion may deny a claim request during the claim period if the request is the result of an on-track incident or some other non-competition event.
16.1d The intent of the claim rule is to ensure an affordable division and equal competition and may be revised with notice.
Previously, there had been no limit on how many times a driver could claim a car, nor had there been a provision to allow Dominion officials to deny a claim request. There had also been no notice of the claim rule not being in effect for the final five races.
One driver in particular that was very outspoken about the rule was 2016 UCAR champion Ryan Pritt. Pritt said he spoke with Stefi at Dominion Raceway’s banquet and feels better about the claim rule, but he said he still has some reservations.
“Honestly, I don’t know what they could do besides doing away with it,” Pritt said. “A rule that was in the book last year that they never used was that the winning car had to start in the rear the following week. I had to come from the rear one week because of transponder issues and I made it up to third. I do like the fact that no one can claim in the last five races if I read the rule right.”
Another driver who wished to not be named said he too still has issues with the rule because it would be the entire car that gets claimed, including his wheels and tires.
“If my car gets claimed I lose my wheels, and my tires, then I have to go out and buy new wheels and tires. I feel that if a car gets claimed then I feel we should be able to keep our wheels and tires. The racing wheels are 68 dollars per wheel.”
Stefi said that Dominion Raceway is open to conversation about the rule and is open to more changes if they are needed to ensure that nobody tries to claim another driver’s car out of spite.
“People go out and race hard, a bunch of guys running together, why do you need someone to claim a car? We don’t want it to come down to the end of the season and have someone steal a championship by claiming a car so we added that in. If it needs to be adjusted again we will adjust it.”
The coming season should be an exciting one in the “U Can Afford to Race” division, if not for the on-track racing, the drama surrounding the claim rule post-race should provide excitement. The only question is whether it will provide positive or negative excitement.
The “U Can Afford to Race” division season kicks off at Dominion on April 8.
-By Reese Nobles, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent – Twitter: @RNoblesSpeed51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com