As Dominion Raceway (VA) begins to embark on their second season of competition, a rule in the UCAR rulebook has ruffled feathers of drivers in the division.
The UCAR division which Dominion calls the “U Can Afford to Race” division has an interesting rule inside of its rulebook, known as the “claim rule.”
This rule directly states that, “A UCAR team running in the top five (points) at the conclusion of the scheduled race may claim another team’s car also running in the top five (points) at the conclusion of the race with payment of $3,500.00 in cash for the complete car, less driver’s seat, restraint harness, fire extinguisher and radio.”
The rule goes on to read, “If the owner refuses to sell the car to the claimant, the car will be suspended for the remainder of the season/year, NASCAR will be notified and the team and driver will lose ALL track points, purse payment and prize/point fund monies.”
This has many within the division bothered and has left some drivers wondering what is to stop this from snowballing into a constant claim/re-claim of cars. Those drivers are worried that all their time and effort will be for naught if someone else claims their car late in the season.
Defending UCAR division champion Ryan Pritt says there are both pros and cons to the rule.
“I think [the rule] will hurt the car count,” he said. “The biggest thing is what if someone just claims the car for the hell of it because they can’t beat them. In the middle of the season running for the championship and if you say no that car can’t run the rest of the season just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Pritt also went on to acknowledge the one pro he sees to the rule.
“The only pro that it will have is to keep people from spending thousands of dollars on a UCAR.”
Pritt also believes that he could be swayed to race at another track due to the rule, saying “It doesn’t make me want to run, being the defending champ someone can’t claim my car the first race and I say, ‘no I’m done for the year’ unless you have a second car and they claim that one the next race.”
Pritt also acknowledged that the rule puts him in a hard spot, with sponsors already lined up for his UCAR.
“It is a lose-lose spot I’m in. I have sponsors that have already committed to me this year to run at Dominion.”
Head Official at Dominion, Chris Stefi offered up some words on the rule.
“I want to keep the costs down, this is supposed to be the ‘U Can Afford to Race’ division. That is what the whole division is about and it’s getting out of hand. We need to keep the costs down.”
Stefi went on to say, “I don’t know how else to keep the costs down, the motors are supposed to be stock motors but everybody knows that every motor has been gone through. Our tech guys, I think do a great job trying to catch them but it not like a Late Model where you have one set of rules. There are so many different cars, but it’s supposed to be stock and this is our way of trying to keep the cost down and not spending $10,000 on a UCAR.”
Stefi did admit that he’s considering adding wording to the rule that would allow the track to refute the claim in the case that the rule is being abused.
“If I think someone is just doing it out of spite, I will just refuse the claim,” he explained. “If somebody is out there just stinking up the field, their car deserves to be claimed. The intent of the rule is to keep costs down and prevent people from spending $5,000-10,000 on a UCAR, you should be able to get an old Chevrolet Cavalier, strip it out, put a cage in and go race.”
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 photo