Table of Contents DRO Store Classifieds Speed Connections Archives & Search Contact DRO

What next?

Now the DOT is messing with racers


had a different article ready to send to Jeff for this month but I deleted it after I made about 7 phone calls that pertained to a situation that a friend of mine went through. What I am about to write about could possibly affect EVERY RACER who races for a cash purse or deducts the expenses and show the incomes they get from racing.

I will start by telling you a short story that involves a good friend and a guy who wouldn’t have the “attitude” that might cause a Department of Transportation enforcement officer to be an ass. If anything, I would say this racer would probably accommodate the officer and ask what he needed to be doing differently. The next series of events came about as close to leaving me speechless as the “contingency thing."

Here is this racer towing down the highway minding his own business with his standard cab Dodge dually and 30’ fifth-wheel enclosed trailer with a dragster inside. The lights come on behind him and he pulls over. Not sure why he is pulled over he just sits and waits, as an excuse isn’t needed. The DOT Enforcement Officer is polite enough and asks for his driver’s license and registration. No big deal so far. A few minutes later he asks for the trailer registration (no problem, got that), a driver’s logbook (uh-oh!), a medical card and the commercial registration for the truck (double uh-oh!). About now he asks why all that stuff is needed. The response is the part that scares me and should scare you as well.

Before I go into some more details…check this part out. Since this racer had no logbook (do any of us?) the DOT Officer informs him he had to park the trailer for 10 hours since there is no way he can be sure this racer has driven more than the allowed 14 hours that day.
He told the racer to follow him to the DOT scale area and that he had to park the trailer, unhook and leave the area!!! Let’s see, no insurance on the racecar and parts, no security to keep an eye on it and the DOT told him they are not responsible. You cannot stay there to protect it. How often would you leave your race trailer, race car and tools sitting at a weigh station for 10 hours and you not be there? That bothers me more than meeting the requirements. What do you think?

The DOT officer then goes into the whole deal about commercial businesses and what determines them from a hobby, etc, etc. Bottom line, towing your race car to the races where you race for cash is now determined to be a commercial enterprise. This occurred in Wisconsin and I thought it might be a strange law there. I called the Iowa DOT and they explained it the same way. If you weigh over 10,000 pounds (truck, trailer and cargo) you are determined to be a commercial enterprise if you race for money and or deduct your racing expenses from your IRS taxes and show the winnings on a an IRS #1099.

You can call it a hobby and probably lie to the DOT officer about it being a hobby, but if he makes the right calls you'd better not tell him you race for trophies when he finds out where you are going or coming from. The officer I talked to also said if they run into a hassle they have the authority to make arrests, have trailers and trucks towed, etc, etc. In other words, these guys have all the power they need to enforce the law, as they or their superiors understand it.

I also asked this officer if putting on labels such as “Not For Hire” or “Recreational Vehicle” made vehicles exempt. His answer was short, “No." A vehicle is either going to be considered a commercial vehicle or it isn’t.

I am pretty sure most states will be following these same guidelines and at the very least you need to check them out. Each state DOT should have a website or be listed in the State Government Offices in your phone book.

Breaking it down: I received a 65-page document via email from the Iowa DOT that outlined this whole scenario. These are the basics as close as I can get to understanding it all. I do feel it is important for each of you to look into this in your state and be prepared. You may never be checked but then again, YOU MAY BE NEXT!


Copyright 1999-2005, Drag Racing Online and Autographix