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SEMA Takes Action to Curtail

Racers Against Street Racing (RASR) Launches Teen Education Program
About Legal Alternatives to Hazardous Street-Racing Practices

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (May 22, 2003) -- Racers Against Street Racing (RASR), a grass-roots enthusiast group that promotes legal alternatives to illegal street racing, will take its program to driver education classrooms throughout the country.

"Young drivers today are surrounded by media messages that depict street racing as glamorous and OK," said Christopher J. Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, which administers RASR. He noted that it's a rare day when there isn't news about the unfortunate results of a street-racing incident in this country.

"We want to get a head-start on educating new drivers about the dangers of street racing and aggressive driving stunts that put them, and others, at risk of serious injury and death," Kersting said. "SEMA is delighted that new drivers are embracing the opportunity to improve the performance and appearances of their vehicles. RASR is launching this program so that enthusiasts will take their racing activities to organized events at racetracks."

The RASR program, currently being tested in driver ed classrooms, consists of a curriculum and video. It addresses the realities of street racing, informs the students about local street-racing laws, and provides information about local legal alternatives. The classroom lesson is augmented with a graphic videotape produced for the MTV show "Flipped." Several members of RASR who compete in professional drag-racing competitions nationally are featured in the TV show.

The RASR program says "It's all about time slips. You can brag that your car will go a quarter-mile in ten seconds, but you can't prove that boast without an official time slip from a racetrack. That's your real proof."

Around the country, local racetracks are offering "street legal racing night" programs to young drivers who want to race their cars and come away with the proof of their vehicle's performance and their driving proficiency. In Irwindale, Calif., the local police are involved to the extent that they are giving "tickets" to go race at the Irwindale Speedway at no charge.

Other venues with programs for enthusiasts include Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (Englishtown), N.J., Firebird International Raceway (Phoenix), San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, and Interstate Dragway, Moorhead, Minn.

Besides the racing opportunity, some racetracks add other lifestyle attractions to their street-legal race events. These include car shows, climbing walls, live music performances and foam play pits.

Gregg Guenthard, RASR's director, said, "You don't have to be a champion racer like John Force or Stephan Papadakis to be a winner at the motorsports track. You can get your adrenalin rush with your own daily driver car. These tracks provide a controlled environment for the drivers and their vehicles."

Several corporate members of SEMA's Sport Compact Council are financial sponsors of the outreach program to their young customers and customer-prospects.

Founding sponsors include North American Honda,
Motorsports Direct,
Polk Audio
, and industry sponsors include
Advanced Clutch Technology,
APC (American Products Company),
Pep Boys,
RELCO/Reliable Automotive
SEMA, whose Sports Compact Council houses the RASR program, is also a founding sponsor.

The spokespeople for RASR include professional drag racers Ed Bergenholtz, JoJo Callos, Abel Ibarra, Lisa Kubo, Len Monserrat, Craig Paisley, Stephan Papadakis, Angela Proudfoot, and Chris Rado.

RASR, Racers Against Street Racing, became a SEMA activity in fall 2002.

RASR is taking its program to educate young drivers about legal alternatives to illegal street racing.

Racetracks across the country have opened their facilities to young drag racers, offering an alternative to the dangers of illegal street racing.

SEMA represents the $27 billion specialty automotive industry. Founded in 1963, the trade association has more than 4,500 member companies. It is the authoritative source of research data, trends and market growth information for automakers and the specialty auto products industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger cars, minivans, trucks, SUVs and recreational vehicles.

For more information, contact
1575 S. Valley Vista Dr.
 Diamond Bar, CA, 91765-3914
call 909 396-0289
or visit www.SEMA.org , www.EnjoyTheDrive.com  and  www.RASR.info

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