driving force online march 2018 issue 2


Georgia Congressman Takes the Wheel

U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop Named Co-Chair of Motorsports Caucus

Like many Congressman, U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA) has been bestowed with many honors and titles during his lifetime. Amongst them are husband, father, grandfather, Eagle Scout, soldier, Mason, Shriner, cancer survivor and black belt, just to name a few. Recently, Congressman Bishop added another title to his collection—co-chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.

Formed in 1996 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American automobile, the bipartisan Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus pays tribute to America's ever-growing love affair with the automobile and motorsports. After serving for more than 20 years as a founding co-chair of the caucus, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) decided it was time to hand over the keys to a new leader, and Rep. Bishop was anxious to take the wheel. He will join U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Jon Tester (D-MT) as caucus co-chairs.

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Ron Uemura's "Banana Gold II" Camaro awaits on the trailer to take another pass down a Hawaiian drag strip.

 In a region known globally for its surfing activity, Hawaii's automotive community has been given reason to make waves—specifically fans of motorsports. Resolutions were offered in the state earlier this year for the construction of a new race track facility on the island of Oahu. If approved, the creation of a race track on the island will be mandated, providing a safe gathering place for the local racers and racing enthusiasts. The effort recognizes the rich tradition of racing on the island, with Oahu drag racing dating back to the '50s. The resolutions are currently awaiting to be considered in their respective committees.

Inspired by the news, Honolulu's Leigh Hamasaki was among those who recently reached out to lawmakers. "Oahu has the largest population in the state, and for over eleven years, we have been the only island without a racing facility," she stated. A feeling of unrest has been caused by the void felt in the region. "I recognize our racing community is divided, and after over ten years of waiting and hoping and hanging on every little morsel of hope, you can't blame our people for being jaded. I don't know what the answer is, but I believe if you lead us in the right direction, and tell us what we need to accomplish as a community to get this done, we can come together to achieve this."

Like many fellow residents, Leigh's connection to the issue is personal. In fact, a deep-rooted passion for motorsports has become a family legacy. Hamasaki's explains that her dad, Ron Uemura, was a mechanic by trade but a racer by blood. "He started fixing other people's vehicles and buying parts for other people's cars just so that he had the money to get his own race car running on the weekend. From this, he was able to build a successful business that has fueled countless memories for families and friends at the racetrack." With the prospect of a new facility on Oahu, she is hoping to hand this rich tradition down to the generations that will follow. Notably, Ron's Performance celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2017.

To those like Leigh who have spoken up for the cause in the Aloha State, a huge "Mahalo!" is offered for your involvement.



Stay Up-to-Date on the RPM Act: Get the latest information on the motorsports bill at www.sema.org/epa-news.


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