(CN) — World Racing Group owes pro racecar drivers millions for ruining their reputations by falsely finding that they violated weight and tire requirements, the drivers claim in federal court.
Scott Bloomquist and four other pro racecar drivers, along with team owners R & W Motorsports LLC, Best Performance Motorsports LLC, JR Motorsports LLC, Gary Satterlee and William G. Satterlee & Sons Inc., sued racetrack owner World Racing Group Inc. and its subsidiary, UMP DIRTcar Racing; and Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and its owner, Tony Stewart, in Northern New York’s federal court Wednesday.
Bloomquist says he won the Late Model Dream race, produced by World Racing Group through UMP, at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, in June 2015.
But after the win, Bloomquist was informed that his car weighed in 21 pounds under the mandatory minimum weight of 2,300 pounds, which was less than one percent short, the 16-page complaint says.
A second weighing allegedly also showed the car was too light — but by a different amount.
The driver who came in second thus won the $100,000 cash prize, while Bloomquist got a mere two grand, the complaint states.
“Bloomquist attempted to appeal the finding to [World Racing Group] WRG officials and was told the finding was not appealable,” though he was sure the scale was wrong, according to the complaint.
The next month, the Ohio Department of Agriculture found that the scale was “out of tolerance,” indicating weights 15 to 61 pounds too light in six tests, the lawsuit states.
The scales, which Eldora had replaced just before the race, allegedly indicated errors of 37 to 61 pounds, state inspectors found.
“Had Eldora Speedway maintained their scales in good working order, Mr. Bloomquist would have met the required minimum weight,” Bloomquist argues in his complaint.
Bloomquist and fellow driver-plaintiffs Jimmy Owens, Gregg Satterlee, Brandon Sheppard, and Ricky Thornton Jr. were also disqualified from this year’s preliminary race.
In addition, after Bloomquist finished second, a rubber sample taken from one of his tires reportedly did not match the manufacturer’s benchmark, he claims.
The test was meant to uncover any prohibited chemical alterations, vulcanizing or softening of the tire, but it did not reveal the presence of any foreign substance, Bloomquist says.
“The lab representative was unable to state any familiarity with the operation of race tires on racecars, specifically, she [was] not aware of what temperature the tires operate at during racing,” the complaint states.
Bloomquist says “two tests done on samples from the same tire did not match each other.”
After he was disqualified, the same lab reported that his sample matched the benchmark after all, the lawsuit says.
“Bloomquist was deprived of cash winnings, fines, and as a result of the suspension levied by WRG, is deprived of the opportunity to race for three months impacting his ability to earn a living,” he claims. “Further, his reputation, as a sports celebrity, has been damaged, which impacts his ability to market himself to fans and potential sponsors.”
The other drivers assert similar claims regarding their disqualifications.
All told, the 13-count complaint seeks $16 and a half million in damages from the defendants.
The plaintiffs are represented by K.J. McGuire Jr. in Troy, N.Y.
The defendants did not return requests for comment Friday.
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