Jun 19, 2001
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On Monday at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition Merrill Vanderslice banned former AMA Pro Racing Safety Director Dan Lance from hot pit access at future AMA Pro Racing events and ordered him not to talk to any AMA officials, according to Lance. Six hours prior to post time, Roadracingworld.com contacted AMA Media Relations Contractor Larry Lawrence at Loudon and asked him to comment. Lawrence said he would check on the situation and call back. But at post time, Lawrence had not called back.<BR><BR>Lance, who is currently a representative for Alpina Air Fence, Factory Pro Tuning, Motion Pro, and Braking USA, said that he was told by Vanderslice in the paddock during Monday's rain-delayed race program at Loudon that Lance would no longer be given access to any "hot area" at an AMA race.<BR><BR>Vanderslice is apparently upset over a Letter To The Editor written by Lance and published in the July issue of Roadracing World, which is critical of the delay on the part of AMA Pro Racing in obtaining and deploying Air Fence, along with posts Lance made on the BBS.<BR><BR>In a phone interview with Roadracing World, Lance said "(Vanderslice) told me, ‘You are AMA bashing, and I'm tired of it. From now on, don't expect any hot access; you won't have it. I don't have to work with you, and you can't talk to any AMA officials.' Then he went into a little tirade about me shutting the f—k up, in so many words."<BR><BR>Lance, known for his large, waxed mustache, continued, saying, "He wanted to throw me out then, but he couldn't because I was working for the racetrack and had credentials through them." <BR><BR>In addition to his job as a product and sponsor representative, Lance was working as part of the safety crew at Loudon, the same track where Lance started his 15-year passion as a safety worker for motorsports. In that career, Lance has worked as a safety official with CART, IRL, NASCAR, SCCA, WERA, and most recently with the AMA. "He told me, ‘The AMA makes the man. The man doesn't make the AMA. You would probably not be a recognized person in this industry if it were not for AMA Pro Racing.' If you look at my resume that (working for the AMA) was my last job, not my first job," said Lance.<BR><BR>Lance held his full-time position as the AMA's highest safety official for four days before quitting this Spring. Lance says the fact that the AMA opened his mail, while offensive, wasn't what motivated him to quit. "They had told me that they were going to purchase Air Fence for this season," explained Lance. "They told me that I would have it by Sears Point. Then they said it would possibly happen later this year or next year. I told them that if they couldn't raise the money for Air Fence, that I could and you're not gonna be happy.<BR><BR>"I have no allegiance to the AMA. My only allegiance is to my associates that are the racers, the mechanics, and the men in the industry that work for the sport. I won't be held back for saying the truth. What I do, I do for these guys. I owe it to them. It was when I lost Jamie (Bowman) at Laguna last year. I promised him, as I loaded him into the helicopter, that this is what I would do. He was a good friend. I no longer wanted to call a parent to tell them that their son isn't coming home, or can you come visit your son for the last time."<BR><BR>Vanderslice also accused Lance of "AMA Bashing" in an e-mail Vanderslice sent Lance following a series of posts on wera.com, Lance said.<BR><BR>"I was never reprimanded," stated Lance. "I have letters of recognition and ‘thank yous' from racers, racers' families, and promoters saying ‘We're glad to have Dan Lance with the AMA' and one guy saying thank you for saving my brother's life. Stuff like that." According to Lance, when he told AMA Pro Racing Superbike Operations Manager Ron Barrick of his banishment Monday afternoon at Loudon, Barrick told him, "That's too bad. I really appreciate having you around with your experience." <BR><BR>"I don't know where I f—ked up except when I quit when they lied to me and said that they were going to get Air Fence," said Lance. "I do not believe I have said any untruths in any of my comments, which (Vanderslice) believes are AMA bashing because they're contrary to his views. I still stand in front of everyone and say that if I have said an untruth to bring it forward. I'm willing to stand and be counted as making a mistake, but I don't believe that I've said anything yet that is an untruth.<BR><BR>"There's other inside sh-t, that is general knowledge in the paddock, but the AMA reading public, from the press, has no clue. They think the AMA is telling the truth when we in the paddock know that certain programs were not going forward and being dragged around.<BR><BR>"I called (AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott) Hollingsworth and told him that I'm going to go forward and protect myself," said Lance of a voice mail message that he left Hollingsworth Monday. "I'm not going to lose any credentials or access at the racetrack. I told him that I couldn't legally be denied. I don't believe (Vanderslice) can restrict trade in our workplace, which may be an AMA-sanctioned race but is still a workplace for vendors and also for contingency sponsors. I told them that unless Merrill says something by the end of the day (Monday, June 18) that I'm going to talk to my friends in the Press. <BR><BR>"I've always said the truth as I see it. I won't be bullied, and I won't shut up. It's my right as an American to have free speech and free access. F--k the sons o' bitches. I'm willing to go balls to the walls. I can't see how he can refuse me. If I have to hire a lawyer and do an ‘Edmondson', I will. "<BR><BR>The AMA and AMA Pro Racing (a.k.a. Paradama) recently settled a lawsuit by paying former joint venture partner Roger Edmondson $3 million. U. S. Federal Courts ruled in that case that the AMA had converted, or stole, Edmondson's half of the AMA Pro road racing business. <BR><BR>The AMA has steadfastly maintained that Edmondson was a contract employee, not a joint venture partner, despite the courts finding otherwise. In final settlement negotiations, AMA lawyers asked that neither side comment on the settlement until the legal papers were signed several days later. But the AMA then immediately issued a press release again claiming that Edmondson had been a contract employee.