Underground Racing built a reputation for performance customized cars with vehicles like a 1000-hp twin-turbo Lamborghini. Now, a customer that complained about the quality of the company's work claims the tuning shop retaliated by threatening to release a video of the married customer bragging about sleeping with a stripper.
We're not going to get into the details of who is right or wrong in this case because it's impossible for us to determine this based on forum posts. You can read user Tbone's original Viper Alley complaint here, where he claims the company did an unsatisfactory job rebuilding his 2002 Viper GTS and you can read Underground Racing's fairly measured response here.
Every tuner will eventually produce an unhappy customer or two. Whether they're in the right or in the wrong the tuner will also probably have to endure the unhappy customer carping about it on the forums. Some threaten to sue, others try to work it out, but North Carolina's Underground Racing's stripper threat is new to us.
According to Tbone, after posting his original complain on Viper Alley he received the following email from Kevin Howeth, the owner of Underground Racing.
If this is true there are many layers of customer service issues here. Does Underground Racing keep embarrassing tapes of all their customers? Did Tbone know he was being taped?
Tbone, to his discredit, doesn't help his case much when he explains why he was with a stripper and how it's not a big deal.
Just to clear something up, I droped [sic] come coin at the gents club across the street one night and had dinner with a girl the next day. No big deal. My wife found out about it because I Accidently [sic] used my personal credit card for dinner and I wine was spilled on the girls dress and the restaurant call me and told my wife they were going to take care of cleaning the dress. I don't cheat on my wife but I like topless bars and having fun. I did get into some shit over this but it wasn't the first time. Please don't judge me. I feel that I am good person but I do push the envelop. Am sure you all have some issues but that doesn't make me a liar.
Yeah, fellas, he's just a nice guy. All he did was take a stripper out to dinner on his personal credit card, spilled wine on her dress, and then went home alone. It's tempting to believe in his honesty because no one could make up a story so sad and pathetic.
When reached for comment Underground Racing deferred to their lawyer who sent us the following email:
Mr. Hardigree: Underground Racing forwarded your email below to me, as I am handling the litigation arising out of the thread referenced in your email. It is difficult to believe that you would run a purported news "story" based on anonymous postings on an internet message forum, which amounts to little more than rumor-mongering. While we will address these matters within the confines of the legal system, and I do not generally comment on the specifics of pending cases, I will tell you that there are certain factual assumptions contained in the questions set forth in your email below that are incorrect, including the assumption that the videotape described therein even exists (it does not). Moreover, the thread itself is riddled with additional factual inaccuracies and defamatory comments concerning my client, which we are in the process of addressing.
I know that Jalopnik is a popular site, and I would hope that you would refrain from republishing defamatory comments concerning my client that are currently the subject of litigation. I believe Jalopnik has published articles concerning the cars built by Underground in the past, and I'm sure they would welcome the opportunity to work with the site in connection with something more positive in the future. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
The lawyer's statement that the tape doesn't exist doesn't mean the man wasn't recorded, so we asked again if the video ever existed. The company's lawyer said their "video surveillance system does not even record audio" and added "you are again assuming that Kevin sent the email described therein."
Asked point-blank by Jalopnik if there was an email exchange the company's legal counsel has so far declined to answer.