Just returned at press time from the Knoxville Nationals, and we have to remark on Donnie Schatz’ incredible string of winged sprint car victories here. He’s won seven out of the last eight Knoxville Nationals, storming to the front from a 21st starting position this year to take the win for team owner Tony Stewart. Wow. Congratulations on a great race, and an extraordinary run.
We also wish to thank all the racing industry folks who made it over to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (NSCHoF) at Knoxville Raceway for a lunch organized by PRI and the NSCHoF. It was great catching up, and sharing the good news that the big return of the PRI Trade Show to Indianapolis is going very well. We received many generous comments of appreciation that there’s only one trade show this year, and it’s in Indianapolis. It was fun to share the news of the exciting events that we have planned, and the fact that hotel room reservations have already surpassed all of last year, and will likely exceed the figure logged for PRI’s last show in Indianapolis in 2004. Downtown Indianapolis is going to be a lot of fun the nights of the PRI Trade Show, as racers take over.
We’d like to thank Bob Baker and his fine team at the NSCHoF for working with PRI to produce this industry lunch. And the team at The Rib Shack (next to the Raceway) deserves recognition, too, for their terrific BBQ. It’s so good, we even ate dinner there the night before the luncheon.
We’re scheduled to leave for another event in just a few days. We’re working with the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA) for a ‘racers appreciation’ BBQ dinner at the big Test N Tune for the Chevrolet US Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway on August 21. We’re working with Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the IMA, on an event that will give us another opportunity to share the progress of this year’s PRI Trade Show. PRI magazine does the ‘heavy lifting’ for us as we promote buyer attendance, but there’s nothing like getting face to face with folks. It’s fun, and it’s the best way to get new suggestions for the Show. We wish to thank Tom and his IMA team for co-promoting this event.
Gentleman Joe Schubeck: We applaud Joe Schubeck again for his terrific speech at the SEMA Hall of Fame Banquet this past summer. Schubeck has a sly way with a story, and his own unique and flawless timing. We were with him every step of the way as he unfolded the tale of how he got the name, Gentleman Joe Schubeck. A promoter told Schubeck he needed a colorful nickname to help grab attention for his appearances in top fuel drag race events. So he turned to one of the industry’s founding fathers, Ed Iskenderian, for help. Iskenderian pulled a disk-shaped object from a well-stocked closet and handed it to Schubeck, saying it was a good start. At this point, Schubeck reached underneath the podium and showed the audience the object. He slapped it against his wrist, and a shiny top hat snapped into form. The crowd loved it. Schubeck went on to found Lakewood Industries. He reminded us all over again of the savvy, the fun, and the creativity of these earlier times.