Views & Notes: August 2015 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
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Views & Notes: August 2015 Edition
By Dan Schechner on August 7, 2015

* A Force For Good: An early summer swing through the South brought yours truly to the doorstep of one of PRI’s staunchest supporters: leading safety equipment manufacturer G-Force Racing Gear. A tour of the company’s Roswell, Georgia, facility revealed a tightly run shop. And my host, Jeremy Curtis, shared some valuable insights into where G-Force is headed. For one, Curtis was quite high on the performance thus far of his one- and two-piece GF 745 racing suits, which debuted at last year’s PRI Trade Show. He also noted the popularity of newly released accessory products for racing crews, including backpacks and helmet bags. Curtis felt confident that 2015–16 would pay dividends for G-Force, as well as the safety sector in general. “Timing-wise, the cycle for product use was typically 2–3 years; now it’s about 5–7 years,” he said. “And we’re currently at the end of that 7-year cycle. Especially with the 2015 helmets coming out this year (the Snell Memorial Foundation SA2015 Standard for Protective Headgear takes effect October 1, after which certified helmets will be available for sale), it’s going to be a good year for the industry. Times are definitely better.” Regardless of market segment—whether it’s drag, dirt, entry-level road racing or elsewhere—Curtis maintained that customer service remains paramount, particularly for today’s competitors. “Racers must be able to get the service they need on follow-up,” he told me. “Those retailers who weathered the storm, and are now getting face to face with the racers, are excelling. The grassroots and local dirt trackers really pay attention to what the pro guys do—they’re researching it on their own. So reach out to the manufacturers,” he advised, “and seek out the answers. Education, for the retailer and the customer, is still key.” We cannot wait to see what G-Force has in store for PRI 2015.

* Youth Flock To Union: Eight minutes. That’s how quickly 32 spots filled up for the headline event at this month’s ECP Racecars 5K Junior Dragster Shootout, which takes place at Union County Dragway in Union, South Carolina. Billed as the biggest Jr. Dragster race ever to hit the Carolinas, perhaps even the Southeast, the event on August 28–30 comes with more than $14,000 in total payouts across multiple classes. The premier race is a bracket-style $5000-to-win High Roller Shootout to the 330 mark—and it’s the one that nearly crashed Union’s server at approximately 8:01 p.m. on May 18. The response was so overwhelming, in fact, that organizers considered adding a second 32-car field for the all-junior event. I spoke with Union’s Tony Brown about the phenomenon during a recent visit to the track, and to be honest, even he seemed a bit taken aback by it. “We announced that it was coming, we put the signups online, and just like that it was full,” he explained. “It was so huge that we went ahead and added another ‘big money’ Jr. Dragster race this season.” Funny thing is, Brown doesn’t really push the youth racing component any harder than he does Union’s Quick 8 Pro Mod, Grudge Fest, Pro Bracket or other regular programs. In fact, on this particular summer day, the juniors took their place alongside a full slate of IHRA Pro-Am racers from across the region. “Of course I like the regular classes,” Brown said, “but look, if I can be known as the premier Jr. Dragster track in the area, that’s just fine with me.” Full- and pint-sized drivers alike will be pleased to know that Brown’s 1/8-mile facility offers a full schedule through November. Now that’s something worth giving thanks for!

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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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