* Operation Edelbrock: A distinct advantage of PRI’s Southern California location (besides the beach access) is our proximity to some of the world’s top racing and performance businesses. In fact, we recently got to spend time at one of the truly iconic manufacturers of the specialty aftermarket located just up the 405 Freeway in Torrance, California. Edelbrock Sales Manager Troy Hooker, VP of Sales Steve Whipple and Advertising Director Eric Blakely were incredibly accommodating for our visit, granting us virtually unrestricted access to their headquarters—including the manufacturing facility and “Toy Barn,” distribution center and Russell division, which houses the company’s hose and fittings, nitrous, and regulator and fuel pump operations. It’s hard not to be impressed with 50 CNC machines tooling products for the top teams in NASCAR, ARCA, etc. We saw LS cylinder heads getting ported, and witnessed up close the vacuum metalizing process that goes into their EnduraShine finish for intake manifolds. Though practically synonymous with manifolds and cylinder heads, Edelbrock is seeing gains in its data acquisition and supercharger businesses, too, Hooker reported. “The rules are always changing,” he told us, “and it takes a lot of effort to stay on top of the race game.” By the looks of things, for Edelbrock, the game may be just getting started.
* In Tune With AEM: Had the opportunity to catch up with our friends at AEM Performance Electronics in Hawthorne, California, last month for a tour of the company’s global headquarters followed by a wide-ranging discussion over lunch. PRI Senior Sales & Marketing Manager Judy Kean joined me—or rather, I joined her—for a unique look at one of our industry’s truly progressive companies. Best known for its standing in the sport compact market (or “4-cylinder performance” if you prefer), AEM embraces a progressive stance that has it well positioned to serve future generations. In fact, AEM founder John Concialdi told us he was just now getting involved with nearby El Camino College on an advisory program for automotive technology students. “I thought it would be worthwhile to serve on this committee,” he said, “where local business people talk to and advise students. It’s a good opportunity for me to find out what these kids are into.” Connecting with the youth market is something AEM has traditionally excelled at—see: import tuner, drift, etc.—and we expect it will pay dividends for many years to come.
* Open Housing: Here at PRI we’ve established several traditions. Some, like the Grand Opening Breakfast and the Engine Charity Sweepstakes, we get to enjoy right along with the racing industry at our annual Trade Show in Indianapolis. But others are kept more informal, without the fanfare associated with a grand prize or big-name special guest. In this case, I refer to last month’s official launch of PRI Housing. Each year our exceptional Housing & Travel Manager Michelle Gallegos puts in countless hours locking down room blocks at top host hotels and negotiating the very best rates in order to make destination Indianapolis easy on everyone’s wallets, and ensuring our Trade Show guests feel as comfortable as possible during their stay in the Circle City. The good news is that based on the first few weeks’ projections, folks this year are getting an early jump on reservations. “It’s been an amazing response so far,” Michelle told us. “Most of it is coming from exhibitors, but we have gotten a lot of attendees booking as well. It makes sense—everybody wants to book early to make sure they get their preferred hotel.” Her advice for Trade Show visitors: “Don’t wait, and don’t hesitate. We’ve already sold out our blocks at a few downtown hotels, so book now!” For reservations, call 949/499-5413 and ask for Michelle or Cristina; or visit www.prishow.org and click “Hotel Reservations” under the Hotel/Travel tab. We’ll see you in Indy!