Views & Notes: June 2015 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
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Views & Notes: June 2015 Edition
By Dan Schechner on June 10, 2015

* Vertical Angles: Vertical integration is smart. It’s not foolproof, but when it works it’s a thing of beauty. Simply put, vertical integration is the practice of one company owning all (or most) aspects of its supply chain. So a company that manufactures race cars also owns the companies that produce the parts and the companies that sell the finished product. Same ownership up and down the chain.

One of the early pioneers of this strategy was 19th century steel magnate Andrew Carnegie (worked out pretty well for him). And today it’s practiced to some degree by a number of highly successful firms including Apple, Netflix, and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. It’s also the foundation upon which motorsports network MAVTV, in concert with its parent company Lucas Oil Products, is based.

“Our philosophy here at Lucas has always been to be as vertically integrated as possible, and as self-sufficient as possible,” Bob Patison, president of MAVTV and EVP/general counsel at Lucas Oil, told us in this month’s Industry Insights, which can be found on page 42. The column is absolutely worth reading, as Patison explains how Lucas Oil Production Studios came to be (“We didn’t want to have our destiny controlled by third parties.”), how MAVTV serves as a powerful platform for team Lucas partners and the company’s product line, and much more.

Coincidentally, as this issue was going to press we received word that Lucas Oil had just struck a deal with Anthem Media Group to bring MAVTV to Canada. It’s an “exciting opportunity,” Patison said of MAVTV Canada, which will be based out of Anthem Studios in Toronto. For more details, visit www.mavtv.ca.

* Off The Streets: Hardly a day goes by that you don’t come across news of an illegal street race causing some degree of mayhem on America’s roadways. And while the spectacle of these incidents—big crowds, fast cars, etc.—often draws mainstream media spotlights, the problem persists long after local news reporters pack up and move on to the next story. And so we’d like to applaud the efforts of motorsports professionals—like Nelson and Marla Hoyos of Thunder Road Raceway in Gilliam, Louisiana—who are spearheading efforts to move racing off the streets and onto the track.

In fact, Nelson recently wrote a nice piece for the PRI Blog, “Street Racing vs. Race Track,” outlining some of the programs they’ve created to convert street racers into legitimate racers. “Education is needed to communicate to this ever-growing population of new racers,” he explains, “and if more race tracks reach out to community leaders and local law enforcement, together they could curb the problems related to illegal street racing and help save lives in their communities.” Under one such program, first-time speeders may be diverted by police to one of Thunder Road’s Friday night race sessions as an alternative to costly fines.

Cultivating a new generation of drivers while working to squeeze illegal racing—sounds like a win-win.

* Catching Up With The Captain: One of the true titans of motorsports will be fitted with yet another accolade next month when Roger Penske is enshrined in the Automotive Hall of Fame. Penske, whose record 15 owner wins in the Indianapolis 500 will be awfully tough to top, is set for induction July 23 in a ceremony at Detroit’s Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

The Captain also made headlines recently when he floated the idea of opening an auto racing museum in downtown Motor City. “That’s on the radar,” he told the Detroit Free Press, adding that a decision on the museum would likely come “in the next couple months.” Interestingly, it wouldn’t even be his first foray into the field: the Penske Racing Museum, which operates out of an auto dealership mall in Phoenix, Arizona, showcases the 1979 Indy 500-winning Penske PC-6 driven by Rick Mears, the 1987 500 winner March 86C piloted by Al Unser Sr., and several other historic vehicles.

If this latest venture goes through, Mr. Penske may want to consider a new nickname: The Curator.          

About the Author
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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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