Views & Notes: May 2016 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
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Views & Notes: May 2016 Edition
By Dan Schechner on May 10, 2016

* Countdown To 100: From our perspective, the countdown to this month’s historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 actually began in late 2015, at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Over three days inside the Indiana Convention Center, exhibitor IndyCar presented an impressive in-booth lineup—including racer Q&As, car unveilings, simulator competitions and more—against the backdrop of an impending milestone race 100 years in the making.

Day one alone brought open-wheel legends (and multi-time 500 winners) Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Unser together for a rare sit-down to discuss the iconic event; the unveiling of PIRTEK Team Murray’s entry in the 2016 Indy 500 alongside Taya Kyle, widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle; and a reveal of the new USF2000 car by representatives of the Mazda Road to Indy developmental series. Not to mention PRI’s own submission, in concert with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum: our “Evolution of the Indy Car” exhibit featuring six cars that were raced in past years’ Indy 500s, along with a special appearance by the famed Borg-Warner Trophy.

Which is to say that momentum for this year’s landmark event has been building for some time, including the announcement in late January that PennGrade Motor Oil would serve as the race’s first-ever presenting sponsor, and the following month’s official “100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Countdown Day.”

For our part, PRI will have a small delegation on hand to witness “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” How could we resist the chance to join what is being billed as the world’s largest milk toast (compliments of the American Dairy Association, Prairie Farms, and 100,000 lactose-tolerant fans)? And, we’re equally excited about IndyCar’s plans for an expanded and higher-profile exhibit at this year’s PRI Trade Show!

* Diamond Anniversary: On the subject of milestones, specialty chemical and lubricant manufacturer Champion Brands marks its own anniversary—the big six-oh—in 2016 with a year-long salute to customers, vendors, distributors and employees that includes special events, sponsored races and collector car shows, as well as reduced pricing, new distribution programs, product giveaways and more.

The epicenter of Champion’s big celebration was an open-house blowout at the company’s Clinton, Missouri, headquarters early this month featuring a professional road rally (in support of Autism awareness), car enthusiast show, outdoor barbeque, factory tours, door prizes and distributor awards, among other activities. PRI was honored to receive an invitation to this prestigious affair, where our own Eric Jurado presented a commemorative plaque for Champion’s longtime support and participation in both the SEMA and PRI shows.

“The SEMA and PRI shows are an important part of our marketing strategies every year,” Karl Dedolph told us recently. “Our long-term planning starts with these two very important events—actually, the day after each show. We review photos, daily reports, scanned contacts, follow-up items, and ask questions on the best way to look at and improve ROI. We’ve found that being organized with our shows and events helps us formulate all other activities, [and] these shows are our baseline.”

Congratulations to Champion—here’s to your next 60 years in business!

* Runway Racing: Marked by sold-out entry lists and growing sponsor interest, speed-run competitions have emerged as some of the hottest tickets in motorsports. These typically full- or half-mile events are proving more than capable of drawing speed enthusiasts from far and wide to repurposed airstrips for public and private showcases of unrestricted racing.

In fact, we’ve scheduled a full-length feature for PRI’s July issue to explore the subject in depth. And for those inclined to witness the spectacle in person, a pair of events set for later this month and next come highly recommended. Beginning in the South, wannaGOFAST presents the Georgia ½-Mile Runway Shootout at Heaven’s Landing Airport in Clayton, Georgia, May 14–15 (www.wannagofast.com); and on June 18–19, the East Coast Timing Association will take over Airborne Park in Wilmington, Ohio, for a mid-summer run of the celebrated Ohio Mile (www.ecta-lsr.com).               

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