Four major conferences and seminars kicked off while two others finished up their three-day schedules today—a flurry of Race Industry Week activity throughout the Indiana County Convention Center a day ahead of the PRI Trade Show’s grand opening.
The International Council of Motorsport Sciences (ICMS) Annual Congress, the Winning the eRace Digital Marketing Conference, the Race Track Business Conference, and SEMA’s Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Education Day launched Wednesday in Indianapolis, joining the ongoing Advanced Engineering Technology Conference (AETC), the Advanced Vehicle Dynamics and Data Acquisition Seminar, and the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow’s National Championship to highlight the busiest day ever for Race Industry Week, which runs in conjunction with the PRI Trade Show, Dec. 12-14.
“With all the activity taking place, it has brought the racing industry together in Indianapolis for a really special event—all in one place, all at one time,” said John Kilroy, PRI Trade Show producer. “The list of speakers has been incredible with people such as Mark Miles, Joie Chitwood and Dr. Steven Olvey taking part. It’s invaluable to have PRI buyers not only attend the PRI Trade Show to see all the newest parts and technology for the 2014 season, but also to have the opportunity to attend an engine or parts conference, or take in a racing business seminar. It’s all leading up to what should be a terrific return for the show to Indianapolis.”
Attendance was strong throughout, as events and conferences addressed several of the most pressing issues in the motorsports industry today. Among those was ICMS’ program on the treatment of concussions—a topic at the forefront of the sports world.
“Motorsports has actually been ahead of most other sports, as we’ve been connected with head injuries way back,” said Olvey. “Concussions are a major issue. People have to realize you don’t have to hit your head or be unconscious to suffer a concussion. If concussions are treated appropriately as they occur, we feel the long-term effects can either be prevented, or at least decreased from what we’re seeing in some other sports. Safety is a combined effort. The doctors can’t do it all; the doctors and drivers can’t do it—you have to have cooperation from the tracks and the sanctioning bodies, which is something the ICMS affords us.”
A strongly attended Race Track Business Conference featured some of the most influential names in the industry, including Hulman & Co. CEO Miles and Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, speaking on subjects such as event management, facilities, track safety, legal and risk management, industry associations, track operations and media.
“I don’t think what happens at MIS is much different than what happens at some of the other tracks,” said Sammie Lukaskiewicz of Michigan International Speedway. “Whether it’s Daytona or whether it’s the short tracks, we all work together and we’re all in the sport of auto racing. There’s a benefit to sharing and collaborating with each other.”
Down the hall, PRI’s Winning the eRace conference returned for a second year to address the ever-changing digital marketing arena, its role in the racing industry and the opportunities it offers.
“I thought it was very informational,” said attendee Sarah Adams of John Force Racing. “We are very active in social media in the mainstream areas, but I learned a number of things here. The social media panel was number one for me, elaborating on a lot of issues. It was great to have three different opinions. They were very thorough—I didn’t even have to ask a lot of the questions I had, as they covered almost everything.”
Meantime, the new MPMC Education Day offered participants direct, face-to-face product training from several top performance manufacturers, including product designers and engineers.
“The material at the SMD presentation was very good,” said Bill Floyd of Lucas Oil Centers. “It’s a rare opportunity to deal with the expert in technology rather than the salesman."
The 26th Annual PRI Trade Show features the latest products and technology from over 1200 manufacturers of racing and high-performance automotive components, as well as precision machining equipment. The show is expected to bring well over 40,000 racing professionals from across the US and 72 countries to the Racing Capital of the World. For more information, visit www.pri2013.com.