From the Editor
Couple of things I think while arranging my TV viewing schedule around this month’s Cup Series races in Wisconsin, Georgia, and New Hampshire:
1) I think this year’s Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show is shaping up to be one of our best ever…for a few reasons. First, our host city of Indianapolis has proven to be an out-and-out trailblazer in the return to in-person events. As noted in our PRI Show update piece beginning on page 20, Indy’s provided venues for numerous sports tournaments and professional conferences dating back to last year, with “many [of those] coming in from other states that wouldn’t permit large gatherings,” noted Sherry Seiwert, the president of Downtown Indy, Inc. That momentum has continued into 2021; you’ll recall Indianapolis successfully hosted the entire NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament (go Baylor!) along with an Indianapolis 500 (go Helio!) that played out brilliantly before 135,000 fans. Rest assured the city will be ready when PRI arrives in December. Meantime, demand for motorsports parts and equipment is absolutely off the charts. I’ve honestly never seen as steep or widespread a sales surge as the one manufacturers and service providers are currently experiencing. Plus, race tracks are now back to running full or nearly full schedules, and many are reporting healthy car counts in key series and classes. We all know these competitors are hungry for new products, knowledge, and solutions. And we can’t wait to see our exhibitors “feed the beast” from the aisles of the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. So, while virtual alternatives may be OK for some, they’ll never hold a candle to the value or excitement of a live event. You simply can’t simulate the opportunities for sales, networking, education, and more that PRI offers racers year after year. Get ready, because the 2021 Show will be here, in a big way, before you know it!
2) I think the racing industry is making positive strides as a career destination for women. That’s not just my opinion—it’s based on feedback from the highly accomplished female motorsports professionals we spoke with for this month’s Special Report, which begins on page 62. While women have found their place atop podiums for decades, the overarching question we had is whether those in non-driver roles face the same obstacles today as they did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Are the standards equal for a female vs. male CEO, track president, or engineer, or do they feel like more is expected of them? Is there more pressure to perform, or to “prove themselves” in a traditionally male-dominate field? Are there additional responsibilities, like being an advocate or mentor to other women in racing, that come with the job? Conversely, we also wanted to see where progress was being made. Were there barriers-to-entry for earlier generations of women that no longer exist? Are there more resources today that can help guide or encourage women to pursue motorsports as a profession? Are we, as an industry, becoming more inclusive? How so? Without giving away the farm, I did really like how Cara Adams, director of Race Tire Engineering and Manufacturing, and chief engineer of Motorsports at Bridgestone Americas, bottom-lined the relationship between her gender and chosen profession: “That’s the beautiful thing about motorsports,” she told us. “It’s all about results. If I develop a tire that everyone loves, nobody cares if a man or woman designed it.”