PRI 2019 - A Look Back
It's been a week since the PRI Tradeshow. The nice thing about being a "blogger" vs a "Journalist", I get to write when and what I want. I don't answer to an editor, copywriter or have deadlines. So saying that here is sort of a recap of my Friday PRI day.
I drove down at "0" dark early in the morning to catch Jeanette DesJardins' 8:00 a.m. seminar on Opportunities for Women in Motorsports. I am a very big supporter of women in motorsports. It might stem from the fact I have a wife, three daughters and a female dog! This year's panel consisted of Leah Pritchett, Top Fuel Dragster (driver for Schumacher Racing), Alex Taylor (driver of the "Badmaro" Camaro door-slammer), Lea Ochs (driver of the "Lead Sled Resurrection" Ford Fairmont SW), Sarah Burgess (former Drifter and currently Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series racer), and her daughter, Bridget Burgess (LOORRS and asphalt modified driver).
This was an excellent seminar with discussions on sponsorships, building your brand, personal relationships and social media. Over the last twenty years there has been a big push for diversity. Motorsports is the largest sport where men and women can compete together on the main stage. While we have made strides, there is still a long way to go with different series having better success than others. NHRA is probably the most successful for women to compete at the highest level. There have been two women world champions in the last several years at the Pro level, Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock). At the Sportsman levels of drag racing, there are many women competing including young girls in the Junior Drag Racing programs. In Stock Cars, there aren't as many women competing, yet, at the highest levels, however there are some up and coming drivers like Natalie Decker and Hailee Deegan. If you come to PRI next year, I would highly recommend this seminar.
After the seminar I took some time to walk around the convention center to get the lay of the land. As I was walking around, I found Nate Kelley and his grandfather, Steve Zelipsky.
For 2020, Nate is driving a dragster and intends to drive in the Route 66 Bracket Series and some Super Comp races.
I was then off to find the Garage Squad's Joe Zolper with this Dauntless Daytona Pro Mod dragster. If I remember correctly, this car was nine years in the making. This was my first time seeing the car and I was not disappointed. It is beautiful!
Joe was busy all day attending to the admirers! Awesome car. I just heard that Joe's daughter, Ruby, wants her junior dragster painted like Dad's car. Go Ruby!
I then went and found part-time Route 66 racer Don Yonkers, who was working the Palmgren booth.
Don works for Palmgren, a C.H. Hanson company, who are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Palmgren business. In 2019, Don started the bracket season at Route 66, however when his torque converter went south, it prematurely ended his season. The torque converter has been repaired and he is looking for a more positive 2020 season. He also stated he has a great torque converter repair company!
When you are wandering around PRI, you never know who you may run into. It could be this guy.
Or these guys!
Or these folks.
There was even a sighting of legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham. (No photo though)
Here are some more sights of the show.
In past PRI's, the trailers and haulers were exhibited outside. This year they were inside Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL Colts. Having never been in a NFL domed stadium, I decided to take the trek to see it. In comparison to race tracks, I was struck by how small it seemed. I have been told when it is full of fans it appears bigger.
Being a Bears fan, I unfortunately had to look at this banner. The Colts Super Bowl win over the Bears!
As I was leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, I ran into Route 66 racer and track announcer Bill Larson. He pointed out a car that I had missed on my way into the Stadium. It was Route 66's own, Ted Peter's new Nostalgia Pro Stock car. I'm told the car has some good history, I can't wait to find out!
This concluded my 2019 PRI day. Because this event continues to grow, one of these years, I will have to extend my visit to Indy and PRI. If you haven't attended a PRI show, I would highly recommend it. It's worth the time!
My next event should be the January 25th Route 66 Rockett Brand Racing Fuels ET Bracket Awards Banquet. Make your reservations and I will see you there.