On Thursday, I drove down to Indianapolis for a day visit to the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, commonly known as PRI. This is the largest racing industry trade show in the world. I was only going to have the one day to see and visit as much as I could. Upon arrival at the Indiana Convention Center, I went directly to the Media Center to gather as much information as possible. As I walked in and stopped, I suddenly realized I was standing next to a tall gentleman wearing a cowboy hat, Richard Petty! Richard was there for a Mahle Aftermarket press conference. Mahle was launching the Mahle Performance Engine Parts. As part of the announcement, Mahle has partnered with Petty's Garage to produce a 1968 "Restomod" Chevy Camaro for it's Drive With the Original technician program.
In Petty tradition, he was playing with the audience peeking over the top of the display and waving!
Even the media are not immune from the "King's" charisma!
Later, Richard was at the Mahle booth interacting with the fans.
After the press conference it was off to the exhibition areas to meet up with some friends. The first was Don Yonkers of Palmgren.
Palmgren is introducing a new CNC machine/system. Don has been traveling extensively around the world. He is next off to Orlando, then back to China. If you remember last year, Don was having some trouble with his car and finally found the problem. It was a problem with the distributor. Since they corrected the problem the car has been dead-on the index. For 2018, he will primarily driving at IHRA tracks.
After leaving Don, I ran into Camden Murphy.
Cam is a Monster Jam truck driver and Nascar Camping World Truck Series Driver. Starting in January he will return to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series driving in the West Series. He is also working on his NASCAR schedule to blend everything together for a complete season. He is continuing his work with SimGear Simulators while networking at PRI.
Next up was a meeting with Rocky Ausec and Dennis Salzwimmer of the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit (GLNFCC). Dennis is the Grand Poobah of GLNFCC and Rocky drives in the circuit with the Solid Rock "One Evil Mach 1".
In my conversation with Dennis, I learned that this is the eleventh season for the Circuit. When it started there were only 7-8 cars. Now they are in 7 states. At the July Nostalgia Funny Car Nationals at Keystone Raceway Park in New Alexandria, Ohio, there were 32 Funny Cars! The circuit has come a long ways and is gaining more and more fans. The new schedule is being worked on and should be announced in the near future. Here is Rocky, Heather Dorethy, and Dennis.
In the afternoon, I headed over to the Live Streaming in Motorsports seminar. The last several seasons, I have worked with Warren Evans of NHRA D3TV at the NHRA North Central Division 3 race at the Route 66 Raceway. Warren was the moderator for a panel of experts in the field
The panel consisted of Chet Christner-SpeedShiftTV.com, Eric Prewitt-PullingRadioNetwork.com, Josh Steinmetz-NTPApull.com, Mark Walter-MotorMania TV and Dragstory.com, Brian Lohnes-Bangshift.com and Bobby Bennett-CompetitionPlus.com. This panel came from all types of motor racing disciplines. Because of the diversity of the disciplines, there was a lot of discussion of the type of systems utilized. One of the biggest issues with Live Streaming is the music that is played at the racetracks when it is copywrited material. There were several work-arounds discussed with more work yet to be done. Speaking with Warren, I was happy to hear that NHRA D3TV is fully funded for the 2018 season and will be adding one race from each of the other Divisions.
My last event of the day, was the presentation of the Ken Schrader Real Racer of the Year Award. This award is sponsored by Speedway Illustrated magazine. It was good to see the magazine's Karl Fredrickson again. My daughter worked for the magazine for several years after graduating from college. Prior to the Racer of the year award, a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ricky Standridge, husband of longtime motorsports writer Dorothy Standridge. Ricky has had over 200 Feature wins in his career.
This year the Ken Schrader Real Racer of the year was awarded to Mike Nichols of Harlan, Iowa. This year Mike had 32 wins in 45 starts and has had 600 Feature wins in his career. Congratulations to Mike!
I want to give a special shout out to Dave Pepper, General Manager of Thorsport Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I ran into Dave while walking around and we just haven't been able to get together due to conflicting schedules. I have known Dave since the mid-90's when he was the PR person for Brewco Motorports' #37 Scot Walters in the then Craftsman Truck Series. It was really nice to finally have a few minutes to chat.
Here are some images from the show.
I do have to say it was a busy, but fun day at PRI. Next year, I am going to try to fit multiple days into my schedule.