Views & Notes: June 2016 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
Views & Notes: June 2016 Edition
By Dan Schechner on June 2, 2016

* Braking Ground: A tip of the cappello to Italian brake manufacturer Brembo over a recent—and successful—“first pour” at the company’s new cast-iron foundry in Homer, Michigan.

The brake systems innovator and longtime PRI Trade Show exhibitor christened this latest addition to its worldwide network of foundries during a test-run of sorts in late April, where furnaces were charged and molten raw material deposited into molds to ensure all facility functions were tip-top. And they were, according to company officials, opening the door to a ramp-up in production that was just getting underway at press time; the 266,000-square-foot facility is expected to be fully operational in 2017.

But the pour also represented a real commitment to North America, which a spokesman called “the top geographic market for Brembo worldwide,” as well as the local economy. That’s because operations tied to the foundry will create 250 jobs on site and at the company’s nearby Plymouth, Michigan, offices. For a US manufacturing industry that’s taken its share of gut punches in recent years, Brembo’s investment sure provides a much-needed, and appreciated, shot in the arm.

* Classy Tribute: When it comes to displays of raw emotion, racing tends to produce more than a few. Surviving a 500-lap endurance test, a four-second quarter-mile or a bruising off-road desert rumble generally has that effect on folks. But it’s those unexpected moments—far from the finish line, the cameras, the crowds and competition—that often provide the most impactful impressions.

One I won’t soon forget took place at—of all places—a press conference in the midst of last year’s PRI Trade Show. That seemingly ordinary presser by WELD became anything but when company president and CEO Norm Young climbed on stage and presented NHRA Top Fuel driver Clay Millican with a not-yet-released DM58 UTV race wheel to be manufactured and named in honor of Millican’s 22-year-old son Dalton, who had perished in a motorcycle accident just four months earlier.

The room fell silent as Millican, overcome briefly, spoke so eloquently of his child, their bond, and why everyone in the room should be sure to tell the important people in their lives how much they care for them, “because things can change in an instant, and you may never get another chance to let them know.”

While WELD released the DM58 for production earlier this year, another fitting tribute was announced not long ago when Stringer Performance and the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) unveiled the Dalton Millican Scholarship Fund to benefit students in the university’s College of Applied Technologies, Automotive/High Performance Degree Program. The annual scholarship will award $2500 toward the cost of a full academic year, and it is open to incoming freshmen as well as current program enrollees.

“Donna and I were surprised and very gracious that UNOH came to us and asked if they could create this scholarship to help carry on other peoples’ passion for motorsports, like Dalton had,” Millican said. “It’s going to change someone’s life, and that is such a true gift.” Donations to the Dalton Millican Scholarship Fund can be mailed to The University of Northwestern Ohio, Attn: Stephen Farmer–VP Development, 1441 N. Cable Rd., Lima, OH 45805.

* Career Track: Most teenagers have no idea what they want to be when they grow up. But thanks to Oswego Speedway PR Director Dan Kapuscinski, a few dozen students at Fulton Junior High recently received some valuable schooling in effective public relations and promotions as part of the upstate New York academy’s Career Day.

Kapuscinski, whose fifth season at the speedway began last month, was among more than a dozen community professionals invited by Fulton administrators to share their background and experiences, and explain how lessons from the classroom can be applied to the “real world.”

Of his objective, Kapuscinski told a local newspaper, “My main goal was to stress to the students that pretty much any hobby they may enjoy, or passion they may have, needs good PR, promotion and marketing to support it. With today’s advances in technology and social media, some of our younger generations are already public relations pros—they just may not know it yet.”

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