Views & Notes: New Year's Edition | Performance Racing Industry
Views & Notes: New Year's Edition
By Dan Schechner on December 29, 2015

* Powerful Parts Of PRI 2015: Attempting to encapsulate the 2015 PRI Trade Show in a single column is like trying to squeeze a NASCAR pit crew into the back seat of a smart car. It’s not happening. And besides, PRI Magazine will provide a thorough wrap-up article in our February 2016 edition anyway. So this editor is off the hook, at least for now. But I did get to thinking about a phrase that’s often used to describe the Show: “It’s like no place else on Earth.” And beyond the product launches, the networking, and all the business taking place throughout the week, there were a handful of moments that really helped bring this colossal event into focus.

One occurred during the International Council of Motorsport Sciences’ (ICMS) Race Track Safety Program on Friday, December 11. Spectators had gathered to watch a training session on the proper procedures for spinal control and immobilization during removal of a driver from his/her vehicle. The gravity of what they were witnessing may not have been completely realized, however, until racer Kevin Swindell took the microphone and recounted the moments during and after his own serious accident at last year’s Knoxville Nationals. The room fell silent as Swindell’s words personalized the significance—and the importance—of the ICMS’ mission in racing. Powerful words, indeed.

The following morning, PRI hosted a standing-room only forum on land speed racing. Four panelists—some of the most knowledgeable and accomplished figures in the sport today—addressed, among other topics, conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah. A spirited discussion led to the question posed to all in attendance: Would racers be willing to sit out 2016 in order to focus on replenishing the surface for 2017? Without hesitation, dozens of hands shot up—the vast majority of the room, in fact. Short-track and long-track racers alike clearly grasped the stakes. And that willingness to forego an entire year to benefit the sport’s long-term sustainability demonstrated, at least in my view, an altruism that spoke to what racing—and racers—are all about.         

* ICYMI At PRI: Each year, PRI’s Race industry Week provides the backdrop for motorsports businesses to make important announcements before the assembled racing media, not to mention tens of thousands of qualified Trade Show attendees. This year was no exception. In addition to hundreds of new product launches, and a whirlwind of activity on the Show floor, PRI helped direct attention to several late-breaking industry news items. A quick rundown:

> PAC Racing Springs of Southfield, Michigan, kicked off the reporting cycle with its acquisition of Schroeder Torsion Bar Manufacturing in Burbank, California. The move, according to PAC’s Jason Youd, will increase the company’s manufacturing capabilities while allowing PAC to market new product lines that pair up with its stabilizer bar systems.

> Meantime, the School of Automotive Machinists in Houston, Texas, unveiled at PRI a comprehensive new Motorsports EFI Tuning program to augment its current course offerings. Enrollees will learn about adding performance accessories, modifying power trains, and tuning custom engines in addition to working on suspensions, exhaust systems, dynos and other diagnostic equipment.

> Speaking of SAM, the school has joined forces with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and Holley Performance Products to sponsor a new COPO Camaro class at Holley's 2016 LS Fest at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the companies jointly announced. The “COPO Battle At The Green” will boast an LS Fest-high purse of $10,000-to-win, as organizers look to create the world's largest COPO gathering with at least 32 entries for the inaugural shootout in September.

> Not to be outdone, Corona, California-based Lucas Oil rolled out its worldwide launch of LucasOilRacing.TV, the first 24/7 streaming TV network dedicated solely to motorsports. The new network, which was set to go online January 1, will feature live racing, expanded pre- and post-race action, behind-the-scenes content, unseen interviews, build shows, and an extensive library of motorsports content and racing, including coverage of sprint cars, GT racing, short course off-road racing, modifieds, drag boats, Dirt Late Models, NHRA, stock cars and more.

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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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