There are times when living in the "Racing Capitol of the World" has definite advantages; and a few weeks ago was one of them. The 2014 PRI Trade Show was in town and for the uninitiated, that's the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show.
Basically the PRI show is the racing industries version of SEMA. When I found out PRI was open to the public for its final day I rearranged my holiday shopping plans to go see what it was all about.
I really didn't know what to expect once I got to PRI, my first discovery was it was at least twice as big as I expected. With 1100 exhibiting companies I quickly learned that the website was likely accurate in their boast: "More new racing products than anywhere on earth." What I did know about PRI was a few race teams had made driver announcements there, and I was hoping to see some nice racecars among the gear, and did I ever boys and girls; did I ever.
Racecar (truck) 2: Robby Gordon's Formula Off-Road Stadium Super Truck.
Racecar 3: Tommy Kendall's Trans-AM Series SRT Challenger.
As PRI is at heart a trade show, the glitz and glamor were more present on the days PRI wasn't open to the public and most of the drivers and celebrities had gone home leaving tired sales reps, a few spokes-models behind.
The Saturday crowd was diverse in their taste in racing. Some wore business khakis, others flannel and camouflage; and still others swag of their favorite team or driver. A few of these guests, like myself, were interested race fans, but many were independent owners or teams looking for a deal on parts or sponsored equipment.
Racecar 4: Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster The Sarge.
Racecar 5: Don O'Neal's Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Within twenty minutes of walking into PRI I recognized a few things. The surprising lack of spokes-models, the lack of car noise, and I was lost. Don't get me wrong I like pretty girls wearing tight clothing but I think as a marketing method it works only on a narrow section of the market an potentially offends the fastest growing market of fans. While their absence was comforting it was noticeable given their prevalence at other racing oriented events.
Wow! Check them out!
Now being lost amongst pinion gears, cylinder heads and brake pads isn't a bad place to be so I wondered about the outskirts until I felt I must have made a full loop and then I wandered the isles… for a few hours.
Racecar 6: Mark Lounsbury VAC BMW Club Racer
Racecar 7: Gray Gaulding's #20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet.
Instead of girls many of the booths had cars. The type of car and the size of the car didn't matter all that mattered to these folks was that they were racecars. Some of these unobstructed images took ten minuets or more for a big enough gap in the crowd to pass in my shot because it seems people cant look at a racecar from ten feet away when they can be two inches away.
These racecars, in my opinion, worked better than spokes-models in; they drew the attendee's into the display area where they saw the sponsors name and products. The few booths that had models the attendees were drawn by the woman, and were openly gawking her rather than the product.
I'm a son of a mechanic so I know what most of these things are but I don't want to put anyone to sleep, and you know a picture is worth.....
Gears out of the box.
Really Big Varoom VAROOM Box
GoGo Juice Injector thingy.
3 is better than 2.
All that is important here is Sequential, and Mazda...all yours for $13k. About twice as much as a good used Miata.
Oh look, another racecar.
Racecar 8: Mike Skeen's CPR Racing PWC Audi R8.
Racecar 9: Scott Bloomquist Late Model.
Racecar 10: Jacque Villeneuve's BAR Honda.
Racecar 11: Lawson Aschenbach's PWC Black Dog Speed Shop GTS Camaro.
I really was lost in this venue. One thing after another drew my eye and I had to force myself to stay focused and not wonder off my path. To get sidetracked would mean to miss something.
Oh look at that. That's interesting.
GoGo Juice Containment Vessel.
Aw how cute. A tiny little turbo.
Big Ass V8 Supercar Brake Rotor.
Strange Rear End sounds like a personal problem.
A don't break your neck thing...kid size. Also fits kids not named Hans.
And speaking of kids; there were some future racers and racing fans in attendance. So the gear and vehicles were on hand to be gawked at.
Racecar 12: U.S. Legend Cars International
Racecar (truck) 13: Mini Monster Truck.
I hadn't expected the kids stuff amongst the ring and pinions, headers and gaskets, but then the room opened off to my right and there was an entirely new room full of more stuff I hadn't expected.
Machines amongst the cars. New dazleing contraptions, mills, lathes, 4 axis, and then 5. Finally the show had sound, a machine smell. It actually felt more like a garage than the flea market atmosphere of the main hall.
Stratassys Eden260V 3D Printer. (Very COOL This)
3D Printed Stuff.
Old school but still necessary Rollers, Cutters, Benders. They were all here too.
Ultrasonic Parts cleaner.
Mazak Integrex J-200s 5Axis CNC Machine.
I watched mesmerized by the machines picking their next tool. They weren't just making things they were making racecar parts which made it that much more interesting to me.
I know I know. You want more racecars already.
Racecar 14: Greg Dorman's Subaru WRX.
Racecar 15: Turner Motorsports BMW Z4.
Racecar 16: Corvette Racing Garcia/Magnussen TUSC GTLM
Racecar 17: Wayne Taylor Racing TUSC DP Corvette. Taylor/Taylor/Angelelli
Racecar 18: TRG Aston Martin.
This was certainly the cornucopia of racecars. Road racing, drag racing, rally cars, street performance and even some salt flats speed record cars. I was surprised to not find drifting (admittedly not "racecars") but I did find a few 2 wheel things.
Wait...What? Because Turbos.
And there were non-racecars
Supper Sleeper Farm Truck.
A 1965 Cub Cadet...
...Slightly modified with 85 Horse Power, and 75 Foot Pounds of torque.
An EcoBoost Custom.
And a Street Performance Dodge.
Maybe in the future; if, as we hope is the case for all racing, this show expands beyond its core; it can encompass more performance sports.
Until then we'll have to settle for some old favorites.
Some common bits.
A trussed up mullet.
Some old favorites.
Racecar 19: Josef Newgarden's Sarah Fisher/Hartman Chevrolet IndyCar.
Open Wheel Modified cars.
Racecar 20: A Chumpcar.
Racecar 21: Andretti Autosport USAC Silver Crown
Bruce McLaren...sort of.
If you're in Indy next "Off Season" and the PRI show is on. Come in on the last day and maybe you'll see some cool racecars like these.
Racecar 22: The Stupidbaker.
Racecar 23: Robert Stout's PWC FR-S
Or maybe this.
Racecar 24: Grassroots racing V8 MGB.
There were more cars than I had time to see at the PRI Show. More bits, parts, a Mohawk, and mullets, pistons, gaskets, screws, wiring looms, lights, roll cages and helmets. There were wheels and wrenches, injectors, manifolds, and the machines that make them than you can really see in one day. Maybe next year the PRI Show will be bigger, maybe there will be more than one day open to the public.
Until next year enjoy this BIG Boom Box.
And this Porsche:
Racecar 25: Colin Thompson Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
All Photos taken by the author.
Racecar 1: RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT Pirelli Wold Challenge car. Peter Cunningham announced the signing of Ryan Eversley for 2015 at the PRI Show.
Sorry I couldn't help myself.
Encouragement and enthusiasm will only result in future posts heavy with photo's and a growing number of words. Possibly even a actual paragraph.
So be careful what you wish for.