SEMA Leadership Set to Compete Heads-Up at Pinewood Drag Races

  Jim Cozzie, SEMA's immediate past chairman, gives a few pointers on how to win at the Pinewood Drag Races to the kids of Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp.

To add a twist to the Pinewood Drag Races—held in conjunction with the 2010 SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, July 23–24, and benefitting the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp charities—SEMA leadership has agreed to challenge one another to a race-off in the modified class division.

It all started when Joel Ayres, chairman of SEMA Cares, laid down the gauntlet to Rick Rollins, SEMA Board chairman; Scooter Brothers, chair-elect; Jim Cozzie, immediate past chair; Dave Williams, Pinewood Drag Committee chair; Mike Spagnola, Car Show Committee chair; and Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.

“It began with some smack talk about my racing ability, since I’m in the truck accessory business, and I figured I’d let it be decided on the track,” Ayres said. “I look forward to embarrassing these leaders of our industry and, at the same time, taking their entry fee money to help the kids at Childhelp and Victory Junction. My car will be carrying the SEMA Cares logo on it as it crosses the finish line first.”

“I have unwavering confidence in my team and the car they’re building for us,” Cozzie said. “In the previous two years, I chose to build my entry myself. This year, the team of future engineers and designers is on the task of producing a winning entry.”

“SEMA-member companies are stepping up to compete for the coveted Council Cup and a chance at the Grand National Champion title with several members of the SEMA Board of Directors vying for bragging rights in this year’s SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races,” Williams said. “We have seen the competition heating up with some trash talk going on, but in the end, it’s all for the kids and what could be a more fun way to raise funds for them than racing cars? Even if one Board member does have a personal Pinewood wind tunnel, he has yet to produce a winning car. In fact, the Kersting girls’ car beat him last year with their first attempt.

“If you want to participate but cannot build a car, you can sponsor a kid-built car for $95,” Williams continued. “Where else can you own your own race team for less than $100 and help the kids at the same time? This is a perfect event to foster camaraderie and the competitive spirit of our industry and help these awesome charities at the same time. Challenge a friend or colleague to race you on July 24.”

“Team Spagnola will be showing up with a 1/8-scale working wind tunnel complete with a working smoke wand,” Spagnola said. “For a small fee, we will wind-tunnel test your derby car. I just hope we don't set off any smoke-detecting fire alarms.”

“The Pinewood Drag Races really do bring out the best in our industry,” Kersting said. “The passion, the competitive spirit, the ingenuity—it’s all there and all for a great cause. And while some of the high-profile participants seem to be spending much of their time boasting of their inevitable victory, I’ll let my on-track performance do the talking for me. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to another great event and an even better showing this year.”

For more information, contact Lisa Moreno at or 909/978-6684.