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Title Defenders and Top Designers Compete at Pinewood Drag Races

  2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races
  2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races
  John Menzler of Comp Performance Group (top) prepares a run of cars from the Builder's Race group, a set of cars designed by some of the industry's top builders including Rich Evans, Art Morrison and class winners Street Vizions (car bottom row, second from right).

Returning champions were vanquished, former challengers made strong showings, and the industry's leading ladies brought home two inaugural trophies at the third-annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races.

The drags took place July 24 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, and featured hundreds of pinewood cars, most built by children at Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp and sponsored by SEMA-member companies.

The SEMA Businesswomen's Network, running a pinewood car developed by Mitch Williams and Pilot Automotive, took both the Council Cup and Grand National trophies. Justin Hoffend, meanwhile, representing SEMA Show logistics handlers Freeman, avenged his third-place Modified class finish from last year by topping the group this year.

"The taste of victory is sweet," says Joel Ayres, SEMA Cares committe chairman. "I upheld the honor of SEMA Cares by beating Kersting, [Paul] Scooter, Rick [Rollins], [Jim] Cozzie and Mike [Spagnola] in Modified. I was, however, beaten by 11-year-old Justin Hoffend, so next year, Justin, I'm coming for you."

Ayres adds that "seeing the excitement and smiles from the Childhelp Village kids as their cars raced and won made all the effort and work that the committee put in worth it."

The races also featured the popular Builder's Race, offering top designers in the industry a chance to race unique and innovative cars of their own invention. Derek White of Street Vizions won the HRIA-sponsored event.

"SEMA-member companies really stepped up to the challenge of sponsoring every kid-built car—a record 230 cars sponsored," says race organizer Dave Williams of Rampage Products. "That kind of support shows that the SEMA membership cares deeply about these kids and their needs."

Winners of the 2010 Pinewood Drag Races included:

Build It For Me Class

  • Travis White & Janette Hale, Paramount Restyling
  • Hot Rod Industry Alliance
  • Tricel Honeycomb


  • Melanie White, Hellwig Products
  • Nicolas Hoffend, Freeman
  • Chuck Schwartz, ConvExx


  • Justin Hoffend, Freeman
  • Joel Ayres, SEMA Cares Committee
  • Chris Kersting, SEMA


  • Famous Rhodes, eBay Motors
  • Todd Ryden, MSD Ignition
  • Eric Hoffend, Freeman

Council Cup Challenge

  • SEMA Businesswomen's Network

Grand National Trophy

  • SEMA Businesswomen's Network

People's Choice

  • Travis White, Janette Hale, Paramount Restyling
2010 Pinewood Drag Races   2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races  
Some of the 100-plus cars built by the children at Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp.   Although aerodynamically disadvantaged in this heat, we give it up for the Rampage Products Wrangler (second from left).  
2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races   2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races  
Justin Hoffend readies to drop the gates on a Stock class run.   Mike Spagnola (left), Joel Ayres (middle) and freshly shorn Chris Kersting watch their cars run in the Modified class. Ayres and Kersting finished second and third, respectively.  
2010 SEMA Pinewood Derby   2010 Pinewood Drag Races  
eBay Motors, with the outside lane car, interpreting "unlimited" very literally. They won the class.   Rose Kawasaki (left), Erin Gilhuly (middle) and Camee Edelbrock celebrate the SEMA Businesswomen's Network victory in the inaugural Council Cup challenge.  
2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races   2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races  
Travis White and Janette Hale's car, representing Paramount Restyling, won tops in both the Build It For Me class and the People's Choice Award.   Mitch Williams' much-tested and developed pinewood served as the catalyst for the SBN's Council Cup and Grand National trophy awards.  
2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races   2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races  
Nicolas Hoffend took second place in the Stock class, making it a sweep for the family who placed in the top three in the Stock, Modified and Unlimited classes.   Erick Saltrick of Steele Rubber Products presented the Builder's Race trophy to Street Vizions.  
2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races   2010 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races  
The expansion joint at the track's runout created some moments of airborne acrobatics.   Beautiful solid billet "pinewood" from the Builder's Race. See you next year!

Make plans now to attend next year's event! For more information, click here.