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New Challengers, Top Builders Compete at Pinewood Drag Races

  Pinewood Drags Finish
  Just like real auto races and drags, pinewood winners are determined by tenths, sometimes hundredths, of a second.

The SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, presented by eBay Motors, moved to a new location for 2011—the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California—bringing new challengers and former champions together to race against the clock for a good cause.

The annual drags took place July 29 and featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children at Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp and sponsored by SEMA-member companies. Childhelp is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect, and the Victory Junction Camp is a facility dedicated to enriching the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences.

The Pinewood Drag Races includes three vehicle classes—Stock, Modified and Unlimited. There is also the Build It for Me/Sponsor a Child category, where a child from Childhelp or Victory Junction Camp builds a car and a member-company representative races it on the child's behalf. In addition, the races also feature the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Builder's Challenge and the Council Cup Challenge.

The HRIA Builder's Challenge included uniquely styled pinewoods crafted by an incredible class of hot-rod builders. These design creations will be on display at the HRIA booth during the 2011 SEMA Show, November 1–4, in Las Vegas, before being placed on eBay for public auction. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp children’s charities.

The final heat for this year's Pinewood Drag Races was the Council Cup Challenge—which pits SEMA-member company representatives on SEMA’s 10 councils and committees up against one another for council honor. In 2010, the SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) took the checkered flag in the inaugural Council Cup Challenge and earlier this year, the group put all of the council and committees on notice by proudly stating, "We're ready for win number two!"

As the flag dropped, the SBN's defense of its crown was over in seconds, and a new council group took home the cup—SEMA's Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC).

"It's in our blood," joked Vic Wood, chair-elect of the MPMC. "Honestly, there's a lot of pride in putting together the winning pinewood dragster, but this event goes far beyond winning a race." Wood explained that all the council's efforts and handwork were ultimately dedicated to the children's charities—Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp. "It's a rare opportunity to have this much fun while actually 'working.' I can't tell you how much the children inspired our members, and we'll be back at the track next year to defend our title."


HRIA Builders Challenge:
Winner – Street Vizions
Runner Up – Rich Evans

Unlimited Class:
Winner – Mitch Williams
Runner Up – eBay Motors

Grand National Trophy (fastest time of the meet):
Mitch Williams – 2.85 seconds

Modified Class:
Winner – Tony Schumacher

Stock Class:
Winner – Justin Hoffend

Build it For Me Class:
Winner – Justin Hoffend

SEMA Council Cup
Winner – Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council

Here are some highlights:


Pinewood Car Lineup
  Builders Challenge Cars
Hundreds of pinewood cars, built primarily by the children of Childhelp and the Victory Junction Camp, complete inspection and are readied for the friendly competition.   Specially crafted, uniquely designed pinewood cars, built by a talented class of hot rodders, are featured in the HRIA Builders Challenge. These creations will be on display at the SEMA Show before being placed on eBay for auction.
Grand National Trophy Winner
  Schumacher and Menzler
Mitch Williams (right), former chairman of the SEMA Board of Directors, took first place in the Unlimited Class and had the fastest run of the day at 2.85 seconds, earning him the 2011 Grand National Trophy.
  Tony Schumacher (left), first-place winner in the Modified Class, and John Menzler, who took second in Modified, take a break from some mild trash talk to show off their plaques.
Pinewood Start
  Pinewood Trucks
Pinewood cars ready at the starting line and looking to stay in the competition by qualifying for the next round.
  Stylish entries from Bedslide and Takit show off their curves before taking to the track.