People Places & Racing News

Movers & Shakers: McKernan Named Chairman of NHRA Museum Board; Hose Candy Partners With Ringbrothers

Thomas V. McKernan
McKernan Named Chairman of NHRA Museum Board
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California has announced that board member Thomas V. McKernan, chairman of the board of the Automobile Club of Southern California, will assume the role of museum board chairman effective immediately. In this role, McKernan succeeds NHRA founder Wally Parks’ longtime friend and SO-CAL Speed Shop founder Alex Xydias, who will continue to be an active board member. McKernan has served as a board member since 2010.

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California opened to the public in 1998 based on the vision to preserve the history of the NHRA and America’s love affair with hot rods, speed records and classic automobiles.

In addition to its presenting sponsorship of the museum, the relationship includes naming rights for Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, entitlement rights of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, entitlement of the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, entitlement of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis, sponsorship of the Auto Club Road to the Future Award annually recognizing the sport’s professional rookie of the year, and presenting sponsorships of the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky and the California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California.

In addition, Auto Club is the presenting sponsor of the NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick

Driven Brands Appoints New CEO
Driven Brands Inc. has appointed Jonathan Fitzpatrick as the company’s new president and CEO. He succeeds Kenneth D. Walker, who is retiring July 6. Driven Brands is the parent of Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting, Meineke Car Care Centers, Econo Lube N’ Tune, AutoQual, Aero Colours, Drive N Style and

Fitzpatrick brings more than 15 years of experience in franchising and global operations, most recently as executive vice president, chief brand and operations officer of Burger King, where he has worked since 2005.

JE Pistons to Relocate Manufacturing Center in Ohio; Announces New Sales and Engineering Center in Southern California
JE Pistons is relocating its advanced manufacturing center to Mentor, Ohio. The decision to relocate is part of an ongoing effort to be closer to the majority of JE customers, improve delivery and expand capabilities, according to the company. Earlier this year, JE Pistons announced the company was expanding its manufacturing capabilities east of the Mississippi to reduce lead times and shipping costs for customers.  

The relocation will occur in stages from July through November 2012 and will involve moving more than 75 of the company's modern CNC machines and supporting equipment.

According to the company, JE Pistons will make additional investments in research and development, product design and lead-time reduction systems. The company has made a capital investment of more than $1 million to the Mentor, Ohio, facility.

In addition, JE Pistons will retain a strong presence in Southern California, establishing a new sales and engineering center to maintain all sales, customer service and product engineering roles. The sales team will remain in place, so JE customers will continue to utilize their existing contacts to conduct business in the same manner.  

Tracy L. Teuscher, APR

Motorz Selects Tracy Teuscher as Director of Communications and Business Development   
Motorz has announced the selection of Tracy L. Teuscher, APR, as director of communications and business development. Teuscher, president of The Buzz Maker! public relations firm, is an accredited communications specialist and 14-year veteran of the automotive aftermarket industry.

In this hybrid role, Teuscher will be responsible for the development, implementation and management of the company’s internal and external communications programs, as well as the further development of advertising and sponsorship programs. Teuscher will continue to fulfill her current role with The Buzz Maker! 

   hose candy
Hose Candy has partnered with Ringbrothers.

Hose Candy Announces Partnership With Ringbrothers
Oomph! Labs, manufacturer of the Hose Candy line of performance products, has announced a new partnership with custom vehicle builder Ringbrothers LLC.

Mike and Jim Ring, owners of Ringbrothers, will incorporate Hose Candy products into their vehicle builds for car shows and events. In addition, they will develop custom Ringbrothers-branded Hose Candy kits and offer Hose Candy products for sale to enthusiasts and other builders. 

The Hose Candy line includes Hose Candy Sidewinders—a quick-coupler system designed to transform the look, performance and efficiency of vacuum and turbo hoses of any vehicle with aluminum CNC quick couplers that can prevent vacuum leaks, withstand high underhood temperatures and allow users to quickly attach diagnostic equipment for vacuum and pressure gauge readings. Hose Candy also makes Hose Skins featuring Skinposite carbon fiber and kevlar technology, which are designed to protect the radiator and other hoses.

Washdrops “Name Our Frog” Promo to Award $600 and Prizes

Washdrops, the new hoseless, biodegradable car wash and shine solution from Cequent Consumer Products, is asking America to “name our frog” for a chance to win $600 and a Washdrops prize package. Anyone can submit a name for the product’s mascot—a green frog. Top names will be selected, and the public will be able to vote to finally give the Washdrops frog a name.

The frog is the face of Washdrops and appears on all of its promotional advertising, including Washdrops videos and product bottles, but is in need of a name. To submit a name, visit or now through July 10, 2012, to enter for a chance to win a $600 Visa gift card and a $40 Washdrops prize package, including a supply of Washdrops and complementary car-care cleaning tools. Cequent will review the entries and select several of the best names submitted from qualified entrants. The top names will be posted on, where the public can vote for their favorite name for the frog July 11–31, 2012. The winner will be announced on national radio program, The Bob Long Show, and on Washdrops Facebook page Sunday August 5, 2012. 

Rodrigo Meirelles

Fras-le Hires New Vice President and General Manager for North American and European Operations
Fras-le, a friction materials manufacturer, has appointed Rodrigo Meirelles as vice president and general manager for its North American and European operations. Meirelles will oversee the growth of Fras-le’s business in both markets, effective immediately.

Meirelles will oversee the production launch of heavy-duty brake linings at Fras-le’s manufacturing facility in Prattville, Alabama, later this year. According to the company, it will be the first time in Fras-le’s history that it produces heavy-duty brake lining in the United States. Meirelles is based in Michigan, near Fras-le’s North American headquarters. He will divide his time between Fras-le’s operations in the United States, Germany and Brazil.

Meirelles brings 17 years of diversified global management experience in the commercial vehicle industry to his new role. He last served as commercial director of commercial vehicles for the Eaton Corp. in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Meirelles also has extensive international experience in the vehicle industry in North America, South America, Europe, Japan, China, India, South Africa and Australia.

Ben Knaus

Ben Knaus Joins Hellwig Products as Product Development Engineer
Hellwig Products Co. Inc. has hired Ben Knaus as a product development engineer. Knaus comes to Hellwig with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is an off-road enthusiast with knowledge of off-road suspension.

Kelly Ruiz Joins AOTech’s Sales Team

AOTech, the North American Distributor for Asfir 4x4, has announced the hiring of its new territory sales manager, Kelly Ruiz.

Asfir 4x4 has turned over part of its sales division of its aluminum skid plate division to Ruiz, who has 15 years of sales and customer service experience. Her primary focus will be on dealer and consumer sales. In addition to boosting sales, she has plans to focus on offering dealer support and building industry partnerships.

ASA Automotive Systems Partners with ClearMechanic

ASA Automotive Systems, a provider of software systems and services to tire dealers and auto repair shops, and ClearMechanic, developer of automotive repair visual explanation technology, have aligned to deliver mobile applications, illustration content and web-based tools to help auto repair centers earn the trust of car owners and close complex automotive repair sales.
With the integration of ASA software and ClearMechanic, auto technicians will be able to "visually explain" repair recommendations with real-time photos, videos and illustrations, according to the companies. Technicians can attach photos of the necessary repair on a customer’s vehicle and associate it with illustrations, along with the explanation of why the work is needed, and electronically communicate the information to the customer via e-mail.

Yokohama will run its “Home Team Pride” jersey promotions for the Los Angeles Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yokohama Tire Corp. to Run "Home Team Pride" Jersey Promotions With Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies

Yokohama Tire Corp. is set to run its “Home Team Pride” jersey promotions as part of its continued sponsorships of two Major League Baseball teams—the Los Angeles Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies. It is the third year with the Angels and the second year with the Phillies.

The promotions consist of a free Angels or Phillies jersey with the purchase of four Yokohama tires from participating retailers. They will run from July 1 to August 15.

Generally, the sponsorship includes signage behind home plate, on the first and third base lines, and in the outfield; pre-game, post-game and in-game spots on the teams’ flagship radio stations throughout the season; and in-stadium displays and in-game announcements on the public address system and LED scoreboard.

In addition to the Phillies and Angels, Yokohama’s 2012 baseball sponsorships include a deal with the New York Yankees. Yokohama also has existing partnerships with three National Football League teams—the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

Collector Car Leader RK Motors Taps Bill Park to Head RKM Performance Center

RK Motors, a restorer, re-seller and servicer of classic, muscle and high-performance cars, has hired automotive industry veteran Bill Park as the company’s vice president of service. Park will oversee all internal and external services delivered through the RKM Performance Center, which will open a new Mooresville, North Carolina, facility in August.

Park has experience in all facets of business development, including start-ups, process development, financial literacy, acquisitions and operational restructuring. Most recently president and CEO of Big Sky Autobody in Arizona, he has trained and consulted with businesses in the automotive industry for more than 20 years. Park founded and operated several businesses himself over the years, ranging from small entities to a medium-sized, 100-employee corporation. He has also been involved in top industry groups, such as SEMA.