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SEMA Members Race for a Good Cause

The SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, sponsored by eBay Motors, featured hundreds of pinewood cars—built by children from Victory Junction and Childhelp and sponsored by SEMA-member companies—racing against the clock for bragging rights and to support these two worthwhile charities.
John Menzler (left) of Competition Cams ran the track at the Pinewood Drag Races, while Joe Sebergandio of Motor Media called the races.

The SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, presented by eBay Motors—held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, Friday, July 27—brought new challengers and former champions together to race against the clock for a good cause.

The annual drags featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children at Childhelp and Victory Junction 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 included three vehicle classes—Stock, Modified and Unlimited. There was also the Build It for Me/Sponsor a Child category, where a child from Childhelp or Victory Junction built a car and a member-company representative raced it on the child's behalf. In addition, the races also featured 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 2012 SEMA Show, October 30–November 2, 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 children’s charities.

The final heat for this year's Pinewood Drag Races was the Council Cup Challenge—which pitted SEMA-member company representatives on SEMA’s 10 councils and committees up against one another for council honor. In 2011, SEMA's Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) took the checkered flag in the inaugural Council Cup Challenge.

As the flag dropped, a new champion was crowned—SEMA's Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA).

The full list of winners, by class, included:

Build it for Me

1st: AJ Kuck, Transfer Flow
2nd: Kim Ziebell, Bushwacker
3rd: Mandi Woodell, Weathers Auto Supply


1st: Nate and Tom Gattuso, SEMA
2nd: SEMA Busineswomen's Network
3rd: Travis and Janette White, Rampage Products (with Childhelp children)


1st: Eric Saltrick, Matt Agosta, Steele Rubber Products
2nd: Nicholas Hoffend, Freeman Co.
3rd: Chuck Schwartz, ConVexx


1st: John Menzler, Competition Cams
2nd: Russell Stephens, MSD Ignition
3rd: Nicholas Hoffend, Freeman Co.

Council Cup

Weathers Auto Supply, sponsored by TORA and represented by George Lathouris, TORA council chairman

Builder's Race

Derek White, Street Vizions (three-time defending champion)