By Chad Simon
About 400 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the annual SEMA Installation Gala, themed "Leaders & Legends," at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, Friday, July 18
The SEMA Pinewood Drag Races featured hundreds of pinewood cars racing against the clock for bragging rights and to support SEMA Cares charities.
Kinsley Parsons of Victory Junction lifts the gates to start the races.
Kathryn Reinhardt of Magnaflow and Dave Williams, Pinewood sub-committee chairman, lift the gates for the Council Cup Finals, where the SEMA Businesswomen's Network took first place.
About 400 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the annual SEMA Installation Gala, themed "Leaders & Legends," at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, Friday, July 18, to honor 2014 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees Nick Cornelison, Jim Cozzie, John Menzler and Fred C. Offenhauser, and raise money for the SEMA Cares charities. They also came to thank departing SEMA Board of Directors members and welcome new members.
The day’s activities kicked-off with the Pinewood Drag Races. The winners, by class, included:
1st place: SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN)
2nd place: Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
3rd place: Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)
HRIA Builder’s Race
1st place: Jesse Greening, Greening Auto Co.
2nd place: Theresa Contreras, L&G Enterprises
3rd place: James Crosby, Ride Tech
Build It for Me
1st place: Peter MacGillivray, SEMA
2nd place: Dave Seay, Virginia Motor Speedway
3rd place: Patrick Cripe, Curt Manufacturing
1st place: Mark Turner, Daystar
2nd place: Lee McGuire, Skyjacker Suspension
3rd place: Jeff Fink, Advantage Truck
1st place: Nick and AJ Gramelspacher, Meyer Distributing
2nd place: Kathryn Reinhardt, Magnaflow
3rd place: Janette Hale, Motorcar Parts of America
1st place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts, New track record: 2.894
2nd place: Mitch Williams, Trim parts
3rd place: Kristi Menzler-Becker, Tribute Truck: 1/48 scaled replica of John Menzler's F-150 daily driver
"Another great day of SEMA Pinewood drag racing in Pomona concluded with six classes of vehicles competing for another year's worth of bragging rights," said Dave Williams, Pinewood sub-committee chairman. "We witnessed a new track record of 2.894 turned out by Mitch Williams in the Unlimited class as well as the reigning Council Cup champions SBN defending their title in the final Council Cup heat showcased during the Gala. In addition, the HRIA Builder’s Race had a new champion crowned with Jesse Greening turning in a blazing bright billet torpedo that shot down the track like a rocket towards the moon. In the end, we had about 200 kid-built vehicles sponsored, lubed with WD-40 and raced down the 40-ft. track to raise more than $20,000 for SEMA Cares' charities."
After the races, a reception at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona launched the evening’s Installation Gala. Emcee Dave McClelland hosted the ceremonies honoring SEMA Hall of Fame inductees and incoming and outgoing Board members. Joel Ayres, SEMA Cares Committee immediate past chairman, and Luanne Brown, chairman, presented the evening's opening remarks.
Renowned comedian and self-enshrined "SEMA Hall of Famer" Sinbad provided the laughs before Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO, took the stage to welcome everyone to the 2014 event. On behalf of the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts, Alex Xydias was welcomed to the stage to accept a $500,000 donation from the Margie and Robert E. Pertersen Foundation. Afterward, Jimmy Shine of SO-CAL Speed Shop introduced the Hall of Fame inductees, and Nate Shelton, chairman of the Board, provided the Gala's closing remarks.
Later in the evening, outgoing Board members, JR Moore, director of warehouse operations, Performance Warehouse, and Steve Wolcott, president and CEO, ProMedia LLC, were honored and thanked for their substantial contributions to the industry. The newly elected members to the SEMA Board of Directors include Greg Adler, CEO, Transamerican Auto Parts, and Tim Martin COO, K&N Engineering.
At the end of the night, McClelland took the microphone and concluded by once again congratulating the Hall of Fame inductees and new Board members and thanking everyone for attending. In the meantime, the countdown until Show time begins.
The Pinewood Drag Races feature more than 200 gravity-powered toy cars made from a block of wood, plastic wheels and metal axles, and is a fundraiser for SEMA Cares—an industry group that supports various children charities.
A handful of collector cars were stationed outside the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona.
The SEMA Cares Committee raised more than $20,000 from the sale of Pinewood cars for its children's charities.
The 2014 SEMA Board of Directors.
As always, the legendary Dave McClelland emceed the 2014 Installation Gala in Pomona.
Joel Ayres and Luanne Brown of SEMA Cares urged Gala attendees to support children's charities by purchasing Pinewood cars.
SO-CAL Speed Shop's Jimmy Shine interviews Rose Kawasaki, SBN chairman, outside the banquet room right before the Council Cup Finals.
Comedian Sinbad provided lots of laughs with his SEMA Hall of Fame induction speech.
Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO, took the stage after Sinbad's performance to welcome everyone to the 2014 event.
On behalf of the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts, Gigi Carleton and Alex Xydias accept a $500,000 donation from the Margie and Robert E. Pertersen Foundation.
Jimmy Shine introduced the 2014 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees.
Nile Cornelison started Direct Communications Inc. (DCi) in 1982—the same year he was named SEMA Person of the Year. He was a pioneer in electronic cataloging, helping the industry by getting data into the hands of those who needed the information to sell product.
Kristi Menzler-Becker accepted Hall of Fame recognition on behalf of her father, John Menzler, COMP Performance Group, who passed away last year. Menzler, who was named SEMA Person of the year in 2011, achieved numerous honors throughout the course of his life. Through his volunteer work and role as a mentor, Menzler was known as the "ambassador" for the industry.
Clay Smith, son of "Speedy" Bill Smith, accepted Hall of Fame recognition on behalf of the late Fred C. Offenhauser, who founded Offenhauser Sales Corp. He was an early industry pioneer who developed innovative high-performance intake manifolds that helped thousands of enthusiasts to get more performance out of their average street machines. His innovations helped to attract a new market of limited-budget enthusiasts.
Jim Cozzie, managing partner of Brenton Productions, found his calling in the automotive performance world at an early age. Through his leadership as SEMA chairman, SEMA was able to weather the storm during the height of the economic recession in 2008–2009. Cozzie was also a driving force behind the SEMA Education Institute and CU-ICAR program with Clemson University.
Nate Shelton, SEMA chairman of the Board, provided the Gala's closing remarks.
JR Moore of Performance Warehouse is recognized for his service as an outgoing Board member.
Outgoing Board member Steve Wolcott of ProMedia LLC is thanked for his service.
Greg Adler of Transamerican Auto Parts is welcomed as a newly elected Board member.
Tim Martin of K&N Engineering joins the SEMA Board of Directors as a newly elected member.