Celebrate With the Industry, Raise Money for Charity at SEMA Installation & Gala, Pinewood Drag Races

By Chad Simon

Installation and Gala Last year, nearly 500 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the SEMA Installation & Gala to pay tribute to the specialty-equipment industry’s pioneers and dedicated volunteers.

Pinewood Drag RacesHeld in conjunction with the SEMA Installation & Gala, the SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races will take place Friday, July 20, 2018, at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, in Universal City, California.

Join friends and colleagues for the SEMA Installation & Gala, Friday, July 20, from 6:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m., at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, in Universal City, California. This special evening honors the specialty-equipment industry’s pioneers and dedicated volunteers, 2018 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees—Donnie Eatherly, Ed Pink and Chris Thomson—and the association’s incoming and outgoing Board members.

The 2018 SEMA Installation & Gala will feature up-and-coming industry leaders and esteemed icons from the automotive accessories world. The celebration will include a cocktail reception, where the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races will take place, and dinner will follow. Purchasing a pinewood car is one of the easiest ways to contribute to SEMA Cares.

All SEMA-member companies are invited to join the festivities, but seats are limited, so register now at

Once again held in conjunction with the SEMA Installation & Gala, the SEMA Cares 2018 Pinewood Drag Races will take place during the cocktail reception, shortly before the gala begins. Each year, hundreds of SEMA-member companies step up to generously sponsor pinewood cars, with 100% of the proceeds going to qualified SEMA Cares charities. To learn more and register, visit

SEMA members can race either a car or a truck in three classes: Build It For Me (BIFM), Stock and Unlimited. Members can either sponsor child-built cars and trucks in the BIFM or Stock Class, or they can build and enter their own SEMA-supplied stock car or truck. Stock-Class racing usually garners the most entries with a typical speed of 3.2 seconds on a 50-ft. track. For hardcore speed enthusiasts, the Unlimited Class has only one rule—that one item from the stock kit be used. Cars in this class run sub-3 seconds, and many of the past top builders include some of the most recognized names in the industry.

SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races special features include the annual HRIA Builders Challenge and the Council Cup. Watch as some of the biggest names in hot rodding build state-of-the-art custom pinewoods that will be raced and then auctioned off, with all of the proceeds going to SEMA Cares. Council members are invited to come out and challenge their peers for the opportunity to win the coveted Council Cup. The more cars or trucks fielded by each council member, the greater their chances of winning.

Now in its second year, the Industry Cup Challenge features five divisions where sponsoring companies race child-built pinewood cars. Each division crowns a winning company, which then goes on to represent that division in an all-out industry race to No. 1. The industry challengers each have a limited number of entrants in the following divisions: Warehouse Distributors, Manufacturers, Media Groups, Rep Agencies and Service Providers. The champion can display the trophy for a year with its company name engraved among the winners. It must then be returned, in a Stanley Cup-style tradition, as it will be up for grabs again at the next Pinewood Drag Races, where the company will have a chance to defend their title. The donation cost is $1,000 per sponsoring company. The standard pinewood build rules apply to all competing vehicles. Vehicles are randomly assigned and the race is officiated by SEMA Cares volunteers.

Proceeds from the races will benefit SEMA Cares charities, including The Austin Hatcher Foundation, Childhelp and Victory Junction. Childhelp assists abused and neglected children by providing counseling and programs in a safe and secure living environment. Victory Junction provides a camp experience for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses who otherwise would not be able to go. Sponsoring a SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races car or truck is easy and rewarding. Help a child in need today!

Register for the Installation & Gala at

2017 Pinewood Drag Race Winners:

Build-It-For-Me Class:WeatherTech
Stock Class:Keystone Automotive Operations
Unlimited Class:Dave Williams, Go Rhino Products
Industry Cup Challenge:Allied Exhaust