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Movers & Shakers: Hot Wheels Legends Tour Returns; Truck Hero Acquires Backrack Truck Racks

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Hot Wheels
The Hot Wheels Legends Tour is making 18 stops looking for cars that embody Hot Wheels’ standards for performance and design. 

Hot Wheels Legends Tour Returns

The Hot Wheels Legends Tour—a national traveling car show searching for a lifesize custom car worthy of being made into a Hot Wheels toy car—is currently underway. The tour kicked off in Miami last month and will make 18 stops looking for cars that embody Hot Wheels’ standards for performance and design. The winning vehicle will also be inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends. At each stop, fans will show off their custom builds to a team of judges consisting of Hot Wheels designers, automotive experts and influencers, who will select one finalist based on the criteria of authenticity, creativity and garage spirit. At the end of the tour, one finalist from each of the 18 stops will win a trip to the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where their custom creations will be judged side-by-side to determine which one will be made into a die-cast car sold around the world. Upcoming stops include Bentonville (May 11), Charlotte (May 25), Philadelphia (June 1), New York City (June 15), Detroit (June 29), Chicago (July 13), St. Louis (July 27), Denver (August 10), Seattle (August 24), Phoenix (September 7), San Jose (September 21), San Diego (October 5) and Los Angeles (October 19). The tour will also make a special stop at Hot Wheels headquarters in El Segundo, California, May 18, to celebrate the brand’s 51st birthday. International stops will be announced later in 2019.

To learn more about how the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, visit and follow #HotWheelsLegendsTour.

Truck Hero Inc. Announces Acquisition of Backrack Truck Racks

Truck Hero Inc. has announced the strategic acquisition of Backrack LLC, marking Truck Hero’s 14th acquisition since its formation in 2007. The transaction terms were not disclosed. 

VP Racing
VP Racing Fuels Inc. has opened its first-ever VP Fastlube quick lube center in Fredricksburg, Texas. 

VP Racing Fuels Opens First-Ever VP Fastlube Oil Change Center

VP Racing Fuels Inc. has announced the opening of its first-ever VP Fastlube quick lube centers in Fredricksburg, Texas. VP Fastlube offers a credit card program with low rates, a preferred supplier program and savings on bulk oils.

LIFT and Center for Automotive Research Seek to Optimize New Joining Methods for Auto Industry

Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national manufacturing innovation institute operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), has announced a new project with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) to test and evaluate mixed-material joining technologies. This project, part of LIFT’s Fast Forge program, is led by LIFT and CAR, and partners include CAR’s Coalition for Lightweighting Materials (CALM) working group and LIFT members. The project team will test various joining technologies and recommend the most optimal ones for specific material combinations. The results of this study will be published in the public domain and shared at various industry events, thereby increasing awareness and reducing the technology qualification barrier. The project, valued at $500,000, will take place in four phases to be completed by October 31. The three phases include data collection, survey and application-specific technology selections; computer-aided simulation studies; coupon-level testing; and ranking of technologies for each material combination for specific applications, including front structure, underbody, roof, body sides, rear-end and closures. More information on how to submit project ideas can be found at

Marx Buscemi
Tommi Viita

Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group Hires Tommi Viita as Graphic and Digital Designer

Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group (MBE Group), a full-service marketing communications agency, has hired Tommi Viita as a graphic and digital designer. Viita joins MBE Group after several years at ArcticFX Graphics LLC, as senior graphic designer and assistant brand manager. During his time with ArcticFX Graphics, Viita designed advertising and branding campaigns for the powersports aftermarket. He also worked as a freelance graphic designer starting in 2016 and has extensive experience with print production and client relations. At MBE Group, he will design traditional and digital advertising campaigns, product packaging, lead brand identity and web design projects and will collaborate on client branding and advertising programs. 

Rancho Sponsors Multiple High School Auto Shops Through 2019 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program

Rancho has sponsored the automotive programs at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, and R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas, through the 2019 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program—a new education and youth-engagement program aimed at increasing automotive customization curriculum in high-school automotive technology programs nationwide. Each school received a Rancho 3.5-in. short-arm system, Rancho upper control arms (front/rear), Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks and a Rancho RS5000 steering stabilizer for their respective Jeep Wrangler TJ project builds. Students building the ’02 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport at C.D. Hylton High School are completing a frame-off restoration. The automotive program at R.L. Turner High School plans to fully customize its ’04 Jeep Wrangler TJ. The five vehicles utilized in this SEMA program will be completed by the end of the 2019 school year and sold, with the proceeds to be reinvested in next year’s SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program. For more information about the SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program, visit the program’s website.

Fourth Annual DEI Cruise-In Co-sponsored by the City of Avon Lake Scheduled for June 15

DEI and the City of Avon Lake, Ohio, have announced the fourth annual DEI Cruise-In. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, from 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m., and will be held again at Weiss Baseball Fields located at 33401 Webber Rd., across from DEI headquarters. Free to the public, this event will feature an array of custom cars, trucks and motorcycles, vintage first responder and military vehicles, race cars and the Bernie Moreno Exotic and Luxury vehicle row. Proceeds from T-shirt sales will benefit Valor Home of Lorain County, a transitional housing program for homeless male veterans that serves 100,000 people each year.

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