People Places & Racing News

Greg Gates Returns to Original Parts Group Inc. as National Sales Manager

Greg Gates
Greg Gates

Greg Gates Returns to Original Parts Group Inc. as National Sales Manager

After five years, retired Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) alumni Greg Gates will return to the company as national sales manager, OPGI’s President and Founder Dave Leonard recently announced to staff members. Gates brings more than 40 years of experience in the automotive industry, 10 of which were dedicated to the OPGI retail sales and RESTOPARTS manufacturing division.

During his previous stint with Original Parts Group, Gates served six years as a sales specialist and four years as director of RESTOPARTS. In his new role as national sales manager, Gates hopes to enhance the customer experience through better service, sales and product-knowledge training.

Champion Brands Parent Company Names New CEO

PLZ Corp—the North American-based specialty aerosol and liquid product manufacturer and parent company of specialty lubricants manufacturer Champion Brands—has announced the appointment of Brett Finley as CEO. Finley, who begins his position on February 15, brings more than 25 years of specialty manufacturing industry leadership experience. He will focus on leveraging R&D resources and product breadth.

Finley joins PLZ from Fortune Brands, a home and security products company, where he served as president of outdoors & security. He oversaw growth initiatives and managed a business segment with 7,800 employees across five business units.

VP RacingVP Racing Fuels Announces New Identity

VP Racing Fuels Inc. has announced the launch of a new identity for the corporation, its products and programs. VP will immediately begin transitioning to the “VP Racing” moniker and a refreshed logo.

“We are excited to announce an updated identity for VP,” said Alan Cerwick, VP Racing's president and CEO. “This change is a better reflection of the vitality of our company and its ever-expanding product and service lines.”

For more information about VP Racing Fuels, visit

RRMCI to Represent TJM USA Throughout North America

TJM USA will now work with R&R Marketing Consultants Inc. (RRMCI) for North American sales and marketing representation, the firm announced. RRMCI will represent TJM USA throughout the United States and Canada.

“We’ve been looking for a partner to support our growth throughout the United States and provide an improved level of service to our growing customer base. RRMCI has a great reputation across the industry, and we look forward to working with the R&R team,” said Matt Logan, head of customer experience, TJM.

Foose Design Starts New Vlog Series

A new, casual Vlog-style video shows the hustle and bustle at Foose Design on a daily basis. Watch Chip Foose juggle multiple client projects at once with nothing but the tools in his hands and a smile on his face. Tune in to Foose Design for more shop updates.

KMC Returns as Official Wheel of 2023 King of the Hammers

KMC Wheels has announced its return as the official wheel sponsor of the King of the Hammers (KOH) off-road racing event. The event attracts participants from across the globe in categories including Ultra4, UTV, everyman, EV and more, and is considered one of the toughest and most grueling off-road races in the world.

This year, KMC Wheels has sponsored the following drivers for the 2023 KOH race event; Bryce Menzies, Casey Currie, Dustin Jones, Darren Parsons, Hollie Fowler, Jacob Versey and the Ampudia Brothers.

Attendees can visit the KMC Wheels booth adjacent to the 4 Wheel Parts Booth in the center of Hammertown and have a chance to win parts and goods from KMC and 4WP, including sets of the new KMC KM549-GRS. Additionally, KMC Wheels has partnered with Progressive Insurance and ON-X Off-Road to bring the KMC Wheels Public Wi-Fi Lounge Presented by Progressive Insurance. Located inside Hammertown, attendees can visit to relax and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi during the event.

Eastman Chemical Acquires Dalian Ai-Red Technology

Eastman Chemical Company has announced it has acquired Ai-Red Technology (Dalian) Co., Ltd., a manufacturer and supplier of paint protection and window film for auto and architectural markets in the Asia Pacific region. This acquisition demonstrates Eastman’s commitment to driving growth in Performance Films and the paint-protection and window-film markets. The investment further strengthens the company’s ability to deliver value as a specialty materials company and expands the service level in China and the Asia Pacific region. This site will align with Eastman Performance Films’ operations and its standard of quality supply into the market.

“This acquisition provides additional capacity to serve the growing demand for our paint-protection and window-film products and creates additional capacity for innovation and product scale-up from our existing operations,” said Erin Bernhardt, vice president and general manager of the Performance Films business of Eastman’s Advanced Materials segment. “By adding this capacity and team to Eastman’s industry-leading team, technologies, and brands, we expect to accelerate an already aggressive growth trajectory in automotive and architectural aftermarket films.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Hypertherm Now Accepting Educational Grant Applications


The program, now in its eighth year, will provide 12 North American schools with a Powermax45 XP air plasma system and in-person training from a Hypertherm product expert.

Hypertherm is now accepting applications for its Spark Something Great educational grant program. The program, now in its eighth year, will provide 12 North American schools with a Powermax45 XP air plasma system and in-person training from a Hypertherm product expert.

The Spark Something Great grant program is meant to support the next generation of welders and metal fabricators by making the newest generation of plasma-cutting equipment and standardized instruction available to schools. To date, the company has awarded systems to 76 schools. This year, applications are due on or before April 1 with grant decisions communicated by May 2. More information, including instructions for applying, is available on Hypertherm’s website

In addition to the grant program, Hypertherm will continue to make all 10 hours of its AWS SENSE-approved “Plasma Cutting Technology: Theory and Practice” curriculum available for free download to teachers.

Lucas Oil Products Announces Additions to Leadership Team

Lucas Oil Products has announced three additions to its leadership team: the hiring of Jason Bonikowske as general counsel and the promotions of Nicole York to vice president of finance and Megan Burakiewicz to vice president of human resources.

Bonikowske previously spent 16 years at CSM Sport and Entertainment (formerly JMI), where he oversaw legal operations, developed internal governance policies, advised executives on risk mitigation and routinely negotiated high-quality sport and entertainment agreements. York, meanwhile, was recognized by the Indiana CPA Society with the Emerging Leader Award in 2021. In her new role, she will supervise activities, including tax preparation, gathering and analyzing financial data and preparing financial reports. Building on her previous role as the director of people operations, Burakiewicz will continue to “foster a flourishing company culture and growth opportunities” as vice president of human resources, the company stated.

Polaris RZR Troy Lee Designs Edition

Polaris and Troy Lee Designs Unveil Limited-Edition RZR Pro R and RZR 200 Models

Polaris Off Road has unveiled two limited-edition offerings in partnership with motocross, mountain bike and action sports brand Troy Lee Designs (TLD)—the ’23 Polaris RZR Pro R Troy Lee Designs Edition and matching RZR 200 EFI Troy Lee Designs Edition. While the RZR 200 EFI Troy Lee Designs Edition marks Polaris’ first-ever limited-edition RZR 200, both limited-edition models carry the TLD race-inspired design aesthetic.

The Polaris-TLD collaboration combines the artistry of Troy Lee with Polaris’ performance-engineering. This is the second time the two brands have come together to deliver a limited-edition offering, previously collaborating on a limited-edition Polaris GENERAL in 2022.  

“We're thrilled to continue our partnership with Troy Lee Designs, offering two limited-edition RZRs that powerfully demonstrate our shared passion for off-roading and our commitment to premium style, performance and safety,” said Reid Wilson, vice president, Polaris Off Road Recreation. “This year, we selected the RZR Pro R and RZR 200 models for the simple fact that they are at the top of their class—the Pro R for its unmatched power and strength, and the RZR 200 for its unique blend of performance and safety features, ideal for unlocking the excitement of off-roading for the next generation of riders.”

The top-tier Ulimate Trim Pro R features a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that delivers 225 hp, a welded one-piece cage, solid box chassis and stronger driveline, plus the adaptive DYNAMIX DV, and all-new Max-Link suspension.

For the young, aspiring riders, Polaris is offering the RZR 200 EFI Troy Lee Designs Edition. Designed for children 10 years or older, the youth side-by-side packs safety features, kid-friendly performance and adjustability to allow the young rider to grow with their machine.

“The RZR Pro R and RZR 200 are both an incredible design canvas. The Pro R has power for days, suspension that delivers a ridiculously smooth ride, and strength to manage anything thrown its way, while the RZR 200 gives the next generation of rider the confidence to tackle the trails,” Lee said.

To learn more about the new RZR Pro R Troy Lee Designs Edition and the RZR 200 Troy Lee Designs Edition, visit the Polaris website.

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