SEMA News - July 2009

By Annie Kang


Honoring and Celebrating the Industry While Giving to Those in Need

SEMA News-July 2009-Gala 1
SEMA Chairman Jim Cozzie honors his peers at the 2008 Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser. Cozzie will be defending his first-place win in the Unlimited class at the second annual Pinewood Drag Race.

Nothing brings together the specialty-equipment community more than when industry leaders and pioneers are honored, charitable causes are served, cars are displayed and peers have the opportunity to compete against each other in the ultimate drag race. The SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser—to be held Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California—is the culmination of SEMA Leadership Days, a three-day event filled with activities that celebrate the spirit of the industry and its members.

The Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser recognizes the dedicated service of the SEMA Board of Directors—a wholly volunteer group of talented individuals who are elected by the membership to lead the association in its efforts. As the outgoing directors are thanked, those who have been newly elected to serve the association are welcomed.

The 2009 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees will also be announced at the gala. The inductees will be honored for their dedication, service and devotion to their businesses and the industry.

The gala will be preceded by the second annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Race, presented by eBay Motors, which will be held from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. The drag race, which raised approximately $40,000 last year, will benefit children’s charities Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. Childhelp is an organization that assists abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction Gang Camp provides life-changing camping experiences to disabled and chronically ill children.

Miniature race cars are built for the stock class by children at their camps and then sponsored by participants through their donations to the charities. This year, about 200 cars were built at the Childhelp camp and 150 at the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

A team of SEMA-member volunteers and Pinewood Committee members were on hand to lend their expertise to the children.

“The build days we had this year were simply fantastic,” said 2009 SEMA Pinewood Drag Race Committee Chairman Gregory Parker. “The joy on those kids’ faces as they built their own racers and raced them down the tracks was something to see.”

SEMA News-July 2009-Gala 2  
Spectators anticipating the big win at the 2008 SEMA Pinewood Drag Race. Participants can sponsor derby cars that were built by the kids of Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp, or they can design their own entries.

Participants who sponsor a child’s car will be designated as the team owner and will race under the child’s name.

“We have to work hard to get the racers that were built sponsored by individuals and companies so that we can raise some money for these kids,” said Parker. “The kids really need our help now more than ever.”

Participants can also enter their own derby cars. The drag race will feature three classes: Stock, Modified and Unlimited. The finals will take place shortly before the banquet begins. To enter the race, visit

The race will also feature an auction of pinewood cars painted by the kids from the charities to resemble the cars of their favorite NASCAR, IRL or NHRA drivers. Each derby car will be autographed by both the child and driver, providing an exclusive item for auction. “The Starting Lineup” auction will take place online at and at the Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser.

SEMA Leadership Days will also include the inaugural SEMA Show ’N’ Shine public car show, to be held August 1. More than 200 vehicles will come together at the Pasadena Convention Center to benefit both Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Chip Foose, award-winning automotive designer and fabricator and host of TLC’s “Overhaulin’,” has been named Grand Marshall of the event.

“It’s an honor being named Grand Marshall for SEMA’s first public car show,” said Foose. “This industry has been an important part of my life, and it’s one that I’m very proud to be a part of. I can’t think of a better way to support these two great children’s charities.”

Foose’s design talent will be displayed at the show through three of his personal vehicles: a ’56 Ford F-100 pickup from “Overhaulin’,” an ’02 Ford T-Bird “Speedbird” that starred in “Rides” and his Foose Coupe. As Grand Marshall of the event, Foose will also design and autograph the official car show T-shirt that will be given to all vehicle registrants free of charge.

“As chairman of the SEMA Cares Committee, I was thrilled when Chip Foose graciously agreed to be the Grand Marshall of our inaugural car show and be on hand to share his passion and expertise with his fellow automotive enthusiasts,” said Joel Ayres. “His generosity and celebrity status will help us launch a successful event that can make the lives of these kids a little better.”

The 2009 SEMA Leadership Days will begin on Thursday, July 30, and will include individual and collective council meetings, Board of Directors’ functions, a State of the Association address and town hall meeting and the annual Internet Symposium. For complete details, visit For more information about the Pinewood Drag Race or any of the other activities that will be held in conjunction with the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, contact Lisa Moreno at 909/396-0289 ext. 105 or via e-mail at

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