SEMA News—July 2019


By Colby Martin

Country Road Homecoming

Mountain State Senator Named Legislator of the Year

Senator Maynard
Senator Mark Maynard poses with his new Dodge Challenger Scat Pack at the West Virginia state capitol in Charleston.

At the 2018 SEMA Show, West Virginia State Senator Mark Maynard was introduced as the first-ever winner of the Stephen B. McDonald Legislator of the Year award. Representing the Sixth District, Senator Maynard was recognized for his efforts in the West Virginia Senate to promote policies and legislation that support the automotive hobby.

Senator Maynard is proudly counted among the hundreds of pro-hobby lawmakers comprising the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus and embodies the award’s spirit. The new award is bestowed on a state lawmaker who has gone above and beyond to support the hobby in his or her home state. It was named after SEMA’s late Vice President of Government Affairs Stephen B. McDonald, who was the driving force behind the founding and growth of
the caucus.

“I’m so honored to have been chosen to receive this award,” Senator Maynard said. “I’m a car guy through and through. Working to share that passion and create unique opportunities that will benefit our state through new business and visitors is a dream come true. West Virginia is a paradise for people who love both the outdoors and the automotive hobby. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in just a short time, and I look forward to helping grow this industry even more in the future.”

The State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus’ national chairman, West Virginia Delegate Gary Howell, was instrumental in both the award’s creation and attracting Senator Maynard’s involvement in the group.

“As West Virginia expands tourism, Mark has introduced and helped pass legislation that will allow our state to be at the forefront in automotive tourism,” Delegate Howell said. “This billion-dollar industry is continuing to expand and create high-paying jobs. Because of the efforts of our members like Mark, West Virginia will be a part of it.”

Courtney Hansen
West Virginia lawmakers Senator Mark Maynard (right) and Delegate Gary Howell (left) met automotive media personality Courtney Hansen at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Senator Maynard is not only an industry champion but also a true enthusiast. His collection of vehicles is impressive. The stable includes a Dodge Charger “General Lee,” a Pontiac Trans Am “Bandit,” a new Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, and a trail-only Jeep, among others. His love for all things automotive doesn’t stop there. Before he heard the call to public service, he also served as a pit-crew member in professional NHRA drag-racing teams.

“Automobiles are truly a passion that probably started before I could crawl,” Senator Maynard explained. “Growing up in my dad’s full-service Union 76 station, I watched him turn wrenches and build and campaign his sand-drag Chevy truck. I immersed myself in everything automotive and internal combustion that I could find. I took over the family automotive business in 2001. For a fun—and serious—job in 2006, I joined Jim Head’s NHRA Nitro Funny Car crew. It lasted until the end of the 2010 season. I joined John Bojec’s team for a three-race run at the end of the 2014 season. At the same time, I was running for the Senate. I flew the redeye home from the Las Vegas race, campaigned one more day, and beat the longest-serving senator in the history of West Virginia. Then my legislative career began.”

Since his election to the West Virginia Senate, Senator Maynard has become a consummate defender of the hobby in Charleston and also a familiar face at the SEMA Show. During his state’s most recent legislative sessions, Senator Maynard was a busy man, authoring several pro-industry bills. Many of them focused on expanding access to off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails.

SEMA PAC Redline Club Spotlight: Sabra Johnson
Sabra JohnsonSabra Johnson is the owner of City Classic Cars, which is based in Spring, Texas. Johnson joined the SEMA PAC Redline Club in 2018.

“For me, building classic cars goes beyond a passion; it’s truly in my blood,” he said. “I am a member of the SEMA PAC Redline Club to help ensure that the aftermarket parts and restoration arena remains at the forefront of the automotive industry. At heart, I am a classic-car renaissance man. I champion the mission and vision of the SEMA PAC because it advocates for the mom-and-pop innovators across America and gives a voice to the voiceless.”

SEMA PAC helps members keep pace by supporting the candidates and lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who understand the importance of what SEMA members do. For more information on SEMA PAC, please contact Christian Robinson, at 202-794-8279 or by email at

Senator Maynard’s 2018 victories include passing legislation that creates a digital map of public roads and trails available to OHV riders, and a bill that creates a two-year pilot program allowing for ATV and RV access to West Virginia’s Cabwaylingo State Forest. He pursued two other bills as well, which have not yet become law. One would have created a new State Trail Authority to oversee trail funding and maintenance. The other would have created license plates allowing off-road, self-assembled or modified vehicles the same limited access to roads as ATVs.

The 2019 legislative session has thus far been no different for Senator Maynard. Among the several pro-industry bills he introduced was legislation creating the West Virginia Motorsports Committee. That bill was enacted into law and will mark a major step toward the preservation and expansion of racing in West Virginia.

“I want to thank Gary Howell for recruiting me and allowing me to join the caucus and spurring me along to attend the SEMA Show for three years in a row,” Maynard added. “I look forward to continuing to fight for the hobby and industry that I love.”

The State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus is a non-partisan group of more than 650 state legislators whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. For more information, visit

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