SEMA HALL OF FAME NAMES FOUR NEW MEMBERS
-- 2012 Inductees are Nick Arias Jr., Bill France Sr., Mark Heffington, and
Bob Larivee Sr. --
Diamond Bar, Calif.
(May 3, 2012) - Nick Arias Jr., Bill France Sr., Mark Heffington and Bob Larivee Sr.
will be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, an honor that recognizes an elite
group of individuals for raising the stature or growth or the automotive
Hundreds of industry
professionals will gather and pay tribute to the new Hall of Fame members
during the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, Friday, July 27, at
the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Convention Center in Pomona, California.
Those interested in learning more about the celebration or how to attend may
or contact Michelle Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org,
Nick Arias Jr.,
Nick Arias Racing Components: Arias has been finding ways to make engines work better since he first
started tinkering in his garage more than 70 years ago. He became serious about
hot rodding at the end of WWII and remembers being involved in his first
organized drag race in California in 1949. At the time, Arias was working at
Wayne Manufacturing, where he learned a lot about engines, pistons, cylinder
heads and more. In the '50s, Arias was involved with the Rusetta Timing
Association dry lake meets and The Screwdrivers Car Club, where he experimented
with different engines and configurations while setting records and testing the
limits of his share of vehicles and parts.
He started Arias Pistons in
1969 to manufacture forged pistons and components and kept refining engine
configurations. In 1972, Arias introduced what was then considered a
state-of-the-art Hemi-head conversion for Big Block Chevys known as the
"Hemi-Chevy." His creations did not end there and included the 10L
block and Hemi-head that dominated tractor pulls and drag boat races, an 8.3L
power plant for Top Fuel and Alcohol drag racing, the Arias 4-cylinder for USAC
Midget circuits, the Arias V6 Hemi, A/R Boss 429, Howard 12-Port GMC and more.
Arias was recognized as a
Lifetime Achievement honoree in 2000 by the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. He
was also inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2005.
Bill France Sr.,
founded NASCAR-the most successful stock-car racing series in the world.
Initial races were held on short dirt tracks and a combined beach and highway
oval course in Daytona. Through his early career as a racer and fledgling
promoter, France experienced the challenges of race promotion, from recruiting
drivers and spreading the word to creating the tracks, hiring ticket-takers and
generating a profit.
France was convinced that a
single, firmly governed sanctioning body was necessary for stock-car racing to
succeed. He gathered a group of race promoters, drivers and mechanics for the
first National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing in 1947. The
organization, which named France (aka Big Bill France) the president, became
incorporated in 1948, and more than 14,000 fans attended the first event on the
Daytona Beach road/beach course in February of that year.
France eventually gained
the support of automobile industry executives to build the world's first and
fastest super speedway in Daytona. In the 1959 Daytona 500, the concept of
drafting was discovered and ushered in the aerodynamic era. Big Bill pioneered
developments in safety, organization, infrastructure, scoring and purses. All
of these developments enabled racing to reach new levels of professionalism and
respect within the sporting industry.
Heffington began his career in the aftermarket industry as the chief cam
designer for Crane Cams. In 1972, Heffington founded Cam Dynamics-at the time a
leading manufacturer of high-performance and racing camshafts. He sold Cam
Dynamics in the early '80s. Soon after, he began consulting on camshaft design
and engineering and became a consultant for United Technologies and General
With the concept of
computer-controlled engines beginning to emerge, Heffington understood how
computer-controlled tuning could significantly impact the performance industry.
In 1985, he founded Hypertech Inc. and began to develop and manufacture onboard
computer reprogramming devices. The company introduced the Power Chip in 1986
and, in 1994, Hypertech released its Power Programmer.
Now in its 27th year,
Hypertech is still a leader of engine tuning products. Heffington is also a
two-time winner of the Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice award for product
Bob Larivee Sr.,
Auto Art Promotions Inc.: Larivee competed in a Soap Box Derby in Detroit at the age of 11,
which ignited his passion for automobiles. He joined the Motor City Automobile
Club and the Michigan Hot Rod Association (MHRA) in the early 1950s. By 1961,
Larivee had founded a small car show company name Promotions Inc. and created
the International Car Show Association, which became the sanctioning body for
car shows. Larivee and Promotions Inc. produced some of the most popular car
shows and events of the '60s, including the World of Wheels series, and
co-produced the Detroit Autorama with the MHRA.
His efforts, such as the
development of uniform judging systems and standard rules and categories for
the popular car shows, helped to bring more prestige to the car show circuit.
The shows became more meaningful for the winners and also provided them
opportunities to achieve additional recognition in the mainstream automotive
Larivee competed in drag
races and circle-track events before retiring in 1977 to concentrate on
promotional efforts. Most recently, Larivee has extended his organizational
expertise to the promotion of automotive art. His most notable accomplishment
in this arena has been the Automotive Fine Arts Society, which has produced art
shows in Pebble Beach, California, and at the SEMA Show.
To learn more about the
SEMA Hall of Fame program, visit www.sema.org/hof.
About the Specialty
Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
SEMA, the Specialty
Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $29.99 billion
specialty automotive industry of 6,383 member-companies. It is the
authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information
for the specialty auto parts industry. The industry provides appearance,
performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and
recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley
Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, tel: 909/396-0289, or visit www.sema.org