SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 32, August 11, 2011

What Has SEMA Done for You Lately?


      The ARIA (pictured here) and Vdara Las Vegas resorts have reduced their nightly rates for 2011 SEMA Show attendees.

    Always striving to provide its attendees and exhibitors the best options in terms of both pricing and variety, SEMA is proud to announce that two of the newest and most prestigious properties in Las Vegas have just reduced their rates to accommodate and welcome SEMA Show attendees back this year.

    ARIA and Vdara—the two largest properties within the City Center complex—provide an experience like none ever seen before in Las Vegas. The complex is designed as its own metropolitan city in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. ARIA has been awarded a five-diamond ranking by AAA, and offers more than 4,000 hotel guest rooms, 16 restaurants and numerous entertainment venues. Meanwhile, next door is the all-suite four-diamond Vdara. This completely non-smoking and casino-free property provides its guests a luxurious and quiet atmosphere right in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, while also delivering all the traditional amenities at the neighboring ARIA.

    Rates at the ARIA are now only $169 per night and the Vdara is only $159 per night during Show days, and they go as low as $129 at ARIA and $119 at Vdara if you are arriving early. Included in these low rates, available only by booking through SEMA’s official block, are all the amenities offered to all other guests who must pay an additional resort fee. These include the following:


    • Internet access (in-suite and campus-wide at City Center)
    • Local and 800 number phone calls
    • Access to The Spa at ARIA Fitness Center
    • Daily newspaper
    • Airline boarding pass printing


    • Internet access (in-suite and campus-wide at City Center)
    • Two bottles of water per room per day
    • Local and 800 number phone calls
    • Access to Vdara Fitness Center
    • Daily newspaper at front desk
    • Nightly turn-down service upon request
    • Guest robes upon request

    As always, SEMA will continue to keep you apprised of changes to hotel rates in the SEMA Housing Block and any reductions made to rates are retroactive to anyone already booked in that hotel.

    There is no better time than now to take advantage of the early-bird rates. If you have any questions about booking your hotels for the SEMA Show, please don’t hesitate to contact Travel Planners, SEMA’s Official Housing Bureau at 800/221-3531, or e-mail

Breaking News

  • Don't miss the ’12 Mazda3 SEMA Measuring Session, August 25, 2011, from 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m., at the Mazda North American Operations, Western Region Training Center in Irvine, California.

  •   Cafe SEMA Logo
      Café SEMA is a great way to start the last day of the 2011 SEMA Show. Enjoy direct access to industry experts and get in the know with a free cup of Joe.

    Powered by the SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN), Café SEMA is a great event to start the last day of the 2011 SEMA Show. Enjoy direct access to industry experts, gain valuable insight into a host of business issues and make valuable networking connections that will impact your company immediately.

    This special table discussions event is limited to the first 100 registrants and attendees must be SEMA members and a 2011 SEMA Show attendees. Topics up for discussion include publishing product information, protecting intellectual property, licensing, green manufacturing, marketing and distribution, promoting environmental initiatives, hiring the best rep agency, doing business globally, media exposure and public relations, using new media, and leveraging your SEMA membership.

    Covering a wide range of topics, Café SEMA is more than just a free cup of Joe—it's a chance to get in the know. Click here to register.

    Café SEMA: In the know with a cup of Joe!
    Friday, November 4, 2011 from 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
    Room 251, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas

    Register for this FREE event today!

    Event Agenda:

    • 7:50 a.m.–8:00 a.m.: Sign-in, and take your seat at the table
    • 8:00 a.m.: Café opens with experts answering attendee questions
    • 9:00 a.m.: Table-top discussions adjourn

    The experts will be available for a short while after table discussions break up. Participants are invited to continue their networking with a fresh cup of caffeine.

    Don’t wait, space is limited and registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, October 14, 2011, or when all spaces are filled—whichever is first. For more information, please visit Café SEMA Guidelines.

  • Nominations for the awards presented by SEMA's councils and committees during the 2011 SEMA Show are due by August 19. A "call for nominations" e-mail that provided details on the process, criteria and nomination information was sent out in July. SEMA and the councils strongly encourage all qualifying members to participate in this worthy process.

    Every year during the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the councils host their Industry Awards and Recognition Receptions to honor those who have made significant contributions to their respective industry throughout the year and to recognize those individuals who, through their body of work, have helped reshape our industry.

    As we look to the future, it is important that we pause and thank those who have led by example and those who have paved the path to a better tomorrow. Please contact Arlene Wood at with any questions.

    Get started now by using the following links to nomination forms and materials.

    Here is a look at some of the awards and winners presented at the council receptions during the 2010 SEMA Show.

    Brent Van DerVort   Tom Brooks
    Brent Van Dervort (middle) is officially inducted into the HRIA Hall of Fame.   Tom Brooks of Truckin' Thunder (right) accepts the 2010 LTAA Retailer of the Year Award at the 2010 Fall Nationals Industry Awards Reception at the SEMA Show.
    Jim Considine III   PRO Rick Jones
    Left to right: Wade Cobb of HAPCO, Jim Considine III of Considine Sales & Marketing and Chris Fairless of the SS Sales & Marketing Group.   Pictured are PRO Jim Borre Lifetime Achievement recipient Rick Jones (second from left) of Auto Sunroof Inc.; presenter Eldon Bracken of Graphic Mart (far left); the Borre Family; and Karl Stearns of Scholar Intelligent Solutions (far right).
    Nate Shelton   Fenton Liffick
    Nate Shelton (middle) accepts the SPC Person of the Year award during the 2010 SPC Industry Awards Reception.   The WTC Lifetime Achievement is presented to Fenton Liffick of Prestige Autotech Corp. (right) by WTC Chairman David Insull of American Tire Distributors.


Business Tools


      William Ponkowski

    Video can be a powerful marketing and sales tool for businesses of every size. YouTube is a forum where people connect, inform and inspire others, and it acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.

    Learn how to use online video, such as informative how-to-demonstrations, to promote the sale of parts and accessories. Join the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) and YouTube expert William Ponkowski, Thursday, August 18, at 10:00 a.m. (PDT), as he leads an exciting exploration of YouTube. Come learn how to connect with your customers using cutting-edge media.

    In this webinar, we will focus on:

    • The impact of online video on the auto industry.
    • Three steps to success on YouTube.
    • Understanding and acting on data from YouTube insights.
    • Opportunity for Q&A.

    Ponkowski, a YouTube specialist in the auto industry, brings a unique perspective as a Google staffer with an automotive background. Be sure to join SEI and Ponkowski on Thursday, August 18, at 10:00 a.m. (PDT) for this enlightening webinar on the effective use of YouTube for your business.

    Participate live or download the webinar when it’s convenient. And remember: SEI webinars are free to SEMA members and only $29 for non-members.

    Members: For more information and to register, click here.

    Non-members: For more information and to register, click here.

  • Are you hunting for a new job? The “Positions Available” section in the
    SEMA Member Classifieds lists more than 50 job openings around the
    country. Here are some of the latest classifieds posted to the website.

    • Keystone Automotive Operations, located in Carrollton, Texas, is hiring an inside sales representative to sell the company's portfolio of products and related services and identify target customers. Requirements include telephone sales experience, a documented track record of exceeding sales goals, experience in establishing customer relationships and an automotive background.
    • Schumacher Auto, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, is hiring an experienced painter and body man for scratch and minor dent repair, bumpers, wet sanding
      and buffing. This is a great opportunity for someone who is fast at this
    • Performance Motorsports Inc., located in Huntington Beach, California, is hiring a marketing coordinator to plan, organize and coordinate sponsorship, contingency, promotional
      and other marketing activities centering on the customer to establish
      a dominant market position for JE Pistons in the performance industry. The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a four-year college or university
      and at least two years of related industry experience in the performance automotive aftermarket industry.
    • AFCO Racing Products/Dynatech Headers, located in Boonville, Indiana, is hiring an art director with an auto racing industry passion. This position will be responsible for supervising and inspiring a team
      of designers, coordinating all design efforts for a unified message
      across multiple platforms and designing and initiating the “look” of
      the company and its brands. Requirements include a bachelors degree in art, design, or related field; strong knowledge of Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Excel; a willingness to monitor and work within a strict budget; five+ years of marketing/managerial experience; and ability to travel to suppliers, customers and trade shows.
    • Konig Wheels, located in Plainview, New York, is hiring an inside salesperson. The successful candidate should have strong telephone and customer service skills with the
      ability to develop long-term relationships with customers and proficiency
      in any PC Internet browser and e-mail program. Prior wheel knowledge or wheel
      sales experience is a major plus.

    For more job listings, click here.

New Products and Technology

  • Honda Ridgeline

    There are plenty of press photos circulating of the Ridgeline Sport—at least the front view—but the team at Brenda & Priddy & Co. revealed these shots that showcase a slight freshening of the current Honda Ridgeline, which is due to launch in November.

    These shots provide a good look at the new three-bar grille (absent is its signature floating grille) and new taillight lenses. Priddy and her team have two expectations for the Ridgeline: 1) a small boost in fuel economy, and 2) production for the Ridgeline to continue after the ’12 model year, contrary to recent rumors.

    Honda Ridgeline
    Photo: Brenda Priddy & Co.

Law & Order

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) amended several unrelated rules to address technical issues in response to industry requests.

    Lighting Standard (pdf): The NHTSA amended Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108 to correct technical errors and address concerns that the standard was changed in substance when it was reorganized in 2007. The standard had been amended many times since it was first adopted in 1967 in order to address technological advances and enhance safety. In the process, the old regulation was unnecessarily complex and difficult to understand. The intent of the 2007 revision was to simplify the regulation to the extent possible. The NHTSA is still reviewing the revised standard to confirm there were no other changes of substance. It is scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2012, although voluntary compliance is now permitted.

    Electric-Powered Vehicles (pdf): The NHTSA modified FMVSS No. 305 to clarify definitions used in the standard. The agency also addressed technical issues regarding the retention requirements for electric energy storage/conversion systems, electrical isolation requirements, test specifications and requirements for electrical isolation monitoring, state-of-charge of electric energy storage devices prior to the crash tests, a proposed protective barrier compliance option for electrical safety, use of alternative gas to crash test hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and a proposed low-energy compliance option for electrical safety.

    Event Data Recorders (pdf): The NHTSA made minor modifications to the “Part 563” regulation, which establishes uniform requirements for electronic data recorders (EDRs), also known as "black boxes," which are voluntarily installed in light-duty vehicles. EDRs document key events just before and after a car crash. Beginning in September 2012, any EDR installed on a light-duty vehicle must meet the minimum performance criteria. Data to be retrieved includes crash speed, brake, accelerator pedal, safety belt and airbag-deployment information.

    For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at

  • SEMA News—August 2011

    2011–2012 SEMA Legislative/Regulatory Priority List


    Vehicle Equipment Standards and Inspections: State policy makers continue to revise and update equipment and inspection standards—often with a bias toward the vehicle manufacturer’s original equipment, such as lighting, tires and wheels, suspension components and bumper/frame height. SEMA opposes arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive equipment and inspection procedures.

      Scrappage programs accelerate natural vehicle retirement by allowing for the purchase of older cars from owners.

    Accelerated Vehicle Scrappage: Under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop clean-air plans, a few states have considered including vehicle scrappage programs in their state implementation plans. Scrappage programs accelerate natural vehicle retirement by allowing for the purchase of older cars from owners. These vehicles are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal. SEMA opposes scrappage proposals. Where proposals can’t be defeated, SEMA seeks to amend them to protect collector vehicles, focus on gross polluters, use measured emissions values, allow parts recycling and include repair/upgrade alternatives.

    Emissions Testing and Maintenance Programs: States have incorporated the Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) testing method as part of the vehicle emissions inspection for ’96 and newer vehicles. These OBD tests replace tailpipe tests by identifying emissions problems through information stored in the vehicle’s onboard computer system. I/M 240 tests require visual inspection of emissions-control devices, an evaporative emissions test and a transient drive-cycle exhaust emissions test performed while the vehicle is running on rollers.

    Many of these state programs mistakenly fail vehicles based on the presence of aftermarket engine products, some of which are required to be tested, certified and labeled (e.g. California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Orders) as not increasing emissions. Others force older collector vehicles and newer vehicles to undergo some type of testing, the results of which demonstrate no significant threats to air quality from these vehicles.

    The idea behind exempting older and newer vehicles of all classes is to reduce costs while not losing appreciable emissions reductions. SEMA supports programs that properly focus inspection procedures and do not confuse legitimate aftermarket parts with emissions-defeat devices and state and federal tampering violations. SEMA also supports proactive legislative initiatives to establish exemptions from inspections for low-mileage vehicles, classic vehicles (defined as 25 years old and older) and newer vehicles.

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Engine Size/MPG: SEMA opposes legislation that imposes an added fee, surcharge or tax on the sale or lease of a new passenger motor vehicle based on carbon emissions, engine size or fuel-economy rating. These measures could affect a consumer’s ability to purchase the vehicle of choice and consequently vehicle safety. SEMA also opposes added yearly registration and renewal fees based on carbon emissions, engine size or fuel-economy rating.

      vehicle suspension and height regulations are often so unclear that the industry, motorist and inspection technician have no clear guidance

    Vehicle Suspension and Height Regulations: Modifications that affect vehicle suspension and steering as well as those changing the vehicle’s frame and/or bumper height continue to draw attention from regulators and legislators. Many state regulations are more restrictive than necessary. Others discriminate against aftermarket parts manufacturers and their customers by allowing the vehicle manufacturers to effectively set the frame and bumper-height standards. In addition, vehicle suspension and height regulations are often so unclear that the industry, motorist and inspection technician have no clear guidance. SEMA opposes state regulations targeting suspension and height modifications without regard to reasonable and useful modifications.

    Specialty Vehicle Titling and Registration: Special titling and registration designations for specialty cars, including antique, street rod, custom, classic, collector, modified, replica and kit-car vehicles, have led to an easing of certain equipment standards and exemptions from stringent emissions testing.

    SEMA supports initiatives that allow for the use of non-original materials and create a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model-year designations as the production vehicles they most closely resemble. SEMA supports initiatives to establish distinctive license plates and separate vehicle code definitions for these cars to allow special consideration during emissions testing and equipment inspections. SEMA supports initiatives to create classic motor-vehicle project titles that apply to vehicles undergoing restoration that are at least 25 years old, are not roadworthy and are currently without a title or with a title from another state.

    SEMA supports initiatives to establish minimal one-time registration fees for specialty vehicles and opposes efforts to disproportionately increase registration fees and taxes for these cars based on state budget deficiencies. SEMA also supports legislation that allows vehicles with these special registrations to be driven for a variety of purposes, including occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours and similar uses.

    Lighting Equipment: Some states apply an approach to optional and auxiliary lighting equipment that essentially prohibits all such lights if not specifically permitted in the regulations. Poorly written legislation and regulations can confuse the issues of a clear safety hazard versus consumer demand for legitimate and safe lighting enhancement. Regulators are also scrutinizing blue-hued headlamps, some of which the federal government has declared legal for operation on the nation’s roadways, for excessive glare. Government officials are also concerned about non-compliant high-intensity-discharge headlamp conversion systems, clear taillamp covers, marker lamps and bulbs. SEMA opposes any use limitations or prohibitions on optional lighting equipment or accessories not related to a proven safety hazard.

    Tire Fuel Efficiency: SEMA opposes separate state legislation requiring the development of a program to mandate that replacement tires for passenger cars meet fuel-efficiency standards. These state replacement tire-efficiency programs are anti-consumer, anti-small business and require substantial appropriations. Most importantly, state replacement tire efficiency programs often conflict with a federal program to create a “consumer information system” to rate the fuel economy, safety and durability characteristics of most replacement tires. The program includes a SEMA-drafted exemption for limited production tires (15,000 units or less in a tire line or 35,000 tires in total brand-name production) that are mostly tires for classic and antique vehicles or off-highway vehicles.


    Tire Aging: SEMA opposes state legislation to limit the distribution or sale of tires based strictly on age. No auto industry, tire industry or federal government data has determined that tires fail to perform when they reach a particular chronological age. Proposals to outlaw tires based on age distract consumers from focusing on qualities proven to enhance safety, such as the tire’s handling and performance characteristics. The legislation also imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens on tire manufacturers and retailers while filling state landfills with tires that retain useful life.

    Window Tint: Severe limits on window-film light transmission and reflectance percentages continue to surface in a number of states. SEMA supports advancement of the industry standard of not less than 35% light transmittance on all windows other than the windshield.

    Inoperable Vehicles: SEMA opposes legislation that allows state, county or local officials to confiscate inoperable project vehicles or those vehicles in need of repair from private property.

    Exhaust Systems: SEMA opposes legislation or regulations that unfairly discriminate against modified exhaust systems and apply arbitrary enforcement standards relative to muffler noise limits. SEMA supports efforts to reduce improper citations and encourage modifications that comply with applicable state regulations.

    Nitrous-Oxide/Performance Enhancers: SEMA opposes legislation that bans the installation of power booster systems, including nitrous-oxide systems intended for off-road use.


    Street Racing: SEMA supports efforts to abolish illegal street racing through focused legislation designed to incentivize drivers to pursue racing activities at legal racing venues. SEMA opposes anti-street-racing legislation that unfairly targets owners of legally modified vehicles for enhanced scrutiny, title branding and additional fees.

    Due to the popularity of sanctioned racing events on closed streets in downtowns across the country and the current urgency to generate tourism and revenue, states are beginning to introduce legislation to provide for municipal racing. Known as “municipal racing acts,” these bills include provisions to limit local government liability and allow permits to be issued to race promoters to host Grand Prix-style events on public roads and highways. SEMA supports the promotion of the racing industry through such legislative action.

    Alternative Fuels/Greenhouse Gases: SEMA opposes legislation that would unreasonably restrict opportunities for the aftermarket to continue providing performance equipment. SEMA supports such initiatives where opportunities exist to expand market opportunities for SEMA-member products.

    Ethanol-Blended Gasoline Labeling Requirements: Each state sets its own labeling requirements for ethanol-blended gasoline, with 12 states and the District of Columbia currently not requiring pumps dispensing such blends to display labels. Ethanol increases water formation in the fuel system, especially when the vehicle sits over a period of time. Under these conditions, formic acid is created, which corrodes metals, plastics and rubber. This can lead to engine/parts failures and, potentially, safety hazards. Many products in the marketplace, including older cars, use materials that are incompatible with ethanol.

    SEMA supports labels on fuel pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline as important to consumers, especially those with classic cars and performance automobiles, who want to know what they are putting into their vehicles. There is a new urgency for more precise labeling due to the recent EPA approval of E15 for use in ’01 and newer light-duty vehicles, since owners of pre-’01 vehicles need to be able to distinguish between E10 and E15.


    Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA):
    The EPA continues to revise and update rules authorized by the 1990 CAAA. Recent examples include setting stricter standards for ozone and particulate matter, volatile organic compounds emissions and hazardous air pollutants. SEMA opposes any revisions that are unnecessarily restrictive or do not balance economic and small-business considerations.

    CAAA Revisions: SEMA supports revising the CAAA to require cost-benefit rationales for rulemakings, a scientific basis for regulations and periodic reviews of existing rules. SEMA also supports implementation procedures that reduce future court battles (citizens’ suits, consent agreements, etc.).

    Compensatory Time for Overtime: SEMA supports legislation that would give workers a voluntary choice between overtime pay and compensatory time off, accruing at 1½ hours for each hour of overtime. Unions generally oppose the legislation for fear that workers will be coerced to take leave in lieu of pay.

    Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards: SEMA supports CAFE standards that take into account the impact on jobs, safety, consumer choice and technological feasibility. Drastically increased CAFE potentially limits consumer choice if manufacturers are forced to make smaller, less powerful and less useful cars and light-duty vehicles in order to meet government fuel-economy demands. SEMA supports market-based solutions that allow the consumer to participate in and respond to national energy policies.

    Ergonomics Standard: SEMA supported repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) ergonomics standard in 2000. The controversial rule imposed onerous compliance requirements on businesses to protect workers from musculoskeletal disorders, such as repetitive-motion injuries, commonly referred to as “ergonomics injuries.” SEMA supports OSHA’s subsequent approach to provide voluntary guidance materials for addressing ergonomic problems.

    Ethanol Content in Gasoline: SEMA opposes the EPA’s waiver to permit the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for model-year ’01 and newer vehicles. SEMA has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber, placing older cars and certain high-performance specialty parts at risk. The EPA waiver would not protect consumers from misfueling these vehicles.

    Gas Taxes: Lawmakers are considering legislation to address the nation’s dependency on foreign oil and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Proposals include establishing a carbon tax, taxing motorists based on miles traveled and using feebates as an incentive toward purchasing fuel-efficient cars. While SEMA opposes such tax hikes, SEMA supports policies that balance the interests of the business community with reasonable means to reduce reliance on foreign oil and create incentive-laden programs to help clean the air.

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Global Warming: The primary greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is released in direct proportion to the amount of carbon-based fuel that is burned. SEMA supports regulating CO2 emissions from automobiles through the CAFE standards. This approach also has the benefit of establishing a national standard rather than a patchwork of state rules.

    With respect to stationary source emitters, SEMA supports a congressionally defined limited approach to regulate the largest stationary source emitters, such as powerplants, factories and refineries. The automotive specialty-equipment market is also part of the solution, since it is a leading innovator for products designed to address technological challenges, such as greenhouse gases.

    Health Care: SEMA has consistently advocated for legislation providing small businesses with access to a pool of insurance plans, whether offered through trade associations or government agencies. The health-care law enacted in March 2010 contains SEMA-supported “exchanges,” which will offer small businesses access to a variety of competitively priced plans. While this is beneficial, the law is also limited and flawed (e.g., mandates on larger companies and not enough cost controls). SEMA remains committed to pursuing additional meaningful reforms to health-care policy.

    Independent Contractors
    Defining whether an individual is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” impacts whether a business withholds income tax and the employee’s share of the FICA tax, pays an employer share of FICA as well as many other issues. An imperfect 20-point test for defining classifications has emerged following decades of court decisions and IRS rulings. SEMA supports simplified worker classification rules, since the current rules are too complicated, confused and subjective.

    Intellectual Property Protection: Assisting SEMA members in protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) is a top priority for the association. SEMA is taking steps through webinars, seminars and SEMA News to ensure that its members are better informed on understanding the value of IPR (trademarks, patents, copyright, etc.) and how to properly protect them. SEMA’s IPR enforcement rules at the SEMA Show have been effective and well received. SEMA actively supports IPR legislation in the U.S. Congress and government enforcement activities through the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.

    Minimum Wage: SEMA supports policies that allow wages to be set by the marketplace. If a wage hike is contemplated, SEMA maintains that tax relief targeted at small businesses should be considered in order to balance the impact of the wage hike.

    Onboard Diagnostics and Service Information Sharing: SEMA and certain OEMs have established partnerships for sharing technology information. Increased sales of SEMA-member products should also translate into more vehicle sales. SEMA is working with other automakers to forge similar service information-sharing partnerships.

    Parental Leave: SEMA opposes any attempt to expand the Family Leave Act but supports legislation that would clarify certain aspects of the law.

    Product Liability and Legal Reforms: SEMA supports sensible legal reforms. This includes bills to develop uniform standards of liability, take small-business size into consideration, alter rules pertaining to punitive and non-economic damages, discourage frivolous lawsuits and restore credibility to the judicial system.

    Public Land Access and Use: Threats to OHV access typically take form in legislation passed by Congress or regulations issued by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or other federal and state agencies. The actions threaten recreational access, designate lands as “wilderness” (roadless) or unnecessarily close lands to protect endangered species. Public land access issues are of keen interest to off-roaders and the SEMA-member companies that market products to those groups. SEMA supports land-use decisions that are reasonable and enjoy local community support.

    Regulatory Reform: The current regulatory climate is adversarial, focusing more on detecting violations than with helping the regulated communities solve problems. SEMA supports efforts to permit more flexibility in achieving standards, consider more cost-effective ways to meet goals, require cost-benefit rationales for rulemakings, require scientific basis for regulations and require periodic review of existing rules. In addition, President Obama recently issued an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to review their regulations in an attempt to eliminate rules that hinder economic growth.

    Retirement Savings Plans: An estimated 70% of those working for small businesses are not covered by retirement plans. There are many reasons for this: revenue is too uncertain; administrative costs are too high; there is too much paperwork and government regulation; and required company contributions are too severe. Many small businesses cite reduced administrative rules, business tax credits and eased vesting requirements as necessary conditions for starting a plan. SEMA supports legislation that helps defer the costs of a retirement program, provides guidance in plan construction and establishes clear regulations to govern the program.

    Rollover: SEMA supports performance-based initiatives that are cost-effective and technologically feasible to reduce vehicle rollovers. SEMA has developed a program to help member companies identify how a product may interact with the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) system that addresses vehicle rollover.

    Tax Policy: SEMA supports small-business tax relief through reduction and simplification of business taxes and a federal budget that promotes productivity. Tax cut examples include establishing a reasonable estate tax, extending tax credits for research and development and raising the alternative minimum tax. SEMA has not taken a position on the imposition of state sales/use taxes on sellers that do not have nexus in that state.


    Vehicle Scrappage Legislation: For two decades, SEMA convinced federal lawmakers that vehicle scrappage programs are not cost effective and unnecessarily remove older vehicles from the marketplace. Responding to a global recession, lawmakers established a “cash for clunkers” program in 2009 to help spur car sales. SEMA helped lessen the impact of the program on the automotive specialty-equipment market by including a restriction that scrapped cars be less than 25 years old and by allowing the transmission to be recycled along with all other parts except the engine. SEMA will continue to oppose any future scrappage programs, especially those that simply target old cars and exclude recycling/repair/retrofit provisions.

    Vehicle Equipment Standards: The federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), maintains the right to set, enforce and investigate safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor-vehicle equipment. Many NHTSA regulations, such as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, have a direct effect on how specialty equipment is produced and marketed and how customers use the products. SEMA supports regulations that are necessary, practical and based on performance rather than on design criteria. SEMA uses the same criteria when supporting or opposing legislation to expand NHTSA mandates.

Global Update

  •   brazll
      Brazilian car builder Sigma and Fullpower magazine have teamed up to create a replica ’33 Chevy SEMA world car featuring SEMA-member products. It will be designed for both the street and racetrack.

    Influential Brazilian consumer magazine Fullpower is looking for a few last partners for a replica ’33 Chevy project build to be featured in an upcoming edition of its magazine. The vehicle will also be displayed at the 2011 SEMA Show and will tour Brazil.

    Among the products needed:

    • Disk brakes
Brake pads

    • Steering wheel

    • Valve covers

    • Cables

    This program is only open to SEMA Show exhibitors. To participate in the program, send an e-mail to Eduardo Bernasconi (editorial director) at

  • September 8 is the deadline to sign up for a free listing in the 2011–2012 SEMA International Buyers' Guide. Use this online form to promote your company in this directory, which is provided to international buyers at the 2011 SEMA Show and year-round at major overseas trade shows. This benefit is available only to 2011 SEMA Show exhibitors. For more information, contact Linda Spencer at


      The SEMA delegation outside the Great Hall of the People in September 2010. This year’s participants will also have dinner with key automotive executives and government officials at the Chinese equivalent of the U.S. Capitol building.

    The August 19 deadline to sign up for the 2011 SEMA China International Auto Parts Expo (CIAPE) China Business Development Conference, September 7–10, 2011, in Beijing, is just one week away. Devote three days to learning about the growing specialty-equipment market in the world’s most populous country.

    Join a group of SEMA-member manufacturers heading to China to spend a day with Chinese distributors and retailers from 20 cities throughout China. Trip participants will also have dinner at the Great Hall of the People (similar in function to the U.S. Capitol building), VIP access to a large automotive parts trade show (CIAPE), spend time with top automotive press and receive a briefing with U.S. government officials.

    For more information, contact Linda Spencer at or visit

People, Places, & Racing News

  • YEN Logo  
      Brian Reese
      Brian Reese

    Few individuals in the performance industry reach the vice president level by the age of 36. However, even fewer work for a marquee manufacturer, such as COMP Cams, as Brian Reese does. With the flair of an entrepreneur and the experience of a highly trained engineer, Reese has overseen the development of some of COMP Performance Group’s (which includes leading brands, such as COMP Cams, TCI, FAST, ZEX, RHS, Inglese, Quarter Master and others) biggest product hits in the last few years, including the FAST EZ-EFI Self Tuning Fuel Injection and the COMP Cams Engine Oils.

    Reese cut his teeth as a GM development engineer before moving on as chief of engineering for SLP Performance Parts—a position he held for eight years. When the opportunity for the vice president of engineering position at CPG opened up, he was hooked. In this interview, Reese provides [SEMA Member News] insight into how a hard-charging young vice president should lead and manage an organization’s best resource—older, experienced employees.

    Brian, you’ve been in charge of engineering departments at both SLP and CPG from a very young age. What challenges do you typically face when dealing with an older engineer?

    “The biggest challenge I find in dealing with an older engineer is that oftentimes there is a gap of ‘trust’ between the younger executive and the older engineer. Most young executives think they know everything and have the attitude, ‘I don’t need this old guy.’ What I’ve found is exactly the opposite. Older employees have something that young people don’t have—experience. You don’t have to be the smartest guy to have the most experience. You get experience just by living and working. It’s the one thing where there is no shortcut. You can’t cheat it, you can’t learn it at Harvard and you can’t get it any quicker.

    The challenge that occurs with an older engineer is that they know you don’t have the experience. So if you demand their respect, you often won’t get it. Sometimes, the younger executives try to then say, ‘we need younger engineers—they get it.’ That is wrong, though. The key is to surround yourself with older, more experienced people, not younger people. The older staff has what you want and what you can’t get without time. I believe it has been one of the key tickets to my success. I have been lucky to have really good relationships with older people and the opportunity to leverage their knowledge.”

    Give me an example of when you didn’t best utilize the experience on your team. Who helped mentor you in this?

    “Look, I was forced to learn this early in my career. At the first job I ever had, I was in a management position from day one, and what happened was, as a manager, I was asked questions and was expected to answer. The owner said: ‘What are we going to do?’ I didn’t know. I wanted to ask my boss, but I was the boss, of engineering, at least. So I had nobody to ask. I remember early on, even when I was working for SLP, I was the chief engineer, and I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t learn that in school; I was forced to go out and seek better advice. It was the only option that I had at my disposal. So I would say—personally—I had to use older employees from day one because I was forced to.”

    Give young executives some advice about what they should do when they run into resistance from an older employee?

    “Oh, you are going to run into resistance. Plan on it—you just better expect it. With senior staff, you have to earn their respect; really with anyone. You can’t be crowned respect. You can’t be given respect, you have to earn it. What that means when dealing with older executives, when you are a manager of someone older than yourself; you’re asking someone who has more experience than you to accept what you are asking them to do versus what they might do on their own.

    Without respect it’s almost impossible. So you’ve got two options: you can demand it, yell, and scream and you might even get some short-term success. But it’s not sustainable. So you’ll either have them quit, or they will try to get rid of you. The only option is to engage them, listen to them, respect them and listen to everything they have to contribute. Rather than tell them what to do, what you’re really trying to do is get them to participate in the idea. The idea being what you need them to do. You’re essentially getting them to buy-in through helping them see what the right thing is.”

    What about advice for an older employee with a younger executive?

    “It takes a unique person who is older to deal with a younger boss. Keep an open mind. It’s often easier for an older person to keep an open mind than a younger person. In my experience, older people are easier to deal with as they get older. If an older employee wants to help the situation, he can help his or her young boss learn how to manage. It works both ways. An older guy can go to a younger executive and he can help the younger boss avoid making a bad decision. The younger boss—if he has a half a brain—will start to learn that the old guy is a pretty important key player in here.”

    Did you have an older employee—who worked under you—mentor you?

    “Yes. I mean, I’ve learned from almost everyone who has worked for me. At SLP, a guy worked for me, he was probably in his mid 50s when I was 25—Tony Calapatch. He read me like a book. He said ‘you’re young, talented, but you are wound up.’ He was like a father figure. He listened to me when he knew he should, yet he helped me when he knew I needed it. He helped me help myself.

    He counseled me and taught me how to deal with him—he wasn’t as fast as I wanted him to be, and he got me to calm down a little bit. He made me realize that if an employee isn’t in a positive environment that he likes or enjoys, it won’t last in the long run. The fundamental first step for working with senior staff members is creating an environment in which they are happy.

    Summarize the top three things that a young executive needs to know to develop a productive relationship with an older staff member:

    1. Do more listening than talking.
    2. Be aware and sensitive to create an environment that older employees enjoy.
    3. Leverage the experience of your older employees as much as possible. They have it, you don’t. Use it.

    nhra nhra2


    SEATTLE WINS COME AT RIGHT TIME FOR NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRIVERS: To say that Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson was looking for success on the Western Swing would be an understatement. Just three weeks ago, Wilkerson entered the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals—the first event of the three-race swing—in 11th place in the point standings. In the first 11 races of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, he had racked up eight first-round losses and had only advanced further than the second round once with a semifinal finish in Charlotte. Things were, to say the least, looking bleak. But as Wilkerson stood in the winner’s circle Sunday evening at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals—the final leg of the famed Western Swing in Seattle—his struggles seemed a distant memory.

    “This win really couldn’t have come at a better time for this team,” said Wilkerson. “The win is definitely a big morale boost for my team and really helps our position in the Countdown for sure.”

    With his win in Seattle, runner-up finish in Sonoma and second-round showing in Denver, Wilkerson moved to ninth in the standings with two races left before the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. Like Wilkerson, Pro Stock driver Jason Line timed his win—his fourth of the season—just right. After losing his point lead with a semifinal loss to Mike Edwards in Sonoma—a lead that he had held nearly the entire season—Line took back the top position by beating teammate Greg Anderson in the final round in Seattle. Now, with the points lead back in hand, Line hopes to clinch his top spot and that 30-point bonus with two regular-season races left.

    “It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Line. “I had a great feeling that if I did my job today that we had a car that could win this race. We made some changes to the car from Sonoma, and it ran good all weekend. It was phenomenal.”

    For more results from Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, log on to

    nhra3 nhra4 nhra5

    As the dust settled at Pacific Raceways following the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, eight more drivers had clinched spots in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship—the NHRA’s six-race playoffs for the world championships. Funny Car drivers Robert Hight, Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon joined point leader Mike Neff with their clinched spots, and Pro Stock featured the most drivers to clinch—five: Vincent Nobile, Erica Enders, Allen Johnson, Rodger Brogdon and Greg Stanfield. Only two races remain—the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway and the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, before the start of the Countdown. Below are the drivers who have secured spots so far in the Countdown to the Championship:

    Del Worsham   Mike Neff   Jason Line   Karen Stoffer
    Spencer Massey   Robert Hight   Greg Anderson   Eddie Krawiec
    Antron Brown   Jack Beckman   Mike Edwards    
    Tony Schumacher   Cruz Pedregon   Vincent Nobile    
    Larry Dixon       Erica Enders
            Allen Johnson    
            Rodger Brogdon    
            Greg Stanfield    


    LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INT’L RACEWAY, August 18–21: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the Land of 10,000 Lakes on its second-to-last stop before the Countdown to the Championship. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Bob Bode (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 218/824-7223 or log on to For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at

    The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its last stop before the Countdown to the Championship at the most prestigious race in the world. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/884-NHRA (6472) or log on to For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at

    O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, September 15–18: The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship begins in Charlotte at the second stop of the season at zMAX Dragway. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/455-FANS (3267) or log on to For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at



    Top Fuel pilot Del Worsham after his win Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle—his sixth of the year: “This season has been unreal; to watch this Al-Anabi team work is amazing. This team is so detail-oriented and just really good at what they do. The Al-Anabi team did another outstanding job, and they gave me a car that could win.”



    At the 1966 Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, 27-year-old housewife and mother of three Shirley Shahan drove her ’65 Plymouth past Ken Heinemann in the Top Stock final round to become the first woman to win an NHRA event.



    18: That’s how many points 11th-place Top Fuel driver Terry McMillen sits behind 10th-place Dave Grubnic with just two races left before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. McMillen is less than one round back of grabbing a spot in the Countdown.



    …that racing-lubricants pioneer and Top Fuel team owner Forrest Lucas will be at Brainerd International Raceway to help kick off the NHRA 60th celebration in Minnesota? Lucas will participate in a special track walk Sunday before pre-race and be on hand during the entire weekend at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals to sign autographs and meet with fans. Also, a special autograph session celebrating the 60th anniversary of the NHRA will occur Saturday, in which NHRA legends Warren Johnson, Kurt Johnson, Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Tom Hoover will participate. For tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, call 218/824-7223 or log on to

    For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.

  • Join the SEMA Council Family

    SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that serve to represent
    focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups
    are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and
    direct council activities while representing the membership at large.
    Although each council acts independently and represents a different
    segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a

    The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute.
    It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company
    representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together
    and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking
    events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote
    business. An equally important council function is to ensure that
    SEMA—the association—sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a
    presence with its members.

    The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?”
    The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the door and provide you
    exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a
    community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire
    to see business succeed and prosper. Once the door is open, it is your
    responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively

    Learn more today

    Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
    Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC)
    Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
    Street Performance Council (SPC) Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
    SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) Young Executives Network (YEN)

    LTAA Logo  
    Visit LTAA's website.  

    2011 LTAA New Products Showcase Event

    LTAA-member company products filled the New Products tent to the seams at this year’s second LTAA New Products Showcase. The second annual event took place August 5–7, as part of the Carlisle Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

    The New Products Showcase gives LTAA-member companies the opportunity to display their latest products in front of one of the largest gatherings of light-truck enthusiasts in the country. In addition, each product is professionally photographed, and the photos and product descriptions are posted in a gallery on the LTAA website where they live until the next year’s products are posted. Click here to view the 2010

    LTAA unpacks, sets up and repacks each product sent for the New Products Showcase.
    More than 60 products from 35 LTAA-member companies were on display at the 2011 LTAA New Products Showcase.

    LTAA New Products Showcase entries. The 2011 gallery will be open in a few weeks. The photos are also presented in a video in the LTAA booth and during the LTAA Fall Nationals Awards Reception at the SEMA Show. Exhibitors gain all of this product exposure for only the cost of shipping!

    Not yet an LTAA member? Let the LTAA New Products Showcase be your reason. Companies may download the LTAA application from the LTAA website at Just click on the big red button that says “Join This Council.”

    LTAA Select Committee Interviews

    Name: Rick Hermann
    Company: MacNeil Automotive
    Title: National Outside Sales Manager

    What is your history in the industry and in LTAA?

    I served my first three-year term on LTAA from 2005–2008. I originally wanted to get involved with LTAA back then to better serve the industry. When I came back to the industry in 2010, it was natural for me to get involved. I feel every SEMA/LTAA member has the opportunity to step up in one way or another, and this is how I choose to do that. In addition, I had a number of people on the Board asking me to run for the Select Committee again, so I did it.

    Why do you feel it’s important to serve on the LTAA Select Committee?

    LTAA is a grassroots organization in my eyes. We are truly about membership, and it is important that we serve our members to better understand what their needs are and what it will take to be successful and grow their business profitably.

    To say the industry is going through a transition is an understatement. The market continues to present more challenges than ever and, as in our case, the vendor/customer/consumer relationship is as important as it has ever been. We must create opportunities for all of our members to be successful. We must continue to motivate the consumers to support the industry and make sure we have the proper outlets so these needs can be satisfied quickly and easily.

    What do you see LTAA doing well?

    I always feel networking is one of the best opportunities afforded by LTAA membership. We offer our members the ability to meet each other personally and discuss what products and programs work to drive consumer business. Never underestimate what you can learn from your peers by listening to everyday experiences.

    What do you think LTAA could improve upon?

    This question is hard to answer. I personally really enjoyed the regional shows. But when business declined, travel was apparently one of the discretionary expenses that was cut or refocused into other parts of the business. From the vendor's and customer’s standpoint, we all have to look at how we invest our money, and the shows were something that was eliminated.

    As far as a direct answer to the question, I will have to wait until I get more time under my belt on the Select Committee to answer this question and, hopefully, with the help of my peers, work to improve the things we are doing poorly.

    How do you plan to contribute?

    I have always been of the mindset that if you want to step up you need to help where needed. I never look at my role on any board as a title, but more as a conduit to making things happen.

    Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    I just would encourage all of our members to take the time to be involved and support those that bring profitable solutions to your business.

    LTAA and SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology Provide “Technology Tips”

    Emerging vehicle technologies, such as electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring and anti-lock brakes directly impact the livelihood of many companies. For several years, SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak has been leading efforts to help SEMA-member companies integrate with this technology. A recent article in the April issue of SEMA News presented answers from Waraniak on a whole range of technology issues. But, trying to digest all of the information in one sitting can be a daunting task.

    To that end, Waraniak has agreed to field specific questions about new vehicle technologies and, more specifically, how LTAA companies should address them, and provide replies right here in the LTAA SEMA eNews column. Questions may be directed to incoming LTAA Chair-elect Melanie White at Hellwig Products at Questions and answers will be published the first week of the month in SEMA eNews, and an archive will be kept on the LTAA website.

    Technology Tip #2

    Question: What is ESC? Why does it matter to you as an LTAA member?

    Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is an active control system that affects both vehicle performance and safety. By applying individual brakes and modulating engine torque, this system has been shown to significantly reduce vehicle accident rates and fatalities. With this trend repeatedly being documented worldwide, the NHTSA established FMVSS 126, mandating ESC on all production vehicles by September 2011. Further, it requires vehicles modified by the aftermarket to still meet the performance requirements of the regulation after September 2012. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to the aftermarket. The challenge is to make sure the requirements are met, but the opportunity lies in the establishment of an absolute standard that demonstrates compliance and the marketing benefits with the customer and OEM dealers that come with that compliance.

    What's the Value of Being an LTAA Member?

    New Products Showcase – Put your product in front of one of the largest gathering of truck enthusiasts in the country at the Carlisle Truck Nationals.

    Networking – LTAA mixer at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals, Annual Long-Range Planning meeting and access to LTAA members and light-truck industry professionals around the world.

    Tools and resources for the retailer and installer – "Pickup Bed Dimensions Sheet," "Keyless Entry Wiring Pickup Points Reference Sheet," "Why Paints Don’t Match" DVD and more.

    Education – and LTAA-specific learning track on the new SEI from SEMA, coming soon!

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? LTAA Is!

    Be sure to follow LTAA on all of your favorite social networking sites.

    To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    LTAA Column in SEMA Member News

    Read LTAA's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about LTAA, contact Jim Skelly.

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    ARMO Logo
    Visit ARMO's website.

    ARMO New Products Showcase Gallery Now Open

    Check out all the cool, new ARMO-member restoration products that were on display in the 2011 ARMO New Products Showcase tent at Spring Carlisle. For only the cost of shipping the product, ARMO-member companies have their newest product(s) on display in front of the largest gathering of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the country. While on display, each product is professionally photographed, and the photograph and description are then hosted on the ARMO website. The same photographs will also be shown in the ARMO booth and at the ARMO reception at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

    Not an ARMO member? Go to and join now to participate in the 2012 ARMO New Products Showcase!

    ARMO Seminars Available on SEI’s New ARMO Education Track

    Two ARMO-sponsored education seminars, recorded earlier this year at the 2011 Hotrod & Restoration Show, are now available as part of the ARMO Education Track on the new SEI eLearning Center. The seminars may also be accessed directly from the ARMO website at

    Dick Dixon presents “The Art of Selling” in session one. Dixon is a popular speaker who combines his passion for all things automotive and his experience as an educator to present ideas in new and informative fashion.

    Session two features ARMO Chairperson Laura Bergan moderating a panel of industry experts through “Internet Marketing on a Budget.” Panelists Tyler Tanaka, Eric Saltrick and Robert Basha answer questions and provide “real-world” examples of how a small business can utilize the benefits of the Internet without breaking the budget.

    Each seminar is approximately one hour in length, and each is presented in its entirety. Nothing has been edited out, so it’s as if you were actually there!

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!

    Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    ARMO Column in SEMA Member News

    Read ARMO's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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    HRIA Logo  
    Visit HRIA's website

    Hot Rodder Highlight

    SEMA's Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) will spotlight a member of the Council each month through its newly created Hot Rodder Highlight. The HRIA, which is dedicated to ensuring the future prosperity of the hot-rod industry and promoting awareness of the hobby, will highlight a new HRIA member on its website on a monthly basis.

    The first member featured in the HRIA's Hot Rodder Highlight is Rich Barsamian, national sales manager for Lancaster, California-based Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT)—a manufacturer of performance clutches and flywheels.

 Barsamian has been with ACT for one year and has 26 total years of automotive aftermarket industry experience.

    Rich Barsamian
    Barsamian's ’51 Mercury Monterey
    project vehicle.

    How did you first begin working in the automotive aftermarket?

    I worked for a rep agency doing demos at various auto-parts store grand openings.

    What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

    Helping customers adapt and grow to the ever-changing market and distribution channels.

    Do you have a project vehicle?

    Yes, a ’51 Mercury Monterey

    Why did you choose this vehicle?

    My father had one as a teenager, and I thought it would be a great tribute to my dad. It had that streamlined look to it.

    How do you like to show off your vehicle?

    We haven't started showing it yet. We need to get engine work done.

    What are your major professional accomplishments, memberships and areas of service?

    2001 Young Executive of the Year winner, 2002 and 2003 finalist for PWA person of the Year, and SEMA'S Young Executive Network 2010 Vanguard of the Year. I belong to MPMC and just finished as a Select Committee member since 2005.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I have been married for 16 years to my beautiful wife Saundra and have three boys ages 10–13.

    What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

    I enjoy playing music in the industry band Led Foot to help raise money for the Childhelp children’s charity.

    Have You Registered a Patent or Trademark? Your Competition Has

    Protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of its members is a top SEMA priority. The process begins when companies register their patents, trademarks and copyrights with government agencies in the United States (and other countries). Registration is a key to establishing legal rights.

    To assist its members, SEMA has created a webpage called Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights, explaining the different types of IP, including protecting new products (utility patents) and product designs (design patent), identifying the source of the product (trademarks) and protecting product brochures or website designs (copyright). It also contains information on how to register IP along with links to seminars, webinars and SEMA News articles.

    With respect to enforcing IP rights at the SEMA Show, the association has developed an effective policy for pursuing infringement allegations. SEMA’s IP enforcement policy is posted on the IPR webpage and is also published as part of the Exhibitor Services Manual. Questions may be directed to Stuart Gosswein (

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!

    Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    HRIA Column in SEMA Member News

    Read HRIA's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about HRIA and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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    MPMC Logo  
    Visit MPMC's website.  


    Media Trade Conference Exhibitor Registration is Now Open

    MPMC-member companies may now register for a chance at one of the 100 available exhibitor suites at the 2012 MPMC Media Trade Conference, which takes place January 24–26, 2012, at the Embassy Suites LAX South Hotel in El Segundo, California. Exhibitor registration remains open until September 2, 2011. MPMC-member manufacturers may register online on the MPMC website.

    The MPMC Media Trade Conference is a truly unique event that brings together editorial staff from all over the world with racing and high-performance parts manufacturers for three days of face-to-face, 30-minute meetings. Nowhere else can a manufacturer have the opportunity to meet with automotive journalists from the world over in as many as 42 face-to-face, 30-minute meetings.

    Not an MPMC member? Join at

    For more information, contact Jim Skelly at SEMA at 909/978-6690 or via e-mail at

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!

    Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page

    The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!

    MPMC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read MPMC's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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    MRC Logo  
    Visit MRC's website.  

    A Message From MRC Chair Wade Cobb

    The MRC council has been chipping away at what our Long-Range Planning session of 2010 indentified as a need—benefits for our membership! MRC recently put a program together with TeleNotes, offering our members a business tool to elevate their company’s ability to capture data and reporting. We are also continuing to work on travel programs, possibly offering an “MRC” rate at our industry events, such as PWA and the SEMA Show, with select lodging. We also recognized the need to reach out to our general members and non-members to determine what it is they need from MRC.

    In February we conducted an online survey to 3,500 rep agencies associated with SEMA to find out more about reps and how MRC can maximize its efforts as a council to provide you with benefits. Thanks to all who took the time to respond; it’s the only way we can build a better MRC. Just as any council or association, it’s imperative to get the feedback from its members on what works or needs to be fixed. As we move on reviewing the data MRC has been able to obtain through the survey and the information from our LRP, the council will continue to put action plans in place to address the concerns.

    In our most recent tele-conference, MRC has established the date and time for the MRC event to be held at the 2011 SEMA Show, Sunday, October 30, from 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. The MRC Rep Conference task force headed by our own Thomas Jordan is in the midst of debating the topic and format to ensure we have the best possible event for you.

    Looking to continue the efforts put forth by our members, MRC attended the MPMC Media Trade Conference held in Los Angeles this past January with the purpose of representing MRC to the manufacturers present. MRC Chair-Elect Chris Fairless and I had a MRC room all three days of the event, conducting meetings with members interested in utilizing reps and showing them the value of using rep agencies. We provided each exhibiting company with a MRC brochure and offered the MRC DVD for additional information. Both Chris and I were very pleased with the event, realizing this was a first for MRC and a great opportunity given to MRC by MPMC to explore the venue and take away ideas to build even better programs for coming events. We truly wish to thank Kyle Fickler and Vic Wood of MPMC for working with us during the MPMC Media Trade Conference.

    We look forward to working with other industry segments to continue educating our fellow industry members on the benefits of utilizing a rep agency as their sales force. Your thoughts and comments are welcome any time. We need to hear your voice, so please speak out!

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!

    Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    MRC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read MRC's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about MRC, contact Zane Clark.

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    PRO Logo  
    Visit PRO's website.  

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!

    Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    PRO Column in SEMA Member News

    Read PRO's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about PRO, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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    SBN Logo  
    Visit SBN's website.  

    SEMA Businesswomen’s Network Debuts Speed Networking Event Video

    The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) has released its 2010 Speed Networking Breakfast—Powered by SBN event video. If you attended this sold-out event—or even if you missed it—you must check out the video so you can plan ahead to attend this year’s event.

    While the SBN Speed Networking Breakfast is not exclusively for women, it clearly focuses on recognizing women who significantly contribute to the aftermarket and performance industries.

    With special thanks to James and Melissa Lawrence of PowerTV, who covered this event, we are able to share the highlights with our members. Captured on video are glimpses of the event, which includes an exclusive interview with SBN's 2010 Woman of the Year Award recipient Kellie Colf of Aftermarketer Club Inc., and Zan Martin of Martin & Company Advertising. Both discuss the significance of each award.

    Also accepting an SBN Award was Wade Kawasaki of Exports International, who was awarded the 2010 Athena Award for his support of women in the automotive aftermarket industry. And presenting the Mentor of the Year Award to a deserving John Menzler of Comp Performance Group was Joe St. Lawrence of RTM Productions Inc.—Titanium Sponsor of the event.

    SBN’s annual breakfast event held during SEMA Show week is a great opportunity to network, learn and forge new relationships with others who share the same goals and interests of growing the automotive aftermarket industry and promoting the success of all.

    Check out the following links to view video and photos from the 2010 SBN Annual Speed Networking Breakfast:


    You Ought to Be in Pictures!

    The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network committee is a great resource of minds. All ladies in the specialty-equipment industry can join the SBN, so pass the word around to your colleagues and friends! We are encouraging all new and existing SBN members to log-in to the MySEMA portal to update their profile with a photo so we get to know each other's faces before the SEMA Show.

    And don’t forget to turn your notifications settings “ON” so you can stay in “the loop.” Want to know more about the SBN? Interested in becoming a member?

    Want to get involved in the industry but don't know how? We have an app for that! Go to, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!

    Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch

    The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.

    On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

    Discover the SEMA Mentoring Program—Powered by the SBN

    “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…” - Joe Cocker

    Everyone needs help or expert advice from time to time, and SEMA’s
    Mentoring Program is an excellent resource to get answers to all your
    questions. Whether you need to know more about SEMA, market information
    for a start-up company or advice on how to approach your boss about a
    new position, the SEMA Mentoring Program can help.

    “Ask A
    Mentor” is perfect for one-time questions. You can expect multiple SEMA
    mentors to provide online guidance and answers to your industry-related

    Short-term Assistance/Guidance is for help with a
    specific project or task. A SEMA council/committee mentor with the
    expertise you seek will be paired up with you to provide guidance with
    your project.

    Long-term Relationship is helpful for developing
    your professional career. In this program segment you will be paired
    with a SEMA council/committee mentor who will provide guidance and
    assistance for ongoing career development or a long-term project.

    So whether you just need an answer to a question or you want to
    cultivate a mentoring friendship, the SEMA Mentoring Program—Powered by
    the SBN is available to help. After all, we can all use a little help
    from our friends.

    Visit the SEMA Mentoring Program now.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!

    Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    SBN Column in SEMA Member News

    Read SBN's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about SBN, contact Staci Bostock.

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    SPC Logo  
    Visit SPC's website.  

    Find the Business Possibilities Through the SPC

    Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.

    The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed
    and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information,
    education and support to our members concerning new and emerging
    trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales,
    future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give
    you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.

    Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and
    technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership
    of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other
    professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into
    areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts,
    people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important,

    This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your
    profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and
    become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive
    market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!

    Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    SPC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read SPC's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about SPC, contact Nathan Ridnouer.

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    WTC Logo  
    Visit WTC's website

    Have you ever wondered how to get more involved in the SEMA Wheel and Tire (WTC) Council?

    What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to serve a two-year term. They participate in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experience and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company in their WTC efforts, and for that we say “thank you” to those companies!

    The leaders of the WTC gathered earlier this year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on bringing value to the WTC-member companies. The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of our companies and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.

    Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas. Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or have comments.

    Science and Technology Task Force

    Tim Dietz (Standards Testing Laboratories Inc.) and can be reached at This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect our industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.

    Education Task Force
    Kelly Austin (Ultra Wheel Company) chairs this group and can be reached at The education task force is charged with developing successful programs for members to enhance their businesses. The WTC Task Force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.

    Communication and Marketing Task Force

    Doug Frymer (Law Offices of Douglas A. Frymer) chairs this group and can be reached at This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. It is imperative that councils effectively communicate services provided by WTC and SEMA to our members. Communication and services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.

    SEMA Show Task Force

    David Insull (American Tire Distributors) chairs this group and can be reached at The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.

    There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!

    Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    WTC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read WTC's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about WTC and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call or 909/978-6696.

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    YEN Logo
    Visit YEN's website

    SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program

    Since 2004, SEMA's Young Executives Network has been dedicated to aiding recent graduates in getting off to a successful start in their automotive specialty-equipment career.

    “SEMA and YEN are believers in higher education,” said Gregory Parker, chairman of the Young Executives Network. “However, with today's higher costs of getting an education, more and more students have to turn to student loans. The new YEN Loan Forgiveness Scholarship Award will now be able to help a previous or current student who has loans they are trying to pay off while working within our industry. Our inaugural scholarship winner, Jaclyn Kilani, worked hard to put herself through school and is now working for a SEMA-member company. We are just glad we are able to recognize and reward her for her hard work, and we look forward to doing the same for other industry peers as we move into the future.”

    Kilani, who recently graduated from California State University with a degree in graphic design, is the marketing director at Dannmar Equipment, a manufacturer of automotive repair products. Of the specialty-equipment industry, Kilani says, “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. It’s an eclectic marketplace with a very unique audience, and I love the challenge of marketing a company in a non-traditional way. This award came at the perfect time, and it's a tremendous step toward my goal of becoming debt-free. I truly appreciate the privilege.”

    The SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program is dedicated to aiding recent graduates in getting off to a successful start in their specialty-equipment career. SEMA offers a minimum of $1,000 toward outstanding student loans for individuals who are employed by SEMA-member companies. Applications for the next program are available at

    Join YEN

    you know that the SEMA Young Executives Network has more than 500
    members networking in the industry and is the largest SEMA committee?
    If you are employed by a SEMA-member company and are under the age of
    39, then you can join the SEMA Young Executives Network for FREE. If
    you are interested in becoming part of the team, please visit our
    website at

    YEN Member of the Month Spotlight

    Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA
    website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections
    or to make a nomination, visit

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!

    Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    YEN Column in SEMA Member News

    Read YEN's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about YEN, contact Nathan Ridnouer.

    Back to Top

  • Shurhold Industries Adds Pro-Motion to Distribution Network
    Shurhold Industries added Pro-Motion Distributing to its network of distributors for Shurhold's automotive chemicals and hand-held tools. Pro-Motion Distributing is located in the City of Industry, California, and is a leading wholesale distributor of high-performance aftermarket products. Pro-Motion Distributing services a global market of more than 4,000 independently owned and operated automotive retailers. The company owns and operates offices in both California and Tennessee, which allows them to ship product both faster and at lower freight costs.

    Scott Clatterbuck   Staci Langham
    Scott Clatterbuck   Staci Langham

    SCCA Pro Racing Hires Scott Clatterbuck and Staci Langham
    SCCA Pro Racing's
    Topeka office hired Scott Clatterbuck as business manager and Staci Langham
    series administrator. Clatterbuck is responsible for the business side
    of SCCA Pro Racing, including the budgets for each of the road-racing
    series managed or sanctioned by the organization. This is a new
    position for SCCA Pro Racing, and Clatterbuck started in April. Langham
    will provide customer service to teams, drivers and series officials,
    answering questions about licensing procedures, event registration and
    other needs. Prior to coming to SCCA Pro Racing, Langham served as
    office manager for the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.

    Tire Rack Named Official Tire and Wheel Supplier to Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine
    Source Interlink Media announced that Tire Rack is the official tire and wheel supplier to both Motor Trend and Automobile magazine.
    As part of the arrangement, Tire Rack will be the official “go-to”
    company on tires and wheels for the two brands, providing tire
    industry expertise and product support, as well as access to Tire Rack’s
    test facility. Tire Rack will also assist each of the brands during
    testing for their annual “of the Year” awards, including Motor Trend’s
    Car, Truck and Sport/Utility of the Year and Automobile magazine’s
    All-Stars and Automobile of the Year. Most recently, Tire Rack provided
    technical assistance for a major performance test that will appear in
    the November issue of Motor Trend. Additionally, the Automobile magazine
    staff visited Tire Rack’s test track at its corporate headquarters,
    where they learned which tires were best suited for the daily driving
    habits and performance goals of the brand’s long-term test fleet.
    Source Interlink stated that the partnership with Tire Rack will not
    affect the unbiased reviews for which Motor Trend and Automobile magazine are known.

    Gunnar SmithJosh Forster  
    Gunnar Smith and Josh Forster were both promoted to specialty account representatives for R&R Marketing Consultants Inc.  

    R&R Marketing Consultants Inc. Promotes Gunnar Smith and Josh Forster to Specialty Account Representatives
    R&R Marketing Consultants Inc. in South San Francisco, California announced that Gunnar Smith and Josh Forster were both promoted to the position of specialty account representative. According to the company, Smith and Forster both started with R&R as service representatives and have grown in their abilities and proven their commitment to excellence. The company also stated that it believes that developing the skill set of its staff and creating internal promotion opportunities are key components to its long-term success.

    Kelley Blue Book Hires Michele Everett as Advertising Sales Manager
    Kelley Blue Book hired Michele Everett as the new advertising sales manager for Kelley Blue Book's website. According to the company, Everett was hired to support the company's new advertising initiative that helps aftermarket companies directly connect with the 40% of's visitors that consider themselves do-it-yourselfers. Everett will represent to sell automotive aftermarket industry opportunities, build agency relationships and create both national and regional advertising programs on behalf of the company.

    Mitchell 1 Names Frank Adkins 2011 Educator of the Year
    Mitchell 1 announced that Frank Adkins of Greenwood, Delaware, was named the 2011 Educator of the Year during the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) Conference held recently at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Mitchell 1 recognizes one of the nation’s top teachers for excellence in automotive repair instruction each year. Adkins was presented with a check for $500 and a recognition certificate. He will also receive a one-year, complimentary subscription to Mitchell 1’s popular for the school where he teaches.

      Restore Your Ride Sweepstakes

    McCoy (left) of Randy’s Tire was the grand prize
    winner of a custom ’72 Chevelle SS454 in the Restore Your Ride
    Sweepstakes. McCoy was presented the keys to his new vehicle by NASCAR
    Sprint Cup driver Mark Martin.

    Randy McCoy Takes Home ’72 Chevelle Through CARQUEST and KYB Shocks Restore Your Ride Sweepstakes

    CARQUEST Auto Parts
    and KYB Shocks & Struts announced that Randy
    McCoy of Randy’s Tire in Lugoff, South Carolina, was the grand prize
    winner of a custom ’72 Chevelle SS454 in the Restore Your Ride
    Sweepstakes. McCoy was presented the keys to his new vehicle by NASCAR
    Sprint Cup driver Mark Martin at a presentation in July at the CARQUEST
    Auto Parts store in Lugoff. The KYB Shocks & Struts
    Restore Your Ride Sweepstakes was exclusively for professional
    customers of CARQUEST Auto Parts. For each KYB shock or strut purchased
    from a CARQUEST store between February 1, 2011, and April 30, 2011,
    professional customers earned entries to win either the grand prize ’72 Chevelle or other great prizes, including three $5,000 Visa gift cards, 20 $500 Visa gift cards or 500
    Restore Your Ride wall clocks. A complete list of winners can be found
    online at

    California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) to Install New Officers
    California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA)
    will install new officers during its annual meeting in Las Vegas, October 30. The following individuals will serve as officers for the 2012 year: Chair of the Board, Steve Sharp, WORLDPAC; Vice Chair of the Board, Ed Jimenez, Riebe’s Auto Parts; Treasurer, Ron Cannon, Charleston Auto Parts; Secretary, Ron Aparicio, Walker Products; and Immediate Past Chair of the Board, Mary Davis, NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc.

    MGP Caliper Covers Adds Distributors Atech Motorsports, Motorstate Distribution and Grand West Enterprises
    MGP Caliper Covers continues added distribution through Atech Motorsports, Motorstate Distribution and Grand West Enterprises.
    MGP Caliper Covers, officially licensed by Ford Motor Company and
    General Motors, has applications for more than 500 vehicles, with
    additional applications being added each week.


      Team Falken Tire took top honors in the GT class at Mid-Ohio for the first time in the performance tire manufacturer’s three-year ALMS career.

    Falken Tire Weathers Perfect Storm
    Declaring “perseverance pays off,” Team Falken Tire survived the storm that hit Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 30 minutes before the finish and took top honors in the GT class for the first time in the performance tire manufacturer’s three-year ALMS career.

 Derrick Walker, Falken’s ALMS team manager, made the comment after previously expressing confidence in Falken’s capability at Mid-Ohio—a track he knows very well from years of competing as a manager and owner of IndyCar teams. 

    Credit also went to Falken’s two team drivers, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler, and his partner Bryan Sellers, who persevered through the race on a track notoriously tough on tires. Sellers qualified ninth and expressed disappointment with the position, considering Falken has finished in fifth place the last two races. However, Sellers started the race and started moving forward until he was hit from behind by the #04 Ford GT, which dropped the Porsche to 12th. The veteran driver fought hard and turned the car over to his teammate in 10th. Henzler entered the race and gradually moved to seventh place in GT, remaining there for a good portion of the race.

    When the green came back out, Henzler immediately jumped two positions to fifth, though heavy rain followed, prompting a second yellow flag. However, it didn’t remain yellow for long, and when the green fluttered again, Henzler drove from fifth to first in a single lap.

    ALMS officials decided with 10 minutes to go to red flag the race as the rain showed no signs of letting up, and Team Falken Tire took the win, earning its first podium and victory.

    Besides the first-place finish, Falken Tire enjoyed a great fan weekend as it partnered with the Austin Hatcher Foundation for a “Racer Pack” giveaway. 

    Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course marked the midway point of the ALMS season. Round 6 is in two weeks at Road America in Wisconsin, then a new street course in Baltimore, September 2–3, with a fast trek to the West Coast for the annual visit to Monterey and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 15–16, wrapping up with the season finale at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, September 28–October 1.

    To learn more about the American Le Mans team, visit


      The JaguarRSR duo of XKRs successfully took the checkered flag in last weekend's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.

    JaguarRSR Takes Checkered Flag at Mid-Ohio

    From one extreme to another the JaguarRSR duo of XKRs successfully took the checkered flag in last weekend's dry then wet Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge. Under sunny skies and hot temperatures, the green flag dropped kicking off round five of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. After qualifying the car 12th in the GT field, PJ Jones drove the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT for the first stint.

    Jones raced through the twists and turns of the 2.258-mile road course for almost one hour and 30 minutes, after which he came in for a full-service stop. He handed the car over to his American teammate Rocky Moran Jr. and, shortly after, the weather took a turn for the worst. A big cell came right over the Lexington, Ohio, area making the remainder of the race quite a show.

    With 10 minutes to go, the track was red flagged and as the clock winded down, it wasn't long after the checkered flag was waved. The #98 car finished 11th in class. After Bruno Junqueira qualified the car 11th on the GT grid, Ken Wilden took the green flag. By Lap 3, he had moved into the top 10.

    At just about the hour marker the Canadian came in to serve his penalty, which held him in the box for 60 seconds. Then went back out for a few more laps before returning to pit lane for full service and a driver change to Junqueira. The Brazilian took it to the finish line. The #99 car finished just behind its counterpart, 12th in GT field.

    Round Six of the American Le Mans Series, the Road Race Showcase, will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on Saturday, August 20.


      Cameron Steele and Chad George won at the Lucas Oil off-road race Sunday night at Glen Helen Raceway for their first wins of the season.

    Yokohama Tire Corporation-Sponsored Off-Roader Cameron Steele Wins Lucas

    Yokohama Tire Corp. collected two first-place victories in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series (LOORRS) event, August 7, at Glen Helen Raceway near San Bernardino, California. Longtime Yokohama-sponsored racer Cameron Steele captured his first Lucas Oil race of the season in the Pro Lite Class, as did Chad George, who took the title in the Super Lites Class. Steele and George won on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S tires.

    Steele is a veteran off-road Trophy Truck class racer who has won championships in SCORE and SNORE. The two-time SCORE Person of the Year and TV commentator said the Yokohama tires were a big factor in helping drive his #16 Stronghold 300hp Ford Pro Lite Unlimited truck to victory.

    The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is a 16-race series, which combines the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing with a West Coast influence. The next LOORRS event is September 24–25, Speedworld Off-Road Park in Surprise, Arizona. Visit for details.

  • SEMA News—August 2011

    Car Guys and Gals…Just Like You

    With More Than 500 Members, State Legislative Caucus Continues to Thrive

      New York Assemblymember Bill Reilich
    New York Assemblymember Bill Reilich, pictured with his '08 Shelby GT 500, serves as the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus chairman.

    In its daily efforts to promote and protect the auto hobby, SEMA continues to partner with state lawmakers from across the country through the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Celebrating its six-year anniversary, the caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.

    Supported by SEMA’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., the caucus is raising the motor-vehicle hobby and specialty-equipment industry’s profile in state legislatures and in the public’s eyes. Approximately 515 state legislators from all 50 states are involved in the caucus. Working in state capitals, these legislators are frequently called upon to oppose restrictive legislation that seeks to prohibit vehicle modification. Many of these legislators have also proactively sought to preserve and protect the hobby by improving existing motor-vehicle statutes and creating new programs to safeguard and expand it.

    Pictured here are a few caucus members with their treasured automobiles and trucks. Here is a full listing of caucus members.


    Kansas State Representative Elaine Bower with the ’62 GMC ¾-ton 305 big-block V6 she restored in 2009.

    State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus Chairman: Assemblymember Bill Reilich (New York)

    Senator Roger Bedford
    Representative Mike Ball
    Representative Daniel Boman
    Representative Allen Farley
    Representative Victor Gaston
    Representative Laura Hall
    Representative Johnny Morrow
    Representative Randy Wood

    Senator Fred Dyson
    Representative David Guttenberg
    Representative Bob Herron
    Representative Kyle Johansen

    Senator Ron Gould
    Senator Linda Lopez
    Representative Jack Harper
    Representative Nancy McLain
    Representative Lynne Pancrazi
    Representative Jerry Weiers
    Representative Vic Williams

    Senator Gene Jeffress
    Senator Johnny Key
    Senator Mary Anne Salmon
    Representative Denny Altes
    Representative Nate Bell
    Representative Charlie Collins
    Representative Linda Collins-Smith
    Representative Allen Kerr
    Representative Homer Lenderman

    Senator Joel Anderson
    Senator Ron Calderon
    Senator Bill Emmerson
    Senator Ted Gaines
    Senator Bob Huff
    Senator Doug LaMalfa
    Senator Gloria Negrete-McLeod
    Senator George Runner
    Assemblymember Jim Beall
    Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes
    Assemblymember Martin Garrick
    Assemblymember Curt Hagman
    Assemblymember Kevin Jeffries
    Assemblymember Tony Mendoza

    Representative Mark Barker
    Representative Millie Hamner
    Representative Chris Holbert
    Representative Pete Lee
    Representative Larry Liston
    Representative Marsha Looper
    Representative Nancy Todd
    Representative Edward Vigil

    Senator Scott Frantz
    Senator Robert Kane
    Representative Penny Bacchiochi
    Representative Toni Walker
    Representative Zeke Zalaski

    Representative Harvey Kenton

    Representative Eddy Gonzalez
    Representative Ed Hooper

    Senator John Albers
    Senator Bill Heath
    Senator Chip Rogers
    Representative Alex Atwood
    Representative Josh Clark
    Representative Terry England
    Representative Bob Hanner
    Representative Michele Henson
    Representative Calvin Hill
    Representative Pete Marin
    Representative Howard Mosby
    Representative Alan Powell
    Representative Nikki Randall

    Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland
    Representative Henry Aquino
    Representative Karen Awana
    Representative Jerry Chang
    Representative Angus McKelvey
    Representative John Mizuno
    Representative Jessica Wooley

    Senator Jim Hammond
    Senator Lee Heider
    Senator Steve Vick
    Representative Marv Hagedorn
    Representative Frank Henderson
    Representative Bill Killen
    Representative Janice McGeachin
    Representative Kathleen Sims
    Representative Rich Wills

    Senator Annazette Collins
    Senator John Mulroe
    Senator Suzi Schmidt
    Representative Adam Brown
    Representative Kay Hatcher
    Representative Donald Moffitt
    Representative Michelle Mussman
    Representative Brandon Phelps
    Representative Robert Pritchard
    Representative Harry R. Ramey
    Representative Al Riley
    Representative Dennis Rosa
    Representative Jim Sacia
    Representative Ron Stephens

    Senator Jim Banks
    Senator Brandt Hershman
    Senator Travis Holdman
    Senator Dennis Kruse
    Senator Sue Landske
    Senator Jim Tomes
    Representative Brian Bosma
    Representative Bill Friend
    Representative Wes Culver
    Representative Bill Davis
    Representative Tom Knollman
    Representative P. Eric Turner

    Senator Jeff Danielson
    Senator Wally Horn
    Senator Joe Seng
    Representative Dwayne Alons
    Representative Dave Deyoe
    Representative Cecil Dolecheck
    Representative Jarad Klein
    Representative Jim Lykam
    Representative Linda Upmeyer

    Senator Mike Petersen
    Senator Chris Steineger
    Representative Tom Arpke
    Representative Bob Bethell
    Representative Elaine Bowers
    Representative Tom Burroughs
    Representative Terry Calloway
    Representative Jim Denning
    Representative Gail Finney
    Representative Doug Gatewood
    Representative Mario Goico
    Representative Jana Goodman
    Representative Carl Holmes
    Representative Mitch Holmes
    Representative Jim Howell
    Representative Harold Lane
    Representative Judith Loganbill
    Representative Peggy Mast
    Representative Ray Merrick
    Representative Michael Peterson
    Representative Don Schroeder
    Representative Joe Seiwert
    Representative Bill Wolf

    Senator Joe Bowen
    Senator Tom Buford
    Senator Jared Carpenter
    Senator Joey Pendleton
    Senator Dorsey Ridley
    Senator Robin Webb
    Representative Thomas Burch
    Representative Mike Cherry
    Representative Tim Couch
    Representative Ted Edmonds
    Representative Keith Hall
    Representative Mike Harmon
    Representative Richard Henderson
    Representative Dennis Horlander
    Representative Mary Lou Marzian
    Representative Reginald Meeks
    Representative Michael Meredith
    Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo
    Representative Jody Richards
    Representative Tom Riner
    Representative Brent Yonts

    Senator A.G. Crowe
    Senator Ben Nevers
    Senator Francis Thompson
    Senator Mike Walsworth
    Representative Jeffery Arnold
    Representative Damon Baldone
    Representative Girod Jackson III
    Representative John LaBruzzo
    Representative Anthony Ligi
    Representative Nickie Monica
    Representative M.J. Smiley

    Senator Lois Snowe-Mello
    Representative Richard Cebra
    Representative Dale Crafts
    Representative Les Fossel
    Representative Gary Knight
    Representative Thomas Longstaff
    Representative Ann Peoples
    Representative Kerri L. Prescott
    Representative Wes Richardson
    Representative Linda Sanborn
    Representative Michael Shaw
    Representative Jeffrey Timberlake

    Senator Barry Glassman
    Senator Katherine Klausmeier
    Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr.
    Delegate Barbara Frush
    Delegate Cheryl Glenn
    Delegate Michael Hough
    Delegate Benjamin Kramer
    Delegate Warren Miller
    Delegate Wayne Norman
    Delegate Steven Schuh
    Delegate Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher
    Delegate Jay Walker

    Representative Fred Barrows
    Representative Steven Howitt
    Representative James Murphy
    Representative Dennis Rosa

    Senator Glenn Anderson
    Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood
    Senator Joe Hune
    Senator Rick Jones
    Senator Mike Kowall
    Representative David Agema
    Representative Charles Brunner
    Representative Douglas Geiss
    Representative Ken Horn
    Representative Brad Jacobsen
    Representative Rick Jones
    Representative Eileen Kowall
    Representative Richard LeBlanc
    Representative Chuck Moss
    Representative John Proos
    Representative John Walsh
    Representative Dale Zorn

    Senator Michael Jungbauer
    Senator Jim Metzen
    Senator Carla Nelson
    Senator Katie Sieben
    Senator David Tomassoni
    Representative Jim Abeler
    Representative Paul Anderson
    Representative Joe Atkins
    Representative Bob Barrett
    Representative Mike Benson
    Representative Kurt Bills
    Representative Bob Dettmer
    Representative Sondra Erickson
    Representative Pat Garofalo
    Representative Steve Gottwalt
    Representative Rick Hansen
    Representative Melissa Hortman
    Representative Patti Fritz
    Representative Carol McFarlane
    Representative Ron Shimanski
    Representative Kelby Woodard

    Senator Hillman Frazier
    Representative Richard Bennett
    Representative Scott Delano
    Representative Roger Ishee
    Representative Ken Morgan
    Representative Dannie Reed
    Representative Walter Robinson Jr.

    Senator Brian Nieves
    Senator Mike Parson
    Representative T.J. Berry
    Representative Joe Fallert
    Representative Tim Jones
    Representative Mike Kelley
    Representative Brent Lasater
    Representative Thomas Long
    Representative Tom McDonald
    Representative Eileen McGeoghegan
    Representative Jay Swearingen
    Representative Don Wells
    Representative Paul Wieland
    Representative Billy Pat Wright

    Senator Jeff Essmann
    Senator Tom Facey
    Senator Jon Sonju
    Senator Ryan Zinke
    Representative Christy Clark
    Representative Gordon Hendrick
    Representative Douglas Kary
    Representative Steve Lavin
    Representative Mike Miller
    Representative Wayne Stahl

    Senator Colby Coash
    Senator Heath Mello
    Senator Jeremy Nordquist

    Senator David Parks
    Senator Moises (Mo) Denis
    Senator Mark Manendo
    Assemblymember Richard Carrillo
    Assemblymember Ed Goedhart
    Assemblymember John Oceguera
    Assemblymember Lynn Stewart

    New Hampshire
    Senator Andy Sanborn
    Representative Gary Azarian
    Representative Gail Barry
    Representative Paul Brown
    Representative Gene Charron
    Representative Daniel Eaton
    Representative Jack Flanagan
    Representative Frank Holden
    Representative Robert Introne
    Representative Kenneth Kreis
    Representative Michael McCarthy
    Representative Carol McGuire
    Representative Keith Murphy
    Representative Jeffrey Oligny
    Representative Sherman Packard
    Representative Lawrence Perkins
    Representative Joe Pitre
    Representative Mark Proulx
    Representative Steven Smith
    Representative James Webb
    Representative Ken Weyler

    New Jersey
    Assemblymember Gary Chiusano
    Assemblymember Upenda Chivukula
    Assemblymember Alison Littell McHose
    Assemblymember Erik Peterson
    Assemblymember Charlotte Vandervalk

    New Mexico
    Senator Clinton Harden
    Representative Jimmie C. Hall
    Representative Rudy Martinez
    Representative Bill Rehm
    Representative Bob Wooley

    New York
    Senator Greg Ball
    Senator Jeff Klein
    Senator Thomas Libous
    Senator Thomas O'Mara
    Assemblymember George Amedore
    Assemblymember William Barclay
    Assemblymember Philip Boyle
    Assemblymember Daniel Burling
    Assemblymember Marc Butler
    Assemblymember Nancy Calhoun
    Assemblymember Robert Castelli
    Assemblymember John Cerretto
    Assemblymember James Conte
    Assemblymember Clifford Crouch
    Assemblymember Janet Duprey
    Assemblymember Steve Englebright
    Assemblymember Gary Finch
    Assemblymember Mike Fitzpatrick
    Assemblymember Dennis Gabryszak
    Assemblymember Joseph Giglio
    Assemblymember Andy Goodell
    Assemblymember Sean Hanna
    Assemblymember Steve Hawley
    Assemblymember Mark Johns
    Assemblymember Brian Kolb
    Assemblymember Peter Lopez
    Assemblymember Daniel Losquadro
    Assemblymember Donna Lupardo
    Assemblymember David McDonough
    Assemblymember Steven F. McLaughlin
    Assemblymember Marcus Molinaro
    Assemblymember Mike Montesano
    Assemblymember Bob Oaks
    Assemblymember Edward Ra
    Assemblymember Andrew Raia
    Assemblymember Bill Reilich
    Assemblymember Joseph Saladino
    Assemblymember Teresa Sayward
    Assemblymember Mark Schroeder
    Assemblymember Kevin Smardz
    Assemblymember Lou Tobacco
    Assemblymember James Tedisco

    North Carolina
    Representative Kelly Alexander
    Representative Marilyn Avila
    Representative John Blust
    Representative Larry Brown
    Representative Becky Carney
    Representative George Cleveland
    Representative Tricia Ann Cotham
    Representative William Current
    Representative Bill Faison
    Representative Phillip Frye
    Representative Rosa Gill
    Representative Kelly Hastings
    Representative Julia Howard
    Representative Frank Iler
    Representative Tim Moore
    Representative Shirley B. Randleman
    Representative Mitchell Setzer
    Representative Fred Steen, II

    North Dakota
    Senator Dick Dever
    Senator James Dotzenrod
    Senator Tom Fischer
    Senator Judy Lee
    Senator Elroy Lindaas
    Representative Dick Anderson
    Representative Chuck Damschen
    Representative Craig Headland
    Representative Jerry Kelsh
    Representative David Monson
    Representative Mark Owens
    Representative Robin Weisz
    Representative Alon Wieland

    Representative Lynn Wachtmann
    Representative Kenny Yuko

    Senator Mark Allen
    Senator Kim David
    Senator David Myers
    Representative Dennis Casey
    Representative Scott Inman
    Representative Danny Morgan
    Representative Colby Schwartz
    Representative Cory Williams

    Representative Jeff Barker
    Representative Brian Clem

    Senator Daylin Leach
    Senator Tim Solobay
    Senator Michael Waugh
    Representative John Bear
    Representative Stephen Bloom
    Representative Scott Conklin
    Representative Dom Costa
    Representative Bryan Cutler
    Representative Peter Daley
    Representative John Evans
    Representative Rick Geist
    Representative Marcia Hahn
    Representative Gary Haluska
    Representative Michael Hanna
    Representative Patrick Harkins
    Representative Dick Hess
    Representative Nick Kotik
    Representative John Lawrence
    Representative Mark Longietti
    Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
    Representative John Payne
    Representative Tony Payton, Jr.
    Representative Scott Perry
    Representative Curt Sonney

    Rhode Island
    Senator William Walaska

    South Carolina
    Senator Larry Martin
    Representative Dan Hamilton
    Representative J. Gary Simrill
    Representative Tommy Stringer

    South Dakota
    Senator Jim Hundstad
    Senator Jim Putnam
    Representative Thomas Brunner
    Representative Elaine M. Elliot
    Representative Steve Hickey
    Representative Charles Hoffman
    Representative Mark Kirkeby
    Representative Tona Rozum
    Representative Mark Willadsen

    Representative Harry Brooks
    Representative Vince Dean
    Representative JoAnne Favors
    Representative Craig Fitzhugh
    Representative Sherry Jones
    Representative Charles Michael Sargent
    Representative Mike Sparks
    Representative John Tidwell
    Representative Joe Towns
    Representative Mark White

    Representative Wayne Christian
    Representative Garnet Coleman
    Representative Larry Gonzales
    Representative Patricia Harless
    Representative Charlie Howard
    Representative Edmund Kuempel
    Representative Sid Miller
    Representative Joe Pickett
    Representative Van Taylor
    Representative James White

    Senator Gene Davis
    Senator Scott Jenkins
    Senator Howard Stephenson
    Representative Tim Cosgrove
    Representative Gage Froerer
    Representative Neal Hendrickson
    Representative Gregory Hughes
    Representative Curtis Oda
    Representative Patrick Painter
    Representative Stephen Sandstrom
    Representative Kenneth Sumsion

    Senator Joe Benning
    Senator Kevin Mullin
    Senator Richard Westman

    Senator John Edwards
    Senator Emmett Hanger
    Senator L. Louise Lucas
    Delegate Daniel Marshall
    Delegate Mark L Keam
    Delegate Sam Nixon
    Delegate Dave Nutter
    Delegate G. Glenn Oder
    Delegate Kenneth Plum
    Delegate Tom Rust
    Delegate Mark Sickles
    Delegate Ron A. Villanueva
    Delegate Onzlee Ware

    Senator Mike Carrell
    Senator Jerome Delvin
    Senator Jim Honeyford
    Representative Mike Armstrong
    Representative Jan Angel
    Representative Cary Condotta
    Representative Larry Crouse
    Representative Bob Hasegawa
    Representative Troy Kelley
    Representative Ed Orcutt
    Representative Marcie Maxwell

    West Virginia
    Senator Bob Beach
    Senator Dave Sypolt
    Delegate John Ellem
    Delegate Ron Fragale
    Delegate Gary Howell
    Delegate Virginia Mahan
    Delegate Cliff Moore
    Delegate Harry Keith White

    Senator Mary Lazich
    Senator Van Wanggaard
    Representative Ed Brooks
    Senator Glenn Grothman
    Representative Steve Kestell
    Representative John Nygren
    Representative Roger Rivard

    Senator Ogden Driskill
    Representative Stan Blake
    Representative Pat Childers
    Representative Bunky Loucks
    Representative Sue Wallis













    Tennessee State Representative John Tidwell beside his stately Ford Model A.













    Massachusetts State Representative Steven Howitt enjoying his MG.

    Michigan State Representative Richard LeBlanc “cruising” in his ’67 Amphicar.

    New Hampshire State Representative Gary Azarian and his vintage Corvette.

    North Dakota State Senator Judy Lee in her ’11 Buick Model 21 Touring Car.

    Massachusetts State Representative Mike Benson with his son and ’78 MG Midget.


    Kansas State Representative Bob Bethell shows off his Mazda Miata in front of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Midget.

    Arkansas State Representative Allen Kerr enjoying a fall day with his ’39 Ford Deluxe coupe.


    New Hampshire State Representative Mark Proulx with his fire-fighter-inspired Mustang.

    Kansas State Representative Bill Wolf and his Ford Model T.

    New Mexico State Representative Bill Rehm during his stock car racing days.


    New York Assemblymember Nancy Calhoun beside her Vette.

    Ohio State Representative Kenny Yuko (left) with the ’31 Ford Model A he restored with his brother John (right).

    Iowa State Representative Jim Lykam and his ’40 Ford Sedan.

    Washington State Representative Marcie Maxwell with her husband and their ’70 Dodge Challenger convertible.


    Georgia State Senator John Albers and his ’76 MGB.

    California State Senator Doug LaMalfa beside his ’68 Mustang California Special.


    Nebraska State Senator Colby Coash enjoying a sunny day with his yellow Corvette.

    Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne at the 5th Annual Motorsports Day at the Capitol.


    Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne at the 5th Annual Motorsports Day at the Capitol.


    California Assemblymember Kevin Jeffries with his father, legendary builder Dean Jeffries, and the Mantaray.




  • SEMA News—August 2011

    Honoring Four Trailblazers

    Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle Join the SEMA Hall of Fame Elite

    Edited by Michael Imlay

      Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle are all legendary names within the automotive realm. Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle are all legendary names within the automotive realm.
      Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle are all legendary names within the automotive realm. Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle are all legendary names within the automotive realm.

    For the true automotive pioneer, trailblazing is its own reward. You don’t race, tinker, invent and innovate with an eye toward peer accolades. You push the envelope for the sheer thrill of it—it’s who you are, what drives you, it’s the challenge that fires your soul.

    Of course, if you happen to build a successful career, inspire others and, ultimately, leave something enduring behind in the process of doing what you love—now that’s the dream of a lifetime.

    Since 1969, the SEMA Hall of Fame has celebrated outstanding persons in the industry who have enhanced the stature of, or significantly contributed to, the industry and/or the association’s growth. Without diminishing the contributions of early Hall of Famers, the increasing professionalism of the specialty-equipment market over the past 42 years has raised the bar significantly. For that reason, today’s Hall of Fame candidates must boast at least 10 years of industry experience and/or association. Their influence must also be national in scope. Finally, nominees must show technical achievement, unquestioned integrity and extraordinary leadership in helping the industry thrive.

    There can be no doubt that our 2011 Hall of Fame inductees represent the finest of these SEMA traditions. Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle are all legendary names within the automotive realm. Their careers, enthusiasm, innovation and personal genius are synonymous not only with the growth of the specialty-equipment market but with the hobby, sport and overall mystique of automobiling itself. Indeed, it would be impossible to conceive today of racing, performance or driving adventure without their contributions.

    Sadly, one of our inductees has passed from the scene and is much missed. Thankfully, three of these icons continue to shape our industry’s future. In each case, we remain inspired by the stories of these four individuals whom we are honored to add to the exclusive SEMA Hall of Fame.

    Gray Baskerville

      How can the legacy of Gray Baskerville ever be summarized in a few short paragraphs? His passing in 2002 left a giant void that is not likely to be filled for a very long time—if ever.
      Those who knew “Ol’ Dad” will tell you that he wouldn’t have it any other way. In a tribute to Baskerville upon his retirement as Hot Rod senior editor, friend and fellow automotive journalist Ro McGonegal observed: “His automotive interests are eclectic.

    How can the legacy of Gray Baskerville ever be summarized in a few short paragraphs? His passing in 2002 left a giant void that is not likely to be filled for a very long time—if ever.

    As a long-running writer for one of the world’s most popular and successful automotive publications, Baskerville had a sweeping impact on the industry. But holding Hot Rod magazine’s senior editor title for some 30 years isn’t the rationale for his SEMA Hall of Fame induction. Rather, it’s the passion and candor that flowed from his writing and captivated readers. In the tradition of SEMA’s true Hall of Famers, Baskerville cultivated a deep love for cars that clearly permeated all of his endeavors.

    Born in Los Angeles, Baskerville spent many of his formative years in Hermosa Beach, immersing himself in Southern California’s early rod and custom car culture. Graduating with a history degree from UC Santa Barbara in 1958, he honed his writing and photography skills at his family’s publishing house even as he drag raced locally. Eventually, the former history student landed a gig at Hot Rod, where he went on to actually make history.

    If the hot-rod movement ever had a defining voice, it was Baskerville’s. His prose so exuded life and excitement that editors rarely changed his text—even when he invented words that did not exist in the dictionary. His style and flair helped focus and mainstream a Southern California phenomenon into a national pastime, taking it beyond niche hobby to industry proportions. Yet, never one to adapt to corporate rules or aspire to the corner suite, “Ol’ Dad” Baskerville was equally known for his casual disposition, playful wonder and basic shorts-and-flip-flops office attire. After retirement, the former senior editor kept a modest office with Hot Rod and Rod & Custom, where he remained a valued contributing editor.

    Baskerville had numerous interests, including reading, gardening and jazz music. But his passion for cars outshone them all, as epitomized by his beloved daily driver: a ’32 Ford roadster in which he racked up about 250,000 miles over the years. His family relates that, just days before his passing, his brother and friends carried Baskerville from his bedroom to the roadster for one last poignant jaunt around his Pasadena neighborhood and a visit to his mother.

    Those who knew “Ol’ Dad” will tell you that he wouldn’t have it any other way. In a tribute to Baskerville upon his retirement as Hot Rod senior editor, friend and fellow automotive journalist Ro McGonegal observed: “His automotive interests are eclectic. He’s just as excited about a vintage highboy as he is about clean modern machinery…. In Gray’s opinion, the key word is drive. Drive your hot rod: on Power Tour, on the dry lakes, on the dragstrip and especially on the street.”

    At Baskerville’s passing, Jeff Smith, another former Hot Rod editor, further reminisced: “[Gray] is a guy who never sat still, who was always visiting someone’s shop, looking at the cars or writing away.... He set his own agenda and that was fine with us.”

    Indeed, Baskerville was more than a unique figure on the automotive scene. Ultimately, he was the real deal—always genuine, always himself—and a performance advocate who exuberantly challenged an industry to march to its
    own beat.

    Art Chrisman

      Chrisman played such a pivotal role in the hot-rod movement that his list of contributions is legendary. In fact, his story inspired The Chrisman Legacy: Always Faster, a 224-page book by Tom Madigan chronicling the Chrisman family and its indisputable influence on motorsports.
      Given his many achievements, pinpointing any single reason for Art Chrisman’s induction to the SEMA Hall of Fame is difficult. Yet, for many, it’s unlikely that a single reason is even needed.

    Given his many achievements, pinpointing any single reason for Art Chrisman’s induction to the SEMA Hall of Fame is difficult. Yet, for many, it’s unlikely that a single reason is even needed.

    Chrisman played such a pivotal role in the hot-rod movement that his list of contributions is legendary. In fact, his story inspired The Chrisman Legacy: Always Faster, a 224-page book by Tom Madigan chronicling the Chrisman family and its indisputable influence on motorsports.

    Originally from Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, Chrisman moved to California with his family during the Great Depression, settling in Compton. Working at his father’s Southern California auto shop in the ’50s, Chrisman acquired his family’s passion for car building and eventually met and competed against many of early racing’s biggest names, including Ed Iskenderian, Vic Edelbrock, Wally Parks, Pete Petersen, Mickey Thompson, C.J. Hart and Lou Baney, to mention a few. Along the way, his dedication, sincere work ethic and racing skill attracted a legion of followers. As Tony Thacker, the executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, has observed: “Art Chrisman is just one of those heroes that drag-racing fans look up to even if you grew up in another country.”

    And with good reason. Fifth to earn a place in the prestigious Bonneville 200 MPH Club, Chrisman’s accomplishments include many notable firsts: First drag racer to hit 140 mph in the quarter-mile. First to exceed 180 mph. First to make a pass at the NHRA’s first national event in 1955 at Great Bend, Kansas. Winner of the first Bakersfield March Meet in 1959. And, as a member of the famous Autolite race team, he also ranks 29th on the NHRA’s roster of top 50 drivers of hot rodding’s first 50 years.

    “The first time I recall seeing him race was probably around 1957 or 1958, out at the old Riverside Raceway at a drag race,” said Carl Olson, another former racer, SEMA Hall of Famer and current motorsports manager at the SFI Foundation. “I was extremely impressed by his car and his driving ability. Suffice to say, he was one of my earliest racing heroes.”

    Eventually, Olson found himself introduced to Chrisman at the latter’s Autolite sparkplug workshop, and the two became lasting friends. Of all the celebrated personalities deserving of SEMA Hall of Fame recognition, Olson believes that few exemplify the industry’s heart and soul more than Chrisman.

    “He’s willing to share information, experience and knowledge with just about anyone who walks up to ask,” he said. “And the cars that he turns out, whether they be race cars or street rods, are just absolutely fabulous. They’ve won every kind of award known to mankind, including Pebble Beach and the Grand National Roadster Show. He’s a masterful engine builder. He’s just the nicest, kindest, most generous, caring individual that I know, along with being an absolute icon in motorsports.”

    Olson is not alone in this view. Industry pros universally praise Chrisman’s integrity and gentlemanly demeanor both on and off the track. And the legacy continues: Chrisman and his son Mike now work side by side at Chrisman Auto Rod Specialties, which the elder Chrisman founded after his Autolite years—and where he still serves as mentor, role model and inspiration to hot-rodding’s next generation.

    Chris Economaki

      Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and you’ll find the Economaki Press Conference Room.

    Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and you’ll find the Economaki Press Conference Room. At the New Jersey Motorsports Park, you’ll find The Chris Economaki Media Center. And each year on the day of the Daytona 500, thousands celebrate Chris Economaki Day.

    Having served as a motorsports commentator and journalist for more than 70 years, Economaki is hailed as the founding father of American motorsports media. Even those unfamiliar with his name are instantly likely to recognize the voice behind the trademark horn-rimmed glasses.

    Born in Brooklyn, New York, Economaki got hooked on motorsports at age nine after watching an auto race at the board track in Atlantic City. By age 13, he was selling copies of National Speed Sport News (NSSN) at the fairgrounds racing events cropping up in the mid-’30s. A year later, he was penning a column for the publication. By the ’50s, he had complete charge of the title, became publisher and turned NSSN into what many have called “The Bible of Motorsports” and “America’s Weekly Motorsports Authority,” reporting on races throughout the country, regardless of series or track.

    Economaki even flirted with midget-car competition himself at a Pennsylvania cinder track.

    “It wasn’t for me,” he recalled later. “It was a really frightening experience. That was the first and last time I drove in competition.”

    Deciding he was better suited to covering motorsports, he became a track announcer in the ’40s, even as he continued to churn out NSSN.

    “We all came to know Chris because of the wonderful National Speed Sport News that he published,” said Steve Lewis, publisher of Performance Racing Industry [PRI] magazine and producer of today’s well-known PRI trade show. Like many in the industry, Lewis became an avid reader of Economaki’s publication in the early ’60s. “That was the pipeline to knowledge of racing back then. There was no ESPN, no SPEED Channel, nothing. The national and daily papers didn’t cover racing. He covered it in-depth. He covered NASCAR and Indy car and also covered weekly short track.... Chris’ paper was so important because it provided information and developed the hero status of people such as Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.”

    That could be considered achievement enough, but Economaki next turned his attention and energies to broadcasting, covering several Indianapolis 500s, Daytona 500s, Formula 1 Grand Prixes and other motorsports events for “ABC Wide World of Sports” in the ’60s. Two decades later, he moved on to CBS Sports and later contributed to ESPN and TBS motorsports programming.

    “All that wasn’t an accident,” explained Lewis. “Chris pushed the networks to expand their coverage. He was the driving force behind it, and his insightful interview technique and unique voice as a real wordsmith made his before-and-after race interviews with drivers classic. He was very good at asking unexpected questions that made drivers have to think. Some of us forget the work he did that helped develop a racing industry. He’s not just a publisher, editor or writer. He had the vision, knowledge and energy to put forth an effort to upgrade and bring racing to
    the forefront.”

    NSSN ceased print production in March 2011, but Economaki continues to impart his original vision, knowledge and insights through daily contributions to his famous publication’s new online version.

    John Towle

      The early days with Edelbrock introduced Towle to drag racing and the chance to assist Ed “The Master” Pink with his Top Fuel dragster.
      In 1964, Towle walked into a hotbed of performance—the Edelbrock Equipment Co. in Los Angeles—to take a job sweeping floors and cleaning restrooms.

    “If you have an idea and a plan, share it. Who knows, maybe you will start something cool.” That’s been the motto of John Towle, whose stellar career in the performance aftermarket has spanned five decades.

    In 1964, Towle walked into a hotbed of performance—the Edelbrock Equipment Co. in Los Angeles—to take a job sweeping floors and cleaning restrooms. He ended up staying for 27 years, moving up from department to department, learning every aspect of the performance business from manufacturing to sales to distribution. In 1982, he became Edelbrock’s vice president for sales, propelling the company to tremendous growth and helping it garner three Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) Manufacturer of the Year awards (1984, 1989 and 1990).

    The early days with Edelbrock introduced Towle to drag racing and the chance to assist Ed “The Master” Pink with his Top Fuel dragster.

    “I was mostly changing oil and packing the parachute, but it was a great time and a lot of fun for a very young kid,” said Towle.

    In the mid-’70s, he campaigned a B/Econorail dragster. After much success at the local strips, Towle came to the believe that A&B Econorails deserved their own NHRA class and rules. So he committed his ideas to paper and shared them with the NHRA. Then he went on to further suggest that blown alcohol cars should have their own class as well. The NHRA agreed and instituted the Pro Comp class along with Econorails as Competition Eliminator cars.

    Still, it was Towle’s dedicated work at Edelbrock, SEMA and PWA that truly set him apart as a leader eager to help advance the industry. In 1990, Towle received the PWA’s Person of the Year award—in his words, “a prestigious honor and very rewarding.”

    Retiring from Edelbrock in 1991, he became PWA executive director the following year. Under his guidance, the PWA has continued to grow, especially with its annual Industry Conference. Meanwhile, Towle was also elected to the SEMA Board of Directors in 1993 and served a two-year term.

    “What always amazed me about John is how the entire Performance Warehouse Association ran like clockwork” once Towle took the helm, observed Van Woodell, owner and president of Weathers Auto Supply.

    Woodell first met the PWA leader in the mid-’90s, when Weathers Auto Supply joined the trade organization. Noting that the aftermarket’s selling and buying sectors were far from seamless at the time, Woodell credits Towle with bringing the principals of the manufacturing companies and the principals of the distribution leg of the industry together for face-to-face meetings on a scale never imagined in the industry’s early days. And he did so with unmatched integrity and organizational expertise.

    “What John has really offered the industry is a level of professionalism so that a bunch of ‘rednecks’ like me can sit down and negotiate with our suppliers and our vendors to build relationships on a national level,” said a smiling Woodell. “It has certainly made a huge difference.”

    While Towle retired from Edelbrock years ago, he has yet to retire from the PWA, let alone the industry. True to his lifelong calling, Towle remains the quintessential idea man, still sharing his plans for an increasingly healthy and vital specialty-equipment aftermarket.

Spy Shots

  • Honda Ridgeline

    There are plenty of press photos circulating of the Ridgeline Sport—at least the front view—but the team at Brenda & Priddy & Co. revealed these shots that showcase a slight freshening of the current Honda Ridgeline, which is due to launch in November.

    These shots provide a good look at the new three-bar grille (absent is its signature floating grille) and new taillight lenses. Priddy and her team have two expectations for the Ridgeline: 1) a small boost in fuel economy, and 2) production for the Ridgeline to continue after the ’12 model year, contrary to recent rumors.

    Honda Ridgeline
    Photo: Brenda Priddy & Co.