This morning I arose at the crack of dawn (or a little before) and headed for the airport and caught a flight to Indianapolis, Indiana, for this year’s PRI. Prior to be acquired by SEMA last year it was known as IMIS, but it is North America’s largest gathering of racers and their suppliers. If you want to modify your street ride, go to SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), but if you are involved with racing this is the show you head for.
Sure its cold here this time of year and those that used to go to previous PRI events were used to heading for Miami and the warmth of the deep south while the IMIS folks grit their teeth and headed for a cold and dreary Indianapolis just prior to the official start of winter.
It now one very big show that has some really interesting aspects beyond what either of them ever had. Tomorrow morning, for instance, is the grand opening breakfast with no other than Richard Petty at the front table. Now that is racing in America folks.
Today I had the advantage of press credentials to enter the showroom floor as many of the vendors were setting up their displays.
Grassroots Motorsports and Classic Motorsports magazines have a Factory Five 818 track car on display.
This company is the maker of probably the best kit version of the Cobra roadster ever sold, but while still the most popular kit sold by Factory Five, its founder recognized that it can’t last forever and the next generation of enthusiasts needed something that they could relate to. The 818 uses a Factory Five designed and manufactured tubular chassis and a light weight body all designed to take advantage of a Subaru WRX donor car. The designation 818 refers to the weight in kilograms (so multiply by 2.2 to get that in pounds) and with all the aftermarket products also available for the WRX (thanks SEMA) that makes for a potential rocket of a street or track car.
I also had some favorite vendors to check out and one of them is Stainless Works. If you remember, they made the headers and exhaust system on my P71 road trip car. I caught them in the midst of setting up their booth and they were busy working out the best arrangement of their products.
I will have more shots of their booth after opening day. Just let me tell you that they have some great things to show you!
I am a sucker for a classic old pickup truck and this one really caught my eye. It is a bit rat-rod and a bit of a resto-mod. In any case, I like it.
People were scrambling to get all the displays set up and it was impressive just to watch the professionals at work.
Did you ever think about just what kind of dynamometer you would need to check out a 4000 horsepower drag car?
Now that’s amazing!
Speaking of competition, there was a new event at PRI this year. Hot Rodders Of Tomorrow are holding the final round of the engine building contest that started last week at SEMA. This features the top high school students from around the country as they compete to tear down and rebuild a Chevy 350 in the shortest time while being judged on the quality of their work. I was able to watch as three teams competed today.
This first shot was as each of the teams got themselves ready. Notice that they are wearing helmets. As four team members are working furiously to disassemble and then assemble the engine no one wants to get hit in the noggin with a cylinder head.
Here they are during the tear down:
Everything comes off and out with the exception of the crankshaft and cam shaft.
While things are coming off the team member at the table is organizing and preparing the parts for reassembly.
The guy in the blue and black shirt is one of the four judges watching the process.
Then it goes back together…
There is a lot of money for scholarships on the line. This team, sponsored by ARP is from Anaheim, California.
There is a lot to see at a show like this and I’ll close for today with a series of random shots that will give you an idea of the depth and breadth of it: