Attendees gathered anxiously for the opening breakfast of this year’s PRI in Indianapolis.
The doors to the Sagamore ballroom opened early and everyone found a place to enjoy the complementary breakfast that was followed by a rousing bit of entertainment from some USO singers.
Following an introduction to this year’s PRI followed Good Morning PRI with Dave Despain.
Dave shared his forty years of being in the racing broadcasting business before introducing Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen, also known as the Snake and the Mongoose.
Questions were asked and stories were told. It was very entertaining to hear these guys talk about how they changed the world of racing with Tom’s initiating talks with Mattel that led to true sponsorship of professional drag racing. Soon thereafter this concept spread to other forms of motorsports and the genie was out of the bottle.
Entertaining as it was, we were all anxious to get to the industry show that was waiting in the hundreds of thousands of square feet of the Indiana Convention Center.
I followed the crowds and chose my entry point, knowing that I would be covering a lot of territory in terms of products, services, and technology.
All the familiar names were there, Edelbrock, Ford Racing, Penske, Honda, Crane, Scat, and others.
Roush Yates was there and Borla who showed intakes as well as exhaust products.
The ford Racing booth showed off a couple of Mustangs as well as some of their aftermarket suspension offerings.
This car on its side offered an unusual view of what a modified suspension consisted of…
…along with the well known names are some ones that you might not have heard of with products that will catch your eye and tickle your wallet.
Here were some competing products that are key tools to setting up a car – scales.
On I went to Machinery Row where all kinds of fabrication and machining products were on display from five axis milling machines to burr removal tools.
We came to a display of 3D printing that gives a glimpse into where this technology is and a promise of where it might take us…
The shapes possible spark the imagination. Today 3D printing allows fast prototyping and the production of parts that are used to produce castings in a more traditional manner, but in the future 3D printing will be producing the end product.
On the other end of technology are the racing simulators. Mobil1 had one for people to try out:
Formula SAE students had a car on display. While not well publicized, this is what racing is all about with a formula that encourages creativity, innovation, and allows these students to really invent. It is almost a shame since today’s professional racing is far more restrictive. We can only hope that by the time they are able to involve themselves with the sport it will have become more like Formula SAE.
Staubli electrical connectors showed off the car that won this year’s pole at the Indy 500. Ed Carpenter, a local Indianapolis driver/owner has managed to take the pole two years in a row and may go for three in 2015.
People I talk to always remark at how nice the people of the team are and how down to earth Ed is.
An important part to racing today is Grassroots Motorsports. This is their $2014 challenge car winner. That is all the team’s budget can be so it involves a great deal of creativity and many, many hours of work.
There were many, many, many more exhibitors at this show. I’ve tried to feature some of the highlights from my point of view. In my next entry I will focus on what I feel are the nuggets – the real gems of the show. More to come.