Do you ever see that guy? He drives a Toyota Corolla, but he’s bolted a gigantic racing wing to his trunk lid? You know the guy. That guy’s not a racing driver. His Corolla is not a race car. But then you see that other guy with the really nice Mustang. It’s been modded to Timbuktu and back, and it’s fast. He takes it to the drag strip on Saturday nights and pulls a pretty decent 1320. What do both of these guys have in common? They’d both have trouble getting into the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis. Because they’re not professionals.
Thankfully, we don’t have that problem, and that’s why we’re here.
PRI was initiated back in the mid-80s as an alternative to SEMA. The biggest custom show in America, SEMA chugged along with enormous success. But SEMA is open to all kinds of customization, much of it aesthetic in nature, and demand rose for a show that focused specifically on the professional racing industry. The PRI show was born.
This year marks the 26th show since PRI’s inception, and like a good snowstorm this time of year, it doesn’t show signs of stopping. The show will host over 1,100 companies and 3,000 booths. But what makes PRI unique is its audience. You’re only allowed in if you’re a vendor or part of a professional racing organization. And as much as I wish I was the latter (Patrick Dempsey keeps the dream alive), I’m still pretty glad to be among the former so I can get into this incredible show and see the stuff you couldn’t at SEMA.
Here are a small fraction of the brands we’ll be checking out today through Saturday:
Wilwood Brakes – Wilwood has been killing it these days with their unique, comprehensive approach to brakes. Unlike some of their competition, Wilwood handles every part of the braking system, from pads to pedals. Custom shops have been scrambling to fit Wilwoods to their projects lately, but this weekend we’ll probably see some of the cool components they build for drag racers and open-wheel sprint and midget cars.
CTEK – We already bragged on CTEK a bit in last week’s Follow Friday post, but I will say that the battery tender is an unsung hero of professional racing. You might keep a tender on your classic car over the winter. If it doesn’t work, well shucks. But professional race cars go into storage over the winter, too, and if their batteries fail, that’s another chunk out of the budget. Odd as it sounds, a great battery tender could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Optima – On the other end of that charger is a great battery. Building the perfect racing battery poses some unique challenges. It needs to be lightweight. It needs to be stable. It also needs to have a higher cranking amperage than most. To prevent power draw from the engine, many drag cars don’t use alternators, relying completely on their batteries to get them down the strip. That’s why it’s good to have a Red Top under the hood.
Moroso – The cool thing about Moroso is that you never really know what they’re up to. They put the “mad” in “mad scientist.” Since they have such a broad range of products; lug studs, oil pans, and spark plug wires, to name a few, you’re never surprised when they come out with a new, awesome, fabricated something. I can’t wait to get to their booth and see what they’ve come up with this year.
Okay, we’re off to wander the massive convention center and see what we can see. Stay tuned to the blog and our Twitter feed to keep up to date with all the latest. We’ll try to cover as much of this massive event as we can, with interviews of industry professionals, new racing product reveals, and Richard Petty’s unveiling of the 2015 Mustang.
If you’re here, shoot us a tweet!
Tweet to @StreetsideAuto
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.