As we were getting ready to put this issue of CT to bed, the news that SEMA had purchased the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS-Indy) broke. I can’t say that I was all that surprised. After all, when PRI sold to SEMA earlier this year, most of us in the industry thought that it would only be a matter of time before one of the two shows (PRI or IMIS) disappeared, we just weren’t sure how it was going to go down. Now we know. In short, SEMA bought IMIS and will be combining the two shows into one, which will continue with the PRI name and return to Indianapolis in 2013 (more on the nuts and bolts of it can be found in this month’s “Racin’ Around”).
I’ll admit that I’m a little sorry to see PRI leave Orlando, albeit for purely selfish reasons. CT’s headquarters is in Tampa just an hour Southwest of O-Town, meaning yours truly didn’t have to get on a plane to see all of the latest and greatest in racing technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indy and am very happy to be going back there, especially since we now have just one international level trade show to attend.
As large and far reaching as the oval track racing industry is, we didn’t need two trade shows within days of one another. For exhibitors, media, and anybody who had to cover both, two shows was a costly adventure both from a time and money perspective. Quite frankly it diluted the impact that a single show could have. But were they good, valuable shows? Absolutely. Could we accomplish everything with just one show? Absolutely. So with that in mind, I applaud the whole team at SEMA for having the foresight, gumption, and leadership to put their money on the line to bring these two shows together for the betterment of the industry.
Back when SEMA bought PRI I said that it would be a good thing for the oval track racing industry and with this first step SEMA is proving that it has our interests at heart.
Shortly after the purchase of PRI, we sat down with Scooter Brothers, the current Chairman of the Board of SEMA, as well as part owner of Comp Performance Group. Scooter was emphatic that although SEMA bought PRI nothing about the 25-year-old trade magazine or its accompanying trade show would change. “Business as usual, but getting better every year from here on out,” is what he said the goal for the newly acquired organization was. He wanted to be sure that racers around the country understood that SEMA’s official position was that PRI would continue to be the motorsports-centric show it always had been.
Fast forward to the recent AETC (Advanced Engineering Technical Conference) which preceeded PRI. Since AETC is organized and run by Comp, and given that Circle Track is a sponsor of the conference, I knew I’d run into Scooter and when I did our conversation eventually turned to the IMIS purchase and subsequent combining of the shows.
Scooter again reiterated that the PRI Show would focus squarely on its hard-core racing roots. That’s a message SEMA is keen to get to the masses. For years, PRI, and more recently IMIS, have been the mostly exclusive playground for oval track racers. But fear not! According to Scooter, PRI will continue to be a strictly motorsports show, focusing squarely on going fast and doing it safely. No SEMA bling here, just hard-core racing.
In the course of that conversation, I told him that he was going to like my column this month. I had already started it before ever arriving in Orlando and having that discussion with him. As I’ve said before, SEMA can bring a lot of positive things to us in the oval track industry, having a single racing trade in Indy is just the beginning.Good thing I have a new winter coat—looks like I’ll be spending a lot of Decembers in Indy. As usual, go fast and turn left.