That song could have easily been the theme of the inaugural IMIS Trade Show that took place December 1-3 in Indianapolis. It's a brand-new show and the entire Circle Track gang made the trip to Indy to check it out. What we found was an energy and excitement, from both exhibitors and attendees, that we haven't seen in some time.
Here's a little background. For years the Performance Racing Industry trade show, racing's marquee trade-only event, was held in Indy. But when the Indianapolis Convention Center was scheduled to be renovated, PRI moved to Orlando. When it became apparent that PRI was going to stay in O-town for the foreseeable future, a group of Midwestern-based racing companies, spearheaded by Chris Paulsen at C&R Radiator, partnered with the Indiana Motorsports Association and the City of Indianapolis to create their own show closer to home. In theory, the International Motorsports Industry Show would be a "hard-core" racing trade show, giving racers and trade buyers, who couldn't, or wouldn't, otherwise make the trip to Orlando, an opportunity to see the latest and greatest products from a wide variety of manufacturers. What it became was something much more.
While Circle Track didn't exhibit at the show, we were on the show floor from open to close. Both Bob Bolles and I were impressed; very impressed with everything we saw. The show was well run. Traffic flow was consistent and solid from the time the doors opened at 9 a.m. until just before they shut at 6 p.m. And most exhibitors we talked to were pleased with their results. We found a bunch of new products that you'll see in upcoming issues, got some great story and project ideas for 2010, and generally had a very worthwhile trip.
Some of the new products we saw included a new brake pad for single-caliper systems found on IMCA-style Modifieds, Street Stocks, or similar from Florida-based company Cobalt. Then there was Coleman's new sway bar which you can read more about on page 94. And we couldn't forget the new two- and three-handle shifters from Quick-Shift, nor the new fire-retardant aramid fabric Glen-Guard, all of which you'll be hearing about in upcoming issues of Circle Track. I even got a lesson in head-and-neck restraints from Safety Solution's Nicole Ashline. As you can see, I'm intently listening to what she is telling me. Our conversation sparked an idea for a good safety story that you'll be seeing in the near future.
I actually love going to trade shows and conversations like the one I had with Nicole are just one reason why. We're parts geeks at this magazine and we can get a season's worth of article ideas out of one good trade show. But a good show is also a perfect time to connect with a cross section of racers from around the country. At IMIS I saw everyone from Tim McCredie to Donny Schatz to Brad Neat to Tony Stewart and even Linda Vaughn-yup the original Miss Hurst was there in person too.
Overall, the mood of just about everybody there was upbeat, really upbeat. Many of the exhibitors we talked to were already reserving booth space for 2010 on the second day of the show with some even upgrading the size of their booth. Other manufacturers who weren't exhibiting but were walking the floor were lamenting the fact that they missed a good selling opportunity.
During the course of the first day of the show it was announced that IMIS had inked a deal to stay in Indy through at least 2015. From our perspective, year number one was a success. Of course, IMIS was very oval track racing centric-our bread and butter here at this magazine. So you know we've already booked our hotel for next year's show. But this time we'll remember to pack our long johns and Swiss Miss instant cocoa mix in our suitcases.