Dec 12, 2009

By all accounts, the inaugural International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) was a rousing success.

The two-day IMIS trade show, which took place Dec. 2-3 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis, offered individuals and companies from all facets of the racing business the chance to interact, share ideas and products, build relationships and attend seminars to improve motorsports business around the world, all while showcasing Indianapolis as the “Racing Capital of the World.”

And exhibitors, participants and IMIS officials couldn’t have been happier with the inaugural show.

“The people with IMIS have done a tremendous job,” said Sid Waterman, who has exhibited at racing trade shows for nearly 20 years as owner of Waterman Racing Components. “I’m impressed. We had no problems at all. We were able to get right in and get right out. It was an easy setup, we didn’t get hassled by anybody, which I can honestly say I’ve had problems with (at other shows) in the past. The exposure to the people has been tremendous. The exposure to the hardcore racers who believe in our products has been fantastic. This is a hardcore racing show, as it should be. I’ve already signed up for four booths for 2010 and I know others have done the same.”

Co-founded by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart, along with Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing, Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA), and Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner, IMIS drew more than 10,000 attendees and 345 exhibitors bought all 572 available booths for the show.

“I was very impressed,” said Roger Wilson of QA1 Motorsports. “We came not really knowing what we were going to experience in Indianapolis, but this is the hotbed of racing and IMIS has been very popular with us. The traffic we experienced has truly been the racer, and they’re certainly interested in our products and what we do and they’re really focused on the products and what they get out of this show. So from that standpoint, that’s been the highlight. There wasn’t anybody just looking and talking. Everyone was really interested in our products and what they can do for them. We’re excited about 2010 and I think we’ll probably expand our booth.”

Bruce Rhoe of Intercomp Racing Systems had so much traffic at his booth, it required IMIS officials to relocate his booth to allow show attendees to get inside the exhibit hall.

“Our experience was great,” Rhoe said. “We were actually asked to move our booth because it was so busy that we clogged the door. So the nice, young ladies who are in charge of our booth asked us if we could move because our booth was so full that no one could get in the door. Our experience was great. The highlight of the week was the traffic flow and the hardcore racing companies that were here. We’ll be back in 2010 and we’ve increased our booth size.”

Those who came to the show to meet with vendors were equally impressed.

“Everything I needed was there,” said Shirley Kear, owner of Kear’s Speed Shop in Tiffin, Ohio. “Everyone was there that I needed to visit with. Everyone was in a good mood and everyone was happy. It was comfortable and it was everything that you would want from a show. I can’t wait until next year. It was definitely hardcore racing and it was just very, very good.”

Due to the success of the inaugural show, IMIS officials already have announced they are doubling the space they will lease in the Indiana Convention Center in 2010.

In addition, officials from IMIS and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) announced an agreement in principle to keep the show in Indianapolis through at least 2015.

The announcement, which represents a five-year extension on the original contract for 2009 and 2010, was made at the IMIS Welcome Reception Dec. 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Stewart attended the reception along with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and ICVA president and CEO Don Welsh.

“This is a huge shot in the arm for the International Motorsports Industry Show,” said Stewart, who resides in Columbus, Ind., and owns several businesses with Indiana ties. “I can’t thank Mayor Ballard, Governor (Mitch) Daniels and everyone at the ICVA for their support of this show. We want to make this show something that is a ‘must-attend’ show for hardcore racers, but also something that Indianapolis and the state of Indiana will be proud of.”

“I had to leave Indiana after the reception for the NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, but from what I saw in photos and the reports I got from Tom, Chris and Jeff, we had a tremendous first show that really exceeded our expectations. I heard from a lot of people who were at the show and they had nothing but positive things to say.”

“We could not have been happier with our first show,” Paulsen added. “That said, we’re already getting ready for 2010. Before our exhibitors were tearing down their booths at the end of this year’s show, we were already working toward an even better show in 2010.”

The second annual IMIS event is scheduled for Dec. 1-3, 2010. For more information, visit