EDITOR’S NOTE: The following blog was written by John Gunnell, owner of Gunner's Great Garage Restoration Shop in Manawa, Wisconsin. Gunnell regularly contributes articles and industry-driven observations for THE SHOP magazine and Daily eNewsletter.
The Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show celebrated its 30th anniversary by filling the giant Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis with cars, tools, parts, machinery and race shop personnel. The show dates were Dec. 7-9.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame museum played a role in the show again by presenting an A,J. Foyt exhibit this year. It included four of Foyt’s winning race cars and an equally famous Foyt-Ford V-8 engine.
In addition to racing cars, hot rods and muscle cars were on hand to take part in the performance side of the trade show. Another interesting vehicle was a car custom-fabricated to race in the Motorized Fireman’s Tournaments that are exclusive to Long Island, New York and upstate New York. For information about this sport, visit the Firefighting Drill Association of New York at NYSDRILLTEAMS.com.
In the PRI show’s Machinery Row, attendees watched through observation windows on CNC machines to see engine parts like cylinder heads and engine blocks being machined right before their eyes. Those interested in auto restoration also marveled at the tools and equipment offered at the show.
As is the case at many shows these days, there was an emphasis at PRI on high-performance trucks, SUVs and Jeeps. There were hopped-up classic pickups in several exhibitor booths and later-model trucks loaded with o-fast accessories seemed to be everywhere.
A few years ago, the PRI Show was purchased by SEMA and the new owners seem to be improving its overall organization. Companies exhibiting car-hauling trailers had their trailers parked outside the Indiana Convention Center. On the inside, it was a bit easier to find vendors thanks to a pocket-size fold-out floor plan map and very clear numbering tags on each booth. The show is big, as it hosts 1,250 exhibitors and attendees from all 50 states and 80 countries.