Kansas City, Mo. – WELD wrapped up 2015 with the PRI Show a few weeks ago. The Performance Racing Industry show is a yearly trade only event held in Indianapolis, IN showcasing products used in the motorsports and high performance automotive industries. The Show was founded in 1988 to fill a need in the racing industry. The event is attended by about 48,000 people in the industry ever year, with over 1,200 companies exhibiting their brands for others in racing.”
For WELD, PRI kicked off on Thursday with a bang when Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws”, Justin “Big Chief” Shearer unveiled his new race car, The CrowMod, to the public for the first time in the WELD booth. As most of you have heard, Big Chief wrecked his beloved 1972 Pontiac Le Mans, dubbed “The Crow” on November 14, while filming for “Street Outlaws.” He was scheduled to show off The Crow in the Weld booth at PRI, December 10th, but it looked like a lost cause. But a call to WELD’s marketing department on November 28th set plans in motion to debut the new Terry Murphy built car to attendees and media at PRI.
Big Chief’s big reveal was a resounding success! The official debut saw fans pack into the booth by the hundreds to see what Chief would be racing in future seasons of the hit TV show. WELD has always appreciated our loyal customers and fans and the amount of engagement we received on social media revolving around the car was fantastic! We especially enjoyed the friendly debates on “The CrowMod” and look forward to being involved in more fun builds like this in the future.
WELD also hosted a technical seminar on Thursday entitled, “Modern Wheel Design & Process – Understanding wheel materials, science and performance.” The seminar covered the basics of wheel design and manufacturing, an explanation of the terminology used in the wheel industry, and a discussion on materials used. Lead by Keith Kern, General Manager of CCW, the seminar allowed PRI attendees the chance to learn about the science behind today’s high performance wheels and even ask questions of WELD personnel, including one of our senior engineers.
On Friday, WELD held a press conference to acknowledge some of their 2016 brand ambassadors. Drivers and team owners from all forms of motorsports were on hand, including 18 time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, who announced a multi-year renewal of his partnership with WELD that goes back more than 20 years.
During the press conference WELD President and CEO, Norm Young, introduced the new Dalton Millican (DM) Series HiPer Technology by WELD wheel in honor of the late Dalton Millican. The 22-year old son of NHRA Top Fuel Racer Clay Millican, a longtime WELD brand ambassador, Dalton died August 12 as a result of a motorcycle crash.
Dalton was one of Clay and Donna Millican’s two sons and had a long relationship with HiPer Technology as an ATV racer. Among his notable achievements in the sport was capturing the 2011 AMA ATV MX450A Championship. Dalton was also the driver of Blue Thunder in the Monster Jam series.
Clay Millican was on hand for the news conference and accepted the first DM series wheel from Young with a heavy heart. He thanked WELD for this special gift in honor of his son. In addition, he asked everyone in the audience at PRI to make sure they let all the important people in their life know that they care about them, “because things can change in an instant and you may never get another chance to let them know.”
Finally, on Saturday WELD hosted the “Chief and Shawn Show,” the podcast where the guys from Oklahoma City, Justin “Big Chief” Shearer and Shawn “Murder Nova” Ellington give you a behind the scenes look at “the show they can’t talk about, on the channel they can’t mention”, tidbits on their everyday lives, uncensored opinions, and whatever else happens to come out of their mouths. Hundreds of fans gathered around to listen to the guys record their podcast and interview guest, Chris “Boosted GT” Hamilton. The episode covered everything from the new CrowMod, to new parts seen at PRI and even included a cash callout from a man in the crowd.
With all the exciting activities at PRI, it might be easy to forget what the show is really about – racing products. WELD had new products on display for all of its brands, including new road race and pro-touring wheels from CCW, new ATV and UTV products from HiPer, WELD Racing had new drag race wheels, like the Full Throttle (see the article on the new Full Throttle in this newsletter), and new finishes and an all new center design for sprint cars in our new KCM67 wheel and even a new 6-lug RT-S wheel in our Street & Strip brand to meet demand for a street/strip truck wheel.
The 2015 PRI show was a big success for WELD and one that will be hard to top in the coming years.