LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. – It’s been a long-held belief that you can get a barometer on the upcoming year’s economy in watching the show floor at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show.
If that holds true, 2016 should be a banner year and it was no more evident than on the high-end Machinery Row at the show’s 28th annual event Dec. 10-12 at the Indiana Convention Center.
This year’s Machinery Row featured 122 exhibitors and 394 booths and it was clearly evident that both the show’s exhibitors and attendees left with optimism for the coming year.
“We had an outstanding group of exhibitors in Machinery Row again this year and the aisles were absolutely packed for three consecutive days,” said show producer John Kilroy. “More importantly, we had buyers and reports of orders being taken almost as soon as the show opened on Thursday.”
The latest products in virtually every form imaginable were on display at PRI and they left customers wowed.
“PRI is very impressive,” commented first-time show attendee Gary Friedlein, who runs Gary-Tech, a fab shop in Hannibal, Mo. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff that I’ve never even seen before. We do a lot of fab work and we’re looking for ideas to try to get an edge. We’re looking at a possible dyno purchase — that’s where the future is and that’s what this show is all about – the future. It’s going to take me awhile to get out of Machinery Row. I’m a machinist by trade and I love this.”
Attendees gathered as numerous manufacturers not only put their products on display, but actually put them to work on the show floor. In one aisle, Centroid Performance Racing was machining four small block Chevys simultaneously in its featured turn-key A560 XL with their new Port Block quad fixture. Other attendees were treated in-the-booth seminars at Miller, where they conducted inter-active question-and-answer sessions in regard to welding processes.
“I try to cover every aisle and just keep my eyes open,” relayed Robert Bartlett of Virkler & Bartlett, a Virginia-based motorsports power engineering company. “I’ll see something new that gets my attention. Most of our major machine purchases are made here. This is a place where you can see the machines work and put your hands on them. That’s very important.”
Rottler Manufacturing not only gave attendees a first-time view at its new SG9HP grinder machine, but it also marked the first time some of the team’s own sales reps had seen their very latest innovation.
“The show was excellent this year,” said Melissa Moorhead of Rottler, who had 14 machines on display.
“We had more people come by this year than we initially anticipated. We saw a good variety of customers. There were people who came in on opening day and shopped around for two days before making their buying decisions on Saturday and then there were customers who came knowing what they wanted and they would go right to the booth and make their decisions right then. People want to know ‘what can our machines do for them? How can we support them? And in the big picture, how can we make our customers money? PRI is our favorite show from throughout the year and it’s our biggest show. Every year it seems to get bigger and better for us.”
Numerous others reported brisk sales throughout the three-day show.
“We’ve had people in our booth all show ready to buy, looking to get a quote on the spot and get a dynamometer on order,” said Mike Giles of SuperFlow, which featured the SF902S engine dynamometer and 750 and 1020 Flowbenches. “PRI is our core business. We sell a lot of different kinds of dynos, but our bread and butter forever has always been engine dynos and this is where people come to buy them. This has been phenomenal.”
Overall, approximately 1,200 racing industry suppliers occupied 3,300 booths, while exhibiting the latest developments in auto racing technology. Buyers from throughout the U.S. and 70 countries from around the globe were in attendance for the world’s premier trade show for motorsports professionals. Preparations are already underway for the 2016 PRI Trade Show at the Indiana Convention Center, Dec. 8-10.