CONCORD, N.C. — The Performance Racing Industry Trade Show always provides a multitude of insight leading into a new season of racing.
From driver and sponsor announcements to unique opportunities to chat one-on-one with people you might not otherwise see for another year or more, PRI is a great opportunity to put your finger on the pulse of the sport.
With that said, here are some items we learned at the three-day show in Indianapolis during early December.
– Bob Sargent’s agreement to sanction events at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville couldn’t have come at a better time. Sargent confirmed during PRI he’d be organizing 10 events at the historic Tennessee venue, including next November’s All-American 400.
Sargent didn’t indicate if this is a single-year or multiyear deal to run the Fairgrounds. The future of the facility has been in question for some time with a soccer stadium scheduled to be built on the property, but officials from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. have also expressed interest in returning NASCAR racing to the facility.
With the growing interest in returning professional stock car racing to the region, Sargent could play a key role in making sure NASCAR has a future in Nashville.
“We would like to continue going at the facility in our role and a lot of that will depend on how the NASCAR (deal) and/or soccer develops,” Sargent said.
– ARCA President Ron Drager visited the SPEED SPORT booth at PRI.
One thing he shared was that ARCA will continue to serve as the sanctioning body for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and ARCA Midwest Tour through the 2020 season. The contracts for both groups were set to expire at the end of 2019, but they’ve each agreed to new one-year deals.
Drager also told us that while he was hopeful NASCAR would see value in the ARCA brand after acquiring the sanctioning body in 2018, even he was surprised to see NASCAR rebrand the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West under the ARCA banner.
He said that proved to him just how much value NASCAR has in the ARCA name and Drager is excited to see what the future holds for the ARCA Menards Series, which will share a combined rulebook with the newly renamed ARCA Menards Series East and West divisions.
– Drydene has thrown some serious money around in the last few years and that trend continued when the lubricant company announced a sponsorship agreement with Scott Bloomquist Racing.
The deal, which will see Drydene sponsor Chris Madden for the full World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series schedule and Scott Bloomquist in select World of Outlaws events, is the latest in a string of sponsorship agreements for the company.
In addition to the Bloomquist deal, Drydene already sponsors Shark Racing drivers Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen, NASCAR Cup Series competitor Corey LaJoie and also recently announced a deal to support up-and-coming World of Outlaws LMS competitor Ricky Weiss.
Those deals are on top of a sponsorship agreement with the World of Outlaws and Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway.
Dave Klinger, president of Drydene Performance Products, told us his company is done expanding its budget. At least for the time being.
“I don’t see on the horizon having a surprise as big as this anytime soon,” Klinger said. “One thing that we want to make sure we’re doing is we’re doing everything well.”
– AR Bodies had one of the biggest crowds of the weekend on the opening day of PRI when the company revealed its new Revolution Camaro late model body. The body, which has already been approved by a number of asphalt sanctioning bodies, is a direct response to Five Star Race Cars’ late model body that was released in late 2018.
It was entertaining to watch as competitors looked over every inch of the new late model body after the cover was pulled off of it. We spied representatives of another chassis-building company quietly measuring the left-front fender on the body while AR Bodies representatives were busy.
It’ll be interesting to see how quickly this new body begins showing up on the race track. We’re told the body kits would be available by early this month.