Every year, the SEMA show gets most of the media hype. People come from all corners of the world to check out the new products and show vehicles-and let's not forget all the extra-curricular action Las Vegas has to offer. But for the hardcore performance nut, there is another trade show that holds far more allure: the Performance Racing Industry show, or PRI for short.
PRI doesn't have the glitter, the TV cameras, or the non-essential fluff of SEMA; it's designed for professional race teams, speed shop owners, track operators, racecar builders, and most importantly for us, hot rodders. What began as a small trade-only show for the racing industry 18 years ago has evolved into the premier gathering of hot rod parts. Each year, PRI happens the first week of December, and until it moved to Orlando, Florida, (this year) has traditionally been held in larger-and colder-mid-western states like Indiana and Ohio. We predict with PRI's move to Florida it will quickly rise on the "to-do" list of g-Machiners everywhere, and maybe even give SEMA a run for its money.
For Popular Hot Rodding, PRI also has additional significance: it is the place and time we reveal to the world our plans for the next Engine Masters Challenge. This happens on the Thursday of PRI week every year, and this year we revealed our 434-cubic-inch limit, the inclusion of both big- and small-blocks, and the all-new 10.5:1 compression ratio limit. (For more details, see the story elsewhere in this issue.)
As in years past, PRI offered a wealth of free technical seminars throughout the week, including one from famed engine builder Jon Kaase, and a valvetrain lecture by Crane Cams. For those wanting an extra high-octane dose of tech knowledge, the Advanced Engine Technology Conference (AETC) scheduled its annual conference in the days immediately leading up to PRI. The AETC does cost to enter, however, it is considered a "must see" for many professional and amateur engine builders.
As you might expect at a show like PRI, there is a lot more to it than just a trade show. During the evenings, the bars and restaurants are filled with manufacturer's reps, engine builders, magazine editors and racers from around the globe. It's a time for reconnecting with old acquaintances and meeting new industry contacts. You might even pick up a sponsor or get that elusive autograph if you work it right. This year was a banner year for new products of all price ranges. This story has a taste of some of them, but if you really want the lowdown, you'll have to make plans to see it all in person next year.