Centerline, MI -- The PRI Trade Show is always a great place to see the latest 'go-fast' offerings from the racing industry. It's also a good place to bump into many of the people we've raced with over the years. Not to mention, there are always a lot of really cool racecars on display. If nothing else, it's just a good excuse to go to Florida in December.
As usual, the show was extremely cool and the layout of this year's show was fantastic. Every PRI exhibitor was in a single massive hall. No more meandering in & out of a rat maze of small rooms and back hallways where you wonder if you've missed anything and it's easy to forget where you left off or you just plain get lost.
When we arrived Thursday morning, one of our first stops was at the display of ET Performance. The folks at ET were showcasing their extensive line of LS1 performance cylinder heads. To assure that they wouldn't be confined to the limitations of existing castings, ET Performance went about designing and manufacturing their very own LS1 style casting. From mild, hi-performance street versions to the ultra-wild canted valve sure-to-be national record smasher, ET has a LS1 program for every occasion. With all the hype these heads are generating, it's not hard to figure out why the ET Performance display was packed all weekend.
As we wandered through the show, one the more interesting items we found at the PRO/NMCA booth was their Championship brass knuckles… er, I mean championship rings. These things have got to be one of the coolest awards I have ever seen in our type of racing. Pretty cool…
It was also interesting to see that Billet Aluminum Engine Blocks are now going to be offered from both Dart and LSM. Both were nice pieces but I have a question. Where were these guys four years ago when we were going through our unbelievable ordeal trying to get the block we ordered out of the 'other' billet aluminum block maker???
Dinner with our crew chief, chief tuner, and nitrous system supplier Jeff Prock of Applied Nitrous Technology and CNC cylinder head authority Mike Polaseck of ET Performance was the order for Thursday evening. But this wasn't purely a social gathering; we met with a specific goal in mind and that was to establish the future direction of our induction system and nitrous-oxide delivery package. The knowledge and information that these guys shared was amazing. They are clearly operating on a level above and beyond anything I've ever seen. From the hood scoop to the header pipes & collectors, we covered it all. Our new engine package will be even stronger than anticipated. Now I'm feeling a little better about racing our car above the minimum weight.
On Friday, I made a point of catching a seminar that Dart was offering on high-RPM valve train design. If you've followed along with our stories in the 'News Archive' section, I'm sure you're well aware of the valve train reliability problems that we've suffered over the years. Dart's seminar was a 'must' for my PRI itinerary. The lecture was pretty enlightening with Richard Maskin offering several non-mainstream solutions and little heard of suppliers as remedies based on his 30+ years of Pro Stock engine building experience.
Friday evening's festivities found myself and ET Performance's Cary Chouinard engaged in an illicit after hours back room card game with Mike & Big Rob from Diamond Racing Products where sets of pistons and CNC cylinder heads were the wager. About 2:30am our boys from Diamond had given up. When the final tally was given, Mike & Rob owed us a total of 8 sets of top shelf Diamond pistons. If I had known it was going to be that easy, I would've tried to score some wrist pins & locks, and high quality push rods from Trend Performance. I wonder how the Diamond boys explained that one to the boss?
The next day, when I showed up at the Diamond exhibit to make arrangements for picking up our winnings, Mike showed me some new stuff from Diamond and let me in on a few secrets that have me completely rethinking our engine's piston configuration. That was pretty sporting of him considering we beat him like a rental car at the card table the night before. No hard feelings, I guess… I'm glad Mike doesn't hold a grudge.
So while the 'bench racers' and 'pretenders' were sniffing each other's butts at award ceremonies where they weren't going to be receiving any awards; we were partaking in the seedier, more productive, side of the PRI underground. I wonder what next year's show will bring…
Now that PRI has passed, we're looking forward to getting back to the shop and back to work on our car. We'll catch you again in a few weeks with a more in depth look at the reconstruction of our racecar in an essay & photomontage I've affectionately entitled…
'Extreme Make Over – Race Car Edition'
Thank You! Good Night!
Ted & Tim Pelech
Pelech Bros. Racing